Army Soldier Show returns to Camp Zama this weekend
The 2005 U.S. Army Soldier Show, a 90-minute live musical akin to the Air Force’s Tops in Blue production, is returning to Camp Zama, Japan.
The free performance is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday in the Yano Fitness Center.
“Everyone is excited,” said Staff Sgt. Neil C. Jones, a U.S. Army Japan spokesman. “There’s a buzz going around. People are talking about bringing their kids and families. The soldiers are excited about seeing it. It hasn’t been to Japan in awhile. To have it come to little Camp Zama, that’s a good feeling.”
The show, which opened May 6 at Fort Belvoir, Va., features a variety of new rock, country, gospel, rhythm and blues, new age, patriotic and movie selections. The theme of this year’s version is “Operation America Cares,” a song-and-dance display about soldiers who long for familiarity and America’s affection as they carry out the global war on terrorism.
According to a U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center news release, the cast consists of 16 performers selected from more than 400 soldiers who survived a grueling audition process. Applicants had to submit packages that included videotapes, biographies, photographs and letters of recommendation from commanders.
Performers also must have outstanding military records and demonstrate a “passion for music, dance and performing,” the release stated. A new cast is chosen each year.
The show is assembled in six weeks, then tours for more than six months, conducting 102 performances in 50 locations across the continental United States, Alaska, South Korea and Japan.
“It’s a really entertaining show and it’s a lot of fun,” Jones said. “They’re top notch. They’re amateurs — they don’t record albums and they’re not on Broadway or anything — but their performances have a professional quality.
“These are high-quality troops representing the U.S. Army in a touring show. They’re the cream of the crop, best of the best. If you’re going to entertain the troops around the world, you’ve got to be a pretty good soldier yourself.”
This year’s troupe includes active-duty and Reserve soldiers from 14 states, according to the release. They come from 19 different units and installations across nine states and South Korea, and vary in rank from private first class to first lieutenant. A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot and counterintelligence agent are among them, as are troops from infantry, transportation, military police, medical, intelligence, aviation, signal and other tactical backgrounds.
The U.S. Army Soldier Show tour, sponsored by the Army National Guard and AT&T, is slated to end Nov. 13 back at Fort Belvoir.