By Mr. Tim Hipps (FMWRC)April 11, 2011
FORT BELVOIR, Va. - The carnival concept of the 2011 U.S. Army Soldier Show will take audiences on a globe-spanning journey to more fun-filled venues in 90 minutes than some folks experience in a lifetime.
From a boardwalk to a fun house to a circus to a county fair to a time machine, Soldier-entertainers will take their guests on a song and dance tour of carnivals across America and beyond.
"It's an opportunity to actually take the audience on a journey with us," Soldier Show director Victor Hurtado said. "And not just to the continental United States - we have a great international scene."
Africa, Samoa, Latin America, Nepal, with influences from India, Thailand and China are represented in the song-and-dance extravaganza that plays to the strengths of cast members from several countries. Each international scene will feature authentic music from that locale.
This Soldier Show cast features strong instrumentalists on the violin, drums, guitar, keyboards and bass who will keep the performers on the move as they dance from scene to scene. One central character will help keep the show moving by introducing each scene.
"There are a lot of dancers, a lot of movement in the show," Hurtado said. "But there some great voices as well. And some great stage presence. We have some great rapper and spoken-word guys, so we have quite a bit of that driving the show."
Patriotism is woven throughout the show that does not so much resemble a military production.
"With MWR, we're in the business of taking Families and Soldiers away from the trials and tribulations of what they're going through, so I think this will definitely inspire the patriotism, but really help you escape and take you to places you wouldn't go all in one day," Hurtado said. "You wouldn't go to the circus, a boardwalk, a country fair, a fun house - in four different areas of the world - and a Fourth of July celebration, all in one day.
"You could never physically do that, but you're going to be able to do that at this show."
"Entertainment for the Soldier, by the Soldier" is the working motto of Army Entertainment Division, which will launch the 106-performance Soldier Show tour from Fort Belvoir, Va., to 61 installations, garrisons and other venues around the United States, Germany and Korea.
"As a group, they've really become very cohesive," Hurtado said. "We've really been able to get the show together quickly. They've been very engaged. It's pretty amazing where they are already, as far as rehearsals go."
The final dress rehearsal is scheduled for April 28 at 7 p.m. at Wallace Theater and is open to the public.
Wallace Theater will play host to opening weekend shows April 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. From there, the troops will perform May 7 at Fort Detrick, Md., and May 10 at Fort Dix, N.J., before departing to Germany for the remainder of the month.
The 2011 U.S. Army Soldier Show's eight-month tour will conclude Dec. 10 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, the Army Base Realignment and Closure law-mandated future home of Army Entertainment Division.
Admission to all shows is free on a first-come, first-seated basis.