Dave Wedge, writer and co-author of Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph Over Tragedy, talks about the Boston Marathon bombing and the world-premiere play Finish Line
Dave Wedge is passionate about Boston, its people and its stories. Yet not every story is a happy one. As a reporter and City Hall bureau chief for the Boston Herald on April 15, 2013, Wedge was close to then-Mayor Thomas Menino when his beloved city met tragedy. Throughout the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing, Wedge attended every press briefing and conference, and was present in the normally quiet suburb of Watertown for the tense manhunt following the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier and a violent shootout.
“When I saw everything unfold, I knew someone was going to do a book involving what had happened,” Wedge remembers. “Given my contacts and my experience as a crime reporter in the city…I was in a unique position and had a passion to tell this story right, honoring those who were involved.” Wedge left the Herald to co-author the book Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph Over Tragedy with fellow newsman and award-winning writer Casey Sherman. “We were fortunate that many survivors and first responders who saved lives let us into their worlds.…It was an important moment in Boston’s history—a dark period, for sure, but…we tried to focus on the positives.”
Wedge was also approached by Boston Theater Company artistic director Joey Frangieh and Boston playwright Lisa Rafferty, who together developed a documentary play, Finish Line, in which actors present transcripts from survivors, first responders and other witnesses. “I thought it was an incredible example of community theater and how the arts can help the healing process,” says Wedge. Rafferty interviewed Wedge, who saw Finish Line when it was first performed last year. “We’ve grieved together,” says Wedge. “Now it is time to learn the lessons of what happened and heal from it. That’s what these artistic endeavors do.” Finish Line’s world premiere takes place at the Shubert Theatre March 15–26.
This resilience was encapsulated in the phrase “Boston Strong,” which has “become a point of civic pride” for Wedge. “Bostonians are a very tribal bunch.…Everyone who lives here feels like the city is their own, [so] when bad things happen, we pull together.…To endure tragedy and hardships and come out on the other side, that’s ‘Boston Strong.’”