• Staff Sgt. La'Brenza McDonald of Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Spc. Belita Ford of Washington, D.C., work on their dance steps while Pfc. Andrew Enriquez of Athol, Idaho, soars high above the stage to "I've Got a Feeling" during rehearsal for the 2010 U.S.

    Army Entertainment: The Soldier Show experience

    Staff Sgt. La'Brenza McDonald of Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and Spc. Belita Ford of Washington, D.C., work on their dance steps while Pfc. Andrew Enriquez of Athol, Idaho, soars high above the stage to "I've Got a Feeling" during rehearsal for the 2010...

  • Spc. Joeneyce Cunningham of Fort Riley, Kan., sings the Journey classic "Don't Stop Believing" during rehearsal for the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show at Wallace Theater on Fort Belvoir, Va.

    Army Entertainment: The Soldier Show experience

    Spc. Joeneyce Cunningham of Fort Riley, Kan., sings the Journey classic "Don't Stop Believing" during rehearsal for the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show at Wallace Theater on Fort Belvoir, Va.

  • Spc. David Plasterer of Camp Hovey, Korea, and Pfc. Andrew Clouse of Fort Gordon, Ga., play “Walking on Sunshine” during rehearsal for the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show at the Wallace Theater on Fort Belvoir, Va.

    Army Entertainment: The Soldier Show experience

    Spc. David Plasterer of Camp Hovey, Korea, and Pfc. Andrew Clouse of Fort Gordon, Ga., play “Walking on Sunshine” during rehearsal for the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show at the Wallace Theater on Fort Belvoir, Va.

  • Sgt. 1st Class Michael Carter of Fort Irwin, Calif., sings “Indestructible” alongside guitarist Spc. David Palmer of Fort Riley, Kan., during rehearsal for the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show at Wallace Theater on Fort Belvoir, Va.

    Army Entertainment: The Soldier Show experience

    Sgt. 1st Class Michael Carter of Fort Irwin, Calif., sings “Indestructible” alongside guitarist Spc. David Palmer of Fort Riley, Kan., during rehearsal for the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show at Wallace Theater on Fort Belvoir, Va.

  • Sgt. Kevin Cherry re-enacts the late Michael Jackson’s song,”Billie Jean,” June 10, 2010, at the Fort Rucker, Ala., Post Theater. Cherry and 21 other U.S. Army Soldier Show cast members paid tribute to the late musician.

    Army Entertainment: The Soldier Show experience

    Sgt. Kevin Cherry re-enacts the late Michael Jackson’s song,”Billie Jean,” June 10, 2010, at the Fort Rucker, Ala., Post Theater. Cherry and 21 other U.S. Army Soldier Show cast members paid tribute to the late musician.

  • Spc. Richard Sianoya of Fort Irwin, Calif., seen here dancing in the middle of a gospel section of the 2006 U.S. Army Soldier Show, is the winner of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command-sponsored 2007 Operation Rising Star singing contest

    Army Entertainment: The Soldier Show experience

    Spc. Richard Sianoya of Fort Irwin, Calif., seen here dancing in the middle of a gospel section of the 2006 U.S. Army Soldier Show, is the winner of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command-sponsored 2007 Operation Rising Star singing...

  • Sgt. Ericka Escalante is front and center as the U.S. Army Soldier Show performs Prince’s “Seven” during rehearsal for the 2007 U.S. Army Soldier Show tour. Sgt. Anthony Gentilo stands in the middle, flanked by Staff Sgt. Patricia Isaac (left).

    Army Entertainment: The Soldier Show experience

    Sgt. Ericka Escalante is front and center as the U.S. Army Soldier Show performs Prince’s “Seven” during rehearsal for the 2007 U.S. Army Soldier Show tour. Sgt. Anthony Gentilo stands in the middle, flanked by Staff Sgt. Patricia Isaac (left).

EACH year, 14 to 18 active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers are selected to serve as cast members of the U.S. Army Soldier Show.

With more than 100 performances at 54 installations across the globe, the Soldier Show is an annual song-and-dance production presented by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command’s Army Entertainment Division.

“We travel with lighting, video, tractor trailers,” said John Stewart, the show’s director. “It is a full-scale production on the level of any professional travelling show. The only thing is, Soldiers are putting on the show.”

The ability to sing and dance is only part of the qualification criteria.
Cast members must represent the Army well in appearance, fitness and bearing, said Stewart, who has been with the Soldier Show since 2007, serving as the noncommissioned officer in charge from 2007 to 2008, and as the director since 2009.

“It is a reward and a privilege for a Soldier to participate in the Soldier Show,” said Stewart. “Units only allow their best Soldiers to come and represent them. I expect these Soldiers to give a 100-percent effort. We don’t expect them to know everything. All we need is a Soldier who has a desire and is willing to commit to putting in the required time. Our staff will get them to where they need to be.”

Soldier Show cast members can expect to work seven days a week starting in late February until the first show in late April or early May, said Stewart. Actual performance time is about 190 hours, technical time about 600 hours and rehearsal time about 576 hours.

“You take all of these requirements, and our average work week is around 72 hours,” said Stewart. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s one of the most gratifying experiences in the Army because you are touching people’s lives.”

With so many shows and locations, life on the road with the Soldier Show is a fast-paced experience.

“The Soldiers all travel together on a bus, sometimes covering up to 500 miles a day,” said Stewart. “They room together throughout the tour, so camaraderie and teamwork is something we stress.”

While the 2011 season is currently underway, the next season is just around the corner, and it is never too early to apply. Application deadline for the Soldier Show is typically in January, but recruiting efforts are year-round.

“We are constantly recruiting for the next year,” said Stewart. “We are always looking for talented Soldiers. We have even auditioned people at shows (while on tour).”

Soldiers interested in auditioning should submit their application packet before the January deadline. Details can be found at www.armymwr.com under the “Entertainment” tab. Qualified Soldiers can also contact the Soldier Show director by email at johnny.e.stewart@us.army.mil.

Page last updated Tue May 31st, 2011 at 00:00