Emmy-Award winning NCO produces documentary on Soldiers’ Theatre “Behind the Curtain”
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – VICENZA, Italy - Members of American Forces Network Vicenza pose with the printed timeline of the documentary “Behind the Curtain” in the lobby of the Soldiers’ Theatre on Caserma Ederle Aug. 27, 2022. The printed timeline shows the arrangement of all the pieces the AFN Vicenza team filmed and recorded as edited by Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Henninger over a two-month period.

Pictured (left to right) is Sgt. Sharifa Newton, DJ/Editor/Producer; Spc. Giuseppe Terrasi, DJ/Editor/Producer; Staff Sgt. Brandon Rickert, Operations NCO; Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Henninger, Station Manager and Pfc. Haron Palomo, Chief Engineer. (Photo Credit: Courtesy)
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Emmy-Award winning NCO produces documentary on Soldiers’ Theatre "Behind the Curtain"
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – VICENZA, Italy - Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Henninger (left), the incoming American Forces Network Vicenza Station Manager, pauses filming to take a selfie with the outgoing AFN Vicenza Station Manager Sgt. 1st Class Anthony King, while filming the first table read for the cast of “Clue” at Soldiers’ Theatre Jan. 18, 2022. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Emmy-Award winning NCO produces documentary on Soldiers’ Theatre "Behind the Curtain"
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – VICENZA, Italy - Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Henninger (right), American Forces Network Vicenza Station Manager, and Barry Robinson, Soldiers’ Theatre Music and Audio specialist, do a check on the sound board Aug. 26, 2022, the day before the premiere held at Soldiers’ Theatre. (Photo Credit: Laura Kreider) VIEW ORIGINAL
Emmy-Award winning NCO produces documentary on Soldiers’ Theatre “Behind the Curtain”
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – VICENZA, Italy - VICENZA, Italy - Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Henninger, American Forces Network Vicenza Station Manager does a check on the sound board Aug. 26, 2022, the day before the premiere held at Soldiers’ Theatre. (Photo Credit: Laura Kreider) VIEW ORIGINAL

VICENZA, Italy – Months of filming and editing paid off for Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Henninger, American Forces Network Vicenza’s station manager, as he tirelessly worked to share stories behind the Soldiers’ Theatre production of “Clue.”

The documentary “Behind the Curtain,” is a 41-minute look into the lives of Soldiers, civilians and family members who made up the cast of the 2022 production. Dozens of community members at U.S. Army Garrison Italy attended the Aug. 27 premiere. The film features the hard work, time and effort required to put a show together. The audience gets to see auditions, pre-production, behind the scenes and performance clips. They follow the team of performers from rehearsals to Installation Management Command Europe TOPPER Award ceremony.

Emmy-Award winning NCO produces documentary on Soldiers’ Theatre "Behind the Curtain"
VICENZA, Italy - Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Henninger (bottom right), American Forces Network Vicenza Station Manager, films during one of the first rehearsals of “Clue” at Soldiers’ Theatre in January 2022. (Photo Credit: Laura Kreider) VIEW ORIGINAL

“I found the documentary to be incredibly impressive,” said Chandler Rand, who was in the premiere audience. “It is apparent the amount of care that was taken into creating a high-quality piece that seamlessly threads together diverse yet relatable stories from members of our community.”

Shortly after Henninger arrived in October 2021, the three-time Emmy-Award winner – who also has Telly Awards – performed with his wife on stage as part of the holiday show.

“What a phenomenal experience that was after coming to a new community,” Henninger said.

One evening after rehearsal, Henninger mentioned to Soldiers’ Theatre Director Jerry Brees that he was interested in putting together a documentary film highlighting the entire production process of a play.

Brees loved the idea and immediately agreed.

“The backstage story is so fascinating,” said Brees, who was intrigued at the idea. Brees thought it would be an interesting way for audiences that normally only see a finished production, to have the opportunity to see the other side of the stage and the hundreds of hours and countless volunteers it takes to bring the show to the stage.

“Seeing what is necessary to produce a play on-stage is eye-opening for anyone who isn’t involved with the process. Alex’s [Henninger] work is incredible, and honestly, there are not enough superlatives available to describe what he accomplished,” Brees said.

Since the next show was “Clue”, Henninger started filming just after the holidays.

“My professional career is storytelling, video storytelling,” explained Henninger.

Emmy-Award winning NCO produces documentary on Soldiers’ Theatre "Behind the Curtain"
VICENZA, Italy - Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Henninger American Forces Network Vicenza Station Manager, films during one of the first rehearsals of “Clue” at Soldiers’ Theatre Jan. 25, 2022. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

In making this film he thought other people could not only find ways to relate, but even inspire them and encourage them to come out and join the Soldiers' Theatre Entertainment Program.

He also knew that the project would be a huge undertaking. He shared with his wife how it would be months of filming, long hours - because rehearsals are at night - and editing every evening after work and weekends.

“My wife said ‘Go for it’ and I made the decision to see if my crew at AFN Vicenza was interested in the project,” he said.

The AFN Vicenza team was enthusiastic of this first of its kind production in the Vicenza military community. They contributed to the project, which included almost 2 terabytes of footage and 50 separate interviews with an average of 30 minutes.

“Film making is a team effort,” explained Henninger who thanked his crew at the premiere introduction.

Emmy-Award winning NCO produces documentary on Soldiers’ Theatre "Behind the Curtain"
VICENZA, Italy - Pfc. Haron Palomo, AFN Vicenza Chief Engineer, records audio during an automated dialogue replacement session with “Clue” cast member Will Briggs (not pictured) at the home studio of Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Henninger Aug. 14, 2022. (Courtesy photo of Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Henninger) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

“The only reason it turned out at all is because of tireless volunteer effort. I also have to absolutely thank my wife, not only for encouraging me in the first place, but for basically becoming the single mom for our children for the time it took to edit until last week,” he said.

The future of the 41-minute documentary may include participation in some film festivals.

“The documentary has the potential to reach such a global audience and give them a unique insight into an aspect of military culture and lifestyle overseas that they probably didn’t even realize, such as having a playhouse on your base overseas, and what it actually does for the people of the community,” added Henninger.

Soldiers’ Theatre always offers volunteer opportunities to everybody in the community. The next production is “Compulsive Laughter,” a collection of short adult comedies that will be performed between the end of September and mid-October.

“We are excited that Alex will be switching roles for this particular production and will be appearing as a member of the cast,” said Brees.