Army Soldier Show launches 'Ready and Resilient' tour
April 24, 2013
- Army.mil: Human Interest News
- 2013 Soldier Show
- U.S. Army Installation Management Command
- Family and MWR Programs online
- Army Family and MWR Programs on Facebook
- 2013 U.S. Army Soldier Show Live Audition photos on Flickr
- 2013 U.S. Army Soldier Show Media Kit
- Soldier Show dress rehearsal inspires youth
- Soldier Show puts entertaining spin on readiness, resilience
SAN ANTONIO (Army News Service, April 24, 2013) -- The 30th edition of the modern-era U.S. Army Soldier Show launched with three performances before capacity crowds at Fort Sam Houston Theater, here, April 19, 20 and 21.
The 22-Soldier troupe also spent opening week inviting local youth to a special dress rehearsal, surprising U.S. Army Installation Management Command headquarters employees at two town halls, and singing for San Antonio Fiesta fans of all ages with a performance at the Fort Sam Houston Quadrangle.
Army Entertainment filmed the weekend shows and will provide a DVD to Army Child and Youth Services to play during the April 26-27 "Operation: Megaphone Worldwide Lock-in" for military youth.
The show, "Ready and Resilient," soon will embark on a four-month tour of 27 installations across the nation, delivering messages to fellow troops that Army senior leaders consider essential.
"We have the unique ability to tell the Army story in a way that no other Army program can," said Tim Higdon, Soldier Show executive producer. "You can stick the logo on a NASCAR. You can watch athletes perform. But there's something about Soldiers being on a stage and relating to an audience in a very personable and one-on-one way about what is important to the Army, and what makes the Army and Soldiers special. It's just different than anything else because it's a dialogue that really happens between a performer and an audience in a way more so than any other branding or marketing aspect that the Army has, at least in my opinion."
The effects of sequestration shortened the tour, but Army senior leaders decided the Soldier Show must go on.
"Some may ask, 'Why are we doing this?'" Higdon said. "The answer is quite simple: We have the unique ability to tell this Army message and this Army story in a way that nobody else can. And our communities, their Soldiers and families, they deserve to hear this message and they need to hear this message, quite frankly.
"We need to continue to drive home the importance of sponsorship and intramural sports and SHARP [the Army's Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention program]. Even the finale, 'Carry On,' touches on the realities of suicide prevention and post-traumatic stress disorder and how important it is that you reach out to the person on your left and your right, whether you're in combat or back at home. Everything in this show has something to give to everyone in the audience, and it's important that it's out there."
The Soldier Show features snippets of 30 to 40 songs packed into a production of rapidly changing song and dance that represents nearly every genre of music.
From the opening act of "Let's Go/Carry On," songs by Ne-Yo and Calvin Harris, the Soldier-performers exhibited the resilient spirit of continuing to strive regardless of obstacles, of always moving forward and never looking back, of camaraderie, courage, independence and sponsorship.
They displayed a mixture of Broadway and Disney with "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid, "Step in Time" from Mary Poppins, "The Bells of Notre Dame" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and "The Gospel Truth" from Hercules. They took us on a journey from Brad Paisley's "Southern Comfort Zone" to "Dream On" by Aerosmith.
The show dealt with loss and sacrifice, all the while stressing that life goes on, and that there would be a time for R&R, family and friends. It touched on Army intramurals and physical training -- having the heart of a champion and mastering one's own destiny. It covered the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program with Aretha Franklin's "Think" and "R.E.S.P.E.C.T" and The Temptations' "Treat her like a Lady." Women in combat roles were saluted in "Freedom" by Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton.
Tributes were paid to the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 75th anniversary of "God Bless America," the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice, and the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.
The goal was to deliver the messages loudly, clearly, proudly, and in entertaining fashion.
"Everybody has their own ideas of how to make it work," said Higdon. "It's very collaborative. It's very give-and-take. It's not just a one-person vision kind of thing. We throw all the crazy ideas out there and all the bad ideas out there and somehow sift through that and figure out the best way to present it."
Higdon has been around the Soldier Show for 25 years -- on the stage, behind the curtains, and in front of the house.
"This year, more so than ever, we were able to really take that guidance and put together something that the Army would be proud of," he said. "That's ultimately the task of this team. It's not our show. It's the Army's show. We may have titles and we may have roles that we play in putting this thing together, but in no way do we have ownership of it, whatsoever. It's the Army's show and the Army's message. The entire team just feels very privileged to have the honor to help put it together.
"We were given the guidance and we met the challenge, and we've got a product the Army can be proud of."
The three inaugural shows played to capacity crowds.
"We were able to get more of the civilians on Saturday, but we did turn away 75 Soldiers on Saturday," Higdon said. "On Friday, all of the Soldiers were able to get in, but we turned away probably 75 civilians. I think there's a need in the future, now that we have established this as home and people are expecting the opening and closing, we will have to look at how many shows we do on opening weekend."