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Honoring our Military Veterans

According to dictionary.com, drama is “any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interests or results.”  Therefore it is no wonder that theater and movies return time and time again to document the trauma of war, because by the very definition, war is drama.  For those directly involved it will mostly likely be the most vivid and traumatic experience in their lives.  To those on the outside, it is an experience that they will never fully comprehend.  In honor of our veterans, the Hollywood Pantages, Rogue Machine and the United States Veterans’ Artist Alliance USVAA are going above and beyond for our veterans.

From October 8-13th, the Pantages Theater will play host to the sweeping epic “War Horse.”  “War Horse” is the heart-warming tale of a young man’s harrowing journey to find his beloved horse Joey, after the horse is enlisted to help the war effort.  In commemoration of the upcoming 100th anniversary of WWI, the national tour of “War Horse” in association with the Hollywood Pantages is hosting the Celebrating Our Heroes initiative.  As part of the initiative all of our past and present military heroes can receive deeply discounted tickets for the show when they present a valid military ID at the box office.

Andrew Veenstra (Albert) with Jon Riddleberger, Patrick Osteen, Jessica Krueger (Joey)

Andrew Veenstra (Albert) with Jon Riddleberger, Patrick Osteen, Jessica Krueger (Joey)

Other organizations involved in the initiative that are offering specials to military personnel include The Grammy Museum, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific and Exhale Spa.  For more information and a complete list of those organizations participating visit www.HollywoodPantages.com/Heroes.  “War Horse” features the phenomenal life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company that are crafted to such precision that they can not only accurately mimic the movements of a horse, but are strong enough for men to ride them.

Meanwhile, across town in Culver City, the USVAA in association with Rogue Machine is looking at war and serving veterans in a completely different fashion.  Running in rep through November 9th is the award winning drama “Tracers” and “The Long Way Home” which is a look back at the theatrical conception, creation and subsequent journey of “Tracers.”  Originally conceived by John DiFusco, “Tracers” was created through a series of workshops with Vietnam veterans in 1980.  DiFusco compiled these stories into a narrative that follows a group of American soldiers through bootcamp, war and then the challenges of coming home.  DiFusco directed the New York Premiere at the Public Theater where it was then published as one of “The Ten Best of 85/86.”  Since then, “Tracers” has been produced extensively both in the United States and internationally.

Tracers Photo

Returning to its roots, the USVAA and Rogue Machine presents “Tracers” with a cast of actors that are all military veterans.  Despite the fact that the play was originally written with the stories of Vietnam veterans, and the current cast is comprised primarily of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the truths to be found in the shared experiences still ring true and provide a harrowing glimpse into the reality of what our service men and women encounter in the line of duty.  For more information and to purchase tickets visit http://usvaa.org or www.RogueMachineTheatre.com.


*Coverage provided for  the Culver City News