FORT LEE, Va. (June 10, 2010) – At the end of this month, members of Team Lee will have the opportunity to see what is arguably the best variety showcase touring the country today.
Free performances of the U.S. Army Soldier Show are scheduled for 7 p.m., June 29 (Advanced Individual Training students only); 2 p.m., June 30 (open to public); and 7 p.m., June 30 (AIT only) at the Lee Theater on Mahone Avenue. Anyone who has seen past presentations can attest to the high quality of entertainment provided by a cast and crew comprised of U.S. Army personnel representing various reserve and active-duty organizations around the world.
“When I hear them sing together, it’s like the most glorious choir,” said Victor Hurtado, the show’s production director, describing this year’s performers. “People are going to be just shocked by how good they are.”
“Soldier Show 27.0” is the title of the 2010 song-and-dance production. It acknowledges the current social-media phenomena and the many advances in computer network technology that benefit our fighting forces and their Families as they stay connected.
“It’s the 27th year (for the current run of the Soldier Show), and it’s a new version – just like a new version of a computer program – but it’s built on the foundations of all the past versions,” Hurtado said while explaining the title concept. “Basically, (the stage) is like a computer screen. When the audience walks in, they’ll see the desktop, and the transitions throughout the show will relate to programs like Facebook, Flickr or Google.”
In true Soldier Show fashion, the list of featured songs for this year’s performance reflects each of the mainstream musical genres: rock, pop, rhythm and blues, country and rap. The show will open with the heavy metal anthem “Indestructible” by Disturbed. It’s appropriate given the intent of the song when it was written.
“It was meant to inspire Soldiers headed for battle … to make them feel invincible, take away their fear (and) make them strong,” said Disturbed lead vocalist David Draiman.
Other numbers include “Jump,” a 2009 release by Flo Rida; “Walking on Sunshine,” a 1983 song originally recorded by Katrina and the Waves; and “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the 1981 hit by Journey that has found new fame with the continued success of the Fox television series “Glee.”
Hurtado also touted this year’s tribute to the late Michael Jackson. The segment will include “ABC,” “I Want You Back,” “I’ll Be There” and “Jam.”
“I don’t want to give too much away, but the very last piece is something that you’ll definitely recognize,” Hurtado added while attempting the moon-walk as a visual clue.
Two other elements of the program worth highlighting are the instrumental and dance contributions by the Soldier-performers. Some of the cast members will be featured on guitar, bass, keyboard and drum. “We have a professionally trained male ballet dancer,” Hurtado said. “Pfc. Andrew Enriquez (representing the Idaho National Guard) brings an incredibly masculine (Mikhail) Baryshnikov style. He’s really good, and we’re using him throughout the show.”
Other noteworthy performers among this year’s cast includes three siblings of 2004 Soldier Show performers – Spc. Philip Plasterer, representing Camp Hovey, Korea; Spc. Brian McAleese-Jergins, representing Grafenwoehr, Germany; and 2nd Lt. Katherine Melcher, representing Schweinfurt, Germany. Another 2004 performer, Sgt. Kevin Cherry, representing Fort Stewart, Ga., is back for his second go-round with the show. Among the cast members with ties to Virginia are Spc. Julie Comtois of Fort Belvoir, Staff Sgt. Karnisha Edwards of Alexandria and Melcher of Oakton.
Seating for the June 30 public performance is first-come, first-served. Visitors to the installation are reminded that a valid state- or federal-issued picture identification is required for anyone 18 years of age or older to gain access.
For more information about the upcoming performance, call (804) 765-3176. To read more about the Soldier Show tour, visit www.armymwr.com.