Army Soldier Show returns to APG
June 21, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The U.S. Army Soldier Show, produced by DFMWR's Army Entertainment, features entertainment for Soldiers, by Soldiers, performed for the APG community June 16-17 at the post theater.
This year's production, "Ready and Resilient: At Your Service" explores what it means to be Ready and Resilient in today's Army as Soldiers, Family members, retirees, DoD civilians with Family friendly, high-energy songs and dance numbers. The show will tour 27 installations across the nation during a four-month tour.
During opening remarks, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge Sgt. 1st Class Henry Slaughter said Soldiers have been entertaining other Soldiers since the beginning of the Army, where they would sit by the campfire telling stories and singing songs to relieve stress. This year marks the 30th year of the modern-day U.S. Army Soldier Show, which began in 1984.
"We are able to continue to tour and do our mission during these challenging budgetary times for one simple reason, to take advantage of this unique opportunity, to tell the Army's story in a way that has been proven to be effective, inspiring and entertaining," Slaughter said.
The show addressed 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."
Tributes during the show included 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 start of the Vietnam War.
The show also honored Gold and Blue Star Families with "Bring Him Home" and "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from Les Misérables and "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars. During "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," pictures of fallen Soldiers were shown in the background.
"That is my favorite part of the show," said cast member Sgt. Quentin Dorn. "It's surreal. I am honored and overwhelmed that I have the opportunity to pay tribute to these Soldiers and their Families. I think that during the show we addressed issues in a way that is entertaining and compassionate."
The beginning of the show also paid tribute to the former President of the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter Carol Roddy, who passed away June 9.
Sgt. Ena Torres said she decided to audition when she saw the show at Fort Hood, Texas, two years ago. She said the songs are chosen after the cast is selected.
"I sent in my audition tape while I was deployed last year," she said. "I couldn't believe that I got picked. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to perform on a tour when I joined the Army. I like the songs they picked this year; I think they work well with the "Ready and Resilient" theme. "
Army veteran Charlie Hopewood said he found the show is an uplifting way to share the Army's story with the public. "I appreciate and respect all the hard work that these Soldiers put into the show," he said.
Lt. Col. James Coffin, from ATEC, said that the show can be enjoyed by the whole Family.
"My daughter, Tara, was very impressed," he said. "She is taking ballet and wants to be a dancer."
Army Entertainment is seeking technicians and performers for the 2014 U.S. Army Soldier Show and Army Concert Tour. For more information visit http://www.armymwr.com/recleisure/entertainment/experience_army_entertainment.aspx. Auditions are open to all Soldiers - Active, Reserve and Guard - and all nominees must have a minimum of 90 days time in service remaining after completion of 2014 tour (on or about 30 November 2014). Nominees must be deployable worldwide as Army Entertainment will tour to overseas areas.