by erin prater email@example.com -
hen the Army’s “Soldier Show” rolled into Fort Carson on May 30, crew member Sgt. Nadine Pope had a few extra butterflies in her stomach.
The 24-year-old intelligence analyst from Fort Carson’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team would spend most of the production behind stage, not on it.
But she wanted to do right by her duty station.
“I have high expectations of myself and am extremely nervous,” Pope said as she stood near the entrance of the post’s theater minutes before she’d sing the national anthem to open the show. “My battalion allowed me to come out and be a part of this bigger picture.”
Each spring and summer, the show’s cast and crew – active-duty, Guard and Reserve soldiers who regularly serve as infantrymen, cooks and medics – tour Army posts worldwide, performing an original musical meant to boost morale and entertain.
The show, in its 30th year, was inspired by “This is the Army,” a World War II-era movie and Broadway musical with a cast made up entirely of soldiers, said Sgt. Drake DeLucca, a spokesman for the “Soldier Show.”
Other branches of the armed forces have productions similar to the “Soldier Show.” But those productions have been put on tight travel restrictions due to sequestration, he said.
Not so for the Army show. While its 2013 itinerary shed stops outside the continental U.S., Army leaders have allowed it to continue because of the important messages woven throughout the show, he said.
This year’s show, themed “Ready and Resilient,” encourages soldiers and family members to persevere in their jobs, marriages and lives via a medley of lyrically modified pop songs such as “Let’s Go” by Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo and “Some Nights” and “Carry On” by Fun.
During a scene on the basketball court, a male soldier who inappropriately hits on a female soldier is confronted with a rousing version of Aretha Franklin’s “Think” and The Temptation’s “Treat Her Like a Lady.”
The topics can be “touchy, but we make them fun,” DeLucca said.
After the 75-minute show, the audience treated Pope and her fellow cast and crew members to a standing ovation.
Performing at home had turned out to be a “very comfortable” experience, Pope said as she shook hands with attendees outside the theater.
“It felt great to pay my dues back to Fort Carson.”
When the show’s tour is over this fall, Pope will return to Carson and resume her duties in intelligence.
But two years serving with the “Soldier Show” have her considering a career change. “I still love intelligence. I still love being a soldier,” she said. “But I want to try out for a job as an Army vocalist. I love being out there and part of the fight.”