By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderAugust 1, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Lt. Col. James Galluzzo has spent many of his evenings in recent weeks dressed as a gorilla.
The chief of Proponency and Leader Development for Fort Jackson's Adjutant General School has a taste for theater, and volunteered his time as an extra in a recent production of Disney's "Tarzan the Musical" at the Town Theatre. He was one of dozens of people to lend their talent to the event, which staged its final production last Sunday.
"I've been doing community theater for 25 years," Galluzzo said. "My first duty assignment was at Fort Sill, Okla. I saw one of my instructors there on stage. Afterwards, I asked him how he got involved. He said, 'Just show up.' So I started to do on-stage and backstage work for community theaters. They always need volunteers, they always need people to dedicate their time. None of the actors are paid, none of the crew are paid. It's a way to volunteer your time."
Galluzzo began acting in high school. His role was in "Peter Pan," a spot that lead to appearances in "The Sound of Music," "Grease," "Guys and "Dolls" and other plays. Because his Army career keeps him on the move, he's had the chance to participate in community theater projects all over the country.
"That's the nice thing about community theater," he said. "There's always a demand for some part. You can be anything and everything. I've never actually played a Soldier."
Galluzzo said community theater is a way for people to balance personal interests with professional lives, which is even more important for high-stress careers like the military.
"We have a critical, important job that's very demanding physically and mentally," he said. "You have to have an outlet that allows you some creative downtime, whether that's sports or a hobby. In my case, I enjoy the theater, because it's both physical and interesting. It's mentally challenging to play roles and learn lines and dance routines. It helps balance the demands of being a full-time Soldier."
During the last few weeks, Galluzzo found that balance by playing two roles in "Tarzan the Musical."
"For most of the first act, and part of the second act, I'm one of the gorillas in the tribe," Galluzzo said. "Then, for part of the second act, I'm one of the expedition crew that's trying to find the gorillas. This is a summer production and involves a lot of children from the Midlands area."
He landed his two roles in the play after taking part in open auditions at the theater.
"Fort Jackson is very fortunate to have a good quality arts community here, and there's great opportunity for military members and their families to go and enjoy live theater," Galluzzo said. "I'm working with a group of people who are phenomenally talented, from young to old. To be part of that is always a blast."