By Leader staffJuly 25, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- A 75-minute musical production created by active duty, Army Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers is coming to Fort Jackson this weekend.
The 2013 U.S. Army Soldier Show is a high-energy live musical production that showcases the talents of 22 active-duty Soldiers selected by audition from throughout the Army. This year marks the modern Army Soldier Show's 30th season, but the production's roots extend to Broadway theater as far back as 1917.
The theme for this year's event is "Ready and Resilient," with this year's performances designed to highlight the vigilance required of Soldiers and their families.
"We had to take a good look at what the Army says makes troops and their families ready and resilient and what mechanisms the country and the world in general are offering to help with resilience," said Soldier Show Artistic Director Victor Hurtado. "And helping with readiness because you know there's a good chance that you're going back out again, so you better be ready."
The performers are Soldiers who have passions for music, dance and performing, with specialties ranging from information technology to combat medicine. The show is assembled and rehearsed five weeks for a four-month tour of military installations across the nation.
The tour began in April, and will come to Fort Jackson Sunday with a 7 p.m. performance at the Solomon Center. Doors open an hour before the show and seating is on a first-come basis. The show is free and open to DoD cardholders and their guests. A separate performance is also scheduled this weekend for Soldiers in training.
"The show is very much about illustrating not only ways to get away and be resilient, but also illustrating overarching solutions to certain issues that are facing the military today, like (the Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program), Gold Star, Blue Star and Survivor Outreach Services," Hurtado said.
The show's troops are focused on accomplishing the mission and providing quality entertainment at the same time.
"The material makes sense with the messaging, and it also makes sense to them," Hurtado said of the 15 Soldier-performers and seven Soldier-technicians who comprise the cast and crew. "We're also going to be entertaining. We're going to be singing songs just because they are on the radio."
Hurtado believes this cast has the ability to outperform many of its predecessors.
"There is no comparison, but what I will say is that there is a huge amount of promise in this cast," Hurtado said. "And I never use the word 'promise' lightly. Promise and potential are two very different things.
"Potential is what allows you to prepare," he explained. "Promise is what opens up the doors."
Hurtado promises there is something for everyone who watches the show. Tributes are paid to the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 75th anniversary of "God Bless America," the 60th anniversary of the Armistice of the Korean War, and the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.
"Every American, military-affiliated or not, will be able to see themselves in the show," Hurtado said. "The fact that the show is entertaining someone is already taking them away (from their mindset), but the messaging is going to inspire. We know they are coming to be entertained, but further, the content in the show is designed to hopefully be a time-released pool of inspiration."
He is convinced this cast is perfectly suited for that role.
"This is not a cast of characters," Hurtado said. "This is a cast with character. I tell them that everything that makes them a pain in the neck is everything that makes them amazing performers. They are very giving and generous. Unless I'm off on my observations, which I don't think I am, they are a generous performing cast. They are not so introspective or doing it for themselves."