By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Sherwood Middle School presented “On the Other Side of the Fence: The Musical” at Oak Middle School Dec. 6 and 7. The musical’s primary themes included understanding differences and tolerance.
The musical is set on two neighboring farms divided by a fence. Feuding farmers Franklin and Fred have prevented their animals on both sides from communicating with one another. Despite this obstacle, the animals express how they feel about the situation and look for peaceful solutions.
Through song and dance, the farm animals are personified and work together to remove the fence dividing them. In doing so, they discover their similarities are greater than their differences.
The production was directed by David Lien, drama and orchestra teacher, and involved more than 90 students in the cast and crew.
Lien said that he was looking for a musical that had a message of inclusivity and that the cast and crew included students of all abilities.
The musical was written and composed by well-known playwright and music therapist Andrea Green, who is based in Philadelphia.
When Green learned that the musical was going to be performed in Shrewsbury, she reached out to Lien and made a special trip to Shrewsbury to meet the students and to watch the performances.
“It’s a show that I wrote in 1982,” she said. “It’s the first musical that I wrote in a series to bring together children with disabilities with other children. It’s a story about getting along with others and about how sometimes we put up divisions that sometimes protects us but sometimes also alienates us and keeps us from getting to know somebody.”
Green shared that she hoped the students would receive the message of not being afraid of people with differences because they might just find a new friend on the other side of the fence.
For more information, visit http://andreagreenmusic.com.