Written By: Molly Blake
Molly Blake is the Managing Editor for Blue Star Families, responsible for online contest, newsletters, blog posts and other written work. Molly brings an extensive journalism background to BSF and has written for The New York Times AtWar Blog, The Huffington Post, Military Spouse Magazine and other publications. She and her husband, LtCol Peter Blake, are stationed in Yuma, Ariz. with their two children.
I’m a theater geek. I admit it. I love musicals. I love plays. I find joy in caked on theater makeup, those little microphones that actresses wear taped to their heads, and thunderous applause after a powerful scene. I watch Glee and celebrate when the high school crooners nail the high notes from a Cats tune or belt out a ballad from Sunset Boulevard. My husband lovingly chooses some theater-related gift for my birthday each year – nary a complaint from him even during the dramatic love scenes.
Theatre geeks, like myself, remember our first musical. When Evita stood up in front of the faux wooden podium singing the infamous that all my fellow theater geeks surely know, I was hooked. And while Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ admittedly had little meaning for me back in the early 1980’s, it still affected me. I didn’t understand the politics behind a woman in power but I knew she was significant. And 30 years later, Eva Perons’ story is still being told – by Ricky Martin no less!
Blue Star Theatres kicked off the last week of September and of all the Blue Star Families initiatives, this is going to be my fave. A collaboration between Theatre Communications Group and Blue Star Families, with leadership support from the MetLife Foundation, Blue Star Theatres provides discounted tickets, theater experiences, and educational programing for service members and their families. There are nearly 60 theaters committed to this initiative and more are signing on every week.
“Thanks to the generous support of the MetLife Foundation, and the contributions of TCG and theatres across the county, military families will now have another way to enjoy time together through the arts in their communities,” said Blue Star Families executive director, Mark Smith. “TCG and participating theatres have gone above and beyond to offer interactive experiences for service members and their families, creating truly enriching opportunities.”
Care packages are over. Bases overseas are like small American cities. It’s the families – like mine – who also serve and who HAVE been serving for eleven years of war. During WWII, 42 percent of the nation served in the military. Today, it’s ONE percent. That’s a heavy burden for a small number of people. And we don’t need handouts – really – we don’t. What we need is inspiration and a reminder, now and then that our nation, comprised mostly of men and women who do not volunteer to wear a uniform, is thankful and respectful to those of us who do.
When my mother and grandmother Helen took me to see Evita, I was awestruck by the music – the power of it. We’ve all been moved by a song, series of lyrics, or scene that sum up a breakup, tragedy or a marriage. And for military folks – a deployment, a homecoming or the first military birthday ball dance. Sometimes it’s almost like you can touch the song, it has that much meaning.
Theatre tells the stories that define history. Musicals and plays have given meaning to the Vietnam War, prejudice, AIDS, politics, the current conflict in the Middle East and above all else – love. I think we could all use a little more love.
Learn more about Blue Star Theatres here- http://www.bluestarfam.