SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Fort Sam Houston and area youth witnessed preparations at final dress rehearsal of the 2013 U.S. Army Soldier Show.
Girl Scouts, Brownies and members of local youth centers and their leaders were invited to come to historic Fort Sam Houston Theater to see the show and to meet the cast and crew in a first-ever back-stage VIP pass tour.
“I serve Fort Sam and Lackland and 21 surrounding counties in Southwest Texas region,” said Raitza Garcia, recruitment specialist for Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas. “It is important for some of the girls who are not military to experience and understand and share the culture captured in this show.”
“Ready and Resilient” is the name and spirit of the 2013 U.S. Army Soldier Show. The show opened April 19, 20 and 21 at the theater, the home of Army Entertainment.
“I’ve seen three Soldier Shows throughout the years,” said Garcia. “I can’t wait to see the new show with my girls.”
The 75-minute show by active duty, Army Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers features sophisticated dance and music designed as a Broadway-styled stage production. The performers and crew hope to demonstrate how Soldiers and their families maintain readiness and resiliency.
This was the first time leaders of area youth groups were invited to see the final dress rehearsal. “We only have one rule for you today, and that is to have fun,” said Soldier Show Artistic Director Victor Hurtado. “If you feel like clapping hands, singing along, standing up or dancing, go ahead.”
Hurtado promises there is something for everyone who watches the show. Every American, military-affiliated or not, will be able to see themselves in the show.
At the end of the dress rehearsal, the audience met each of the performers on stage and then went backstage to see the where costume changes were made and stage props were kept.
“The show was awesome. It made me smile, it made me laugh and it made me cry,” said Stephanie West, a member of the Fort Sam Houston Youth Center. “I felt so many emotions about the stories they told. It was breathtaking.”
Overall, the cast and crew appeared to be well prepared and there were no obvious stage calamities; however every dress rehearsal butterfly was quieted by the desire to perform.
“What you can’t express in words, music helps you to do that,” said SPC Millie Sneed, one of 15 Soldier-performers. “What I’m most looking forward to in this tour is to uplift and inspire people. I’m living my dream and I want to share my talent and gifts to inspire others to live their own dream.”
“I brought my youth group so they could see the Soldiers and get an idea of what they go through every day,” said Shona Smith, Child Youth programs assistant at Fort Sam Houston Middle School Teen Youth Center. “My daughter wants to join the military when she is older and that makes me afraid, but I want to support her in every way I can.”
“I came to the show because of my mom. She’s an inspiration to me in every way,” said Mala Bradford, member of the Fort Sam Houston Youth Center. “She is strong emotionally and physically and I’m proud of everything she does.”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the modern U.S. Army Soldier Show and includes tributes to the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 75th anniversary of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” the 60th anniversary of the Armistice of the Korean War, and the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War.
After the opening at Fort Sam Houston, the 2013 U.S. Army Soldier Show heads to Fort Sill, Fort Bliss, Fort Huachuca and White Sands Missile Range for tour dates in May.