703rd BSB Soldier's Stage Cues Key for Soldier Show
June 18, 2009
- Stewart, Hunter, Soldier Show, I AM Strong, Walton
When the curtain goes up June 23 on the 2009 U.S. Army Soldier Show at Hunter's Tominac Fitness Center, a Fort Stewart Soldier will be busy making sure all goes well and the "Lights! Camera! Action!" themed musical revue comes off without a hitch.
Specialist Michele Walton, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team at Fort Stewart, is stage manager for the high-energy, 90-minute show that features non-stop singing and dancing.
Specialist Walton, 29, won't be managing from a chair, and her duties will begin well before the 7 p.m. start of the show at Hunter.
"It's my responsibility to make sure the cast is ready to go, that they make their cues and that the set changes run smoothly," Spc. Walton said. "It's a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun."
Specialist Walton and another production crew member have major roles in setting up and tearing down the set. Set-up can take as long as seven hours and tear-down about two hours and 45 minutes, she said, depending on how much help they receive from posts hosting shows.
And one of the most important of her tasks is to see that the performers have lots of bottled water. But the water can't be cold - that would affect the singers' performances.
Specialist Walton, of Columbus, Ohio, spent about four years in Hollywood, where she did some acting in independent films, lots of "extra" work and some stunt work. Her stage name is Leigh Walton. She joined the Army in July of 2007 and has three years remaining on her contract.
She admits she'd love to be on stage, performing in the Soldier Show. But whatever she is asked to do, Spc. Walton gladly does it. Show business is one of the three great loves of her life. The others are her Family and her Christian faith.
"Even if I were an usher in a theater in a small town or in the box office, I would still be happy because I would be involved in some way in show business. I like to be around it. I like to be around all these creative people with creative minds and energies.
"It inspires me to do more with myself," Spc. Walton said.
Specialist Walton is considering entering seminary with a goal of becoming a chaplain but is not yet certain about what God would have her to do.
"I know that I am being called into the ministry. I just don't know yet what aspect of the ministry He wants me to be in," she said. "Ultimately, I want to open up a shelter for troubled teens and young adults and have it produce Christian themed plays, musicals and films."
There is a time with the 2009 U.S. Army Soldier Show that is special to Spc. Walton.
Twenty minutes before every show the cast, Spc. Walton and some technicians get together to pray.
"That is something that I find awesome, that all these people - from all these different locations and all these backgrounds and all these ages - are willing to get together and pray before the show," she said.
The day before Spc. Walton was to go on block leave last December after deployment in Iraq, she found "a little article in the Frontline about the Soldier Show and how to become a part of it." Wasting no time, she sent in a video and a resume.
Getting release information through the chain of command was tough, with everyone on block leave.
"It was like phone tag after phone tag, trying to get hold of people, but once we got hold of people everyone was enthusiastic and signed my release forms," she said.
Specialist Walton left Fort Stewart in February and will return in November.
The 2009 U.S. Army Soldier Show will be at the Tominac Fitness Center at 7 p.m., June 23. The performers, VIPs and audience will be invited to attend a cast party at the Hunter Club immediately following the performance.
It is sponsored by the Army's I AM STRONG campaign and AT&T.
I AM STRONG is the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program that also sponsors the BOSS Program and the 2009 Army Concert Tour.
There is no admission charge.
The show will be presented at Fort Stewart in October.