Posts

Broadway Musical “Bandstand” About Real Struggles of War

bandstand

By Debbie Gregory.

For more than three months, Broadway’s  Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre has been home to Bandstand the story of what happened to some of the Greatest Generation after they came home from war.

In Cleveland, Ohio, Private First Class and singer/songwriter Donny Novitski tries to rebuild his life with only the shirt on his back and a dream in his heart.

When NBC announces a national competition to find the nation’s next great musical superstars, Donny enlists four fellow veterans, each an astonishing musician, to start a band and enter the competition. Together, they discover the power of music to face the impossible, find their voice and finally feel like they have a place to call home.

Donnie also meets Julia Trojan, the widow of his best friend who died in the war in a friendly-fire incident. The emotions of the show’s characters run from grief over the loss of fellow soldiers to survivor’s guilt for being able to come home while others didn’t; and nostalgia for their pre-war lives and dreams.

Showrunners Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor, along with choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, used song and dance to portray the real struggles that soldiers face when they leave the battlefield.

To make sure they were being authentic, Oberacker and Taylor reached out to Got Your 6, which unites nonprofit, Hollywood, and government partners to empower veterans and certifies that portrayals of veterans in pop culture are accurate.

Through their association with Got Your 6, Oberacker and Taylor were able to introduce the entire cast to veterans whose stories helped inform the actors on how best to portray a former service member or a Gold Star wife.

“At the end of the day, our show is about taking an adversity, whether it’s having been in a war, or getting cancer, or losing a loved one, or whatever it may be …. and turning it into the very thing that gives your life a purpose,” Oberacker said. “The way they learn how to take this adversity and give their life purpose is by telling the truth.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Connection: Report Shows Different Side of Veterans

Got Your 6 Study

By Debbie Gregory.

Each year, approximately 250,000 service members separate from the U.S. military, and are dispersed throughout communities across the country. The current generation of Veterans holds the distinction of having served during the longest period of constant warfare in our nation’s history. While, we, as a nation, have a tendency to support and acknowledge this generation of Veterans, at the same time, the American public also has many preconceived notions about Veterans that just aren’t true.

One of these notions is that Veterans are damaged in some way, and are in need of a handout. It’s true that there are issues of unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, PTSD and other service-connected mental and behavior health concerns that plague the Veteran community. But the simple truth is that many Veterans who transition into civilian life are not affected by these issues.

Veterans are the same people who, during a time of war, agreed to stand between their countrymen and the perils that threaten our way of life. Veterans are the same resilient men and women who overcame the challenges of basic training to be initiated into the most elite fighting force in the world. Veterans are the ones who sacrifice years of their lives, away from their families and hometowns. These Veterans are the ones who often deployed multiple times in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Got Your 6, a non-profit organization that unites other non-profits with assets in Hollywood and government agencies, published a report that offer the American public some different statistics about Veterans that could alter the way that Veterans are perceived.

The report is the 2015 Veterans Civic Health Index, titled, “America’s Greatest Assets: How Military Veterans are Strengthening our Communities.” All of the findings in the report are based on analysis of the Current Population Survey (CPS) data from 2012 and 2013, conducted by the Center for Information Research on Civic Leaning and Engagement (CIRCLE).

According to the report, Veterans are the most involved citizens in their communities. Veterans are more likely than non-veterans to vote, contact their elected leaders, attend community meetings, and take active roles in their neighborhoods. Veterans are more likely to join community organizations, social clubs, and similar groups. Veterans also tend to volunteer more, averaging 160 hours per year, compared to 120 by non-veterans.

The purpose of the report is to help remove some of the negative stereotypes about Veterans. But it is important to remember that while many of the concerns we have for our Veterans aren’t necessarily applicable to all Vets, the Veterans who do suffer from such issues as unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, PTSD and other service-connected mental & behavior health concerns need and deserve our support.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Report Shows Different Side of Veterans: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Portraying Realistic Military Characters On TV and Film

By Debbie Gregory.

When it comes to TV and film, most directors and writers aim to get every detail perfect. Most of the time it’s possible, but sometimes there are technical errors, when it appears on the screen.

Now, a group dedicated to the realistic representation of military service personnel and Veterans is announcing a new seal of approval for the onscreen portrayals of those who serve, past and present.

Christened “6 Certified,” after the military phrase that means “I’ve got your back,” the program is starting off with the backing of First Lady Michelle Obama. This campaign pursues a shift of perception of Veterans in today’s pop culture.

Studios, producers, and other content creators will be entitled to the certification badge if the work they are creating contains “a representative and balanced depiction of Veterans,” and satisfies at least one of the following six pledges: to research or consult with Veterans; to research or consult with family members or experts in the subject; cast a Veteran; hire a Veteran as a writer; portray a Veteran character; tell a Veteran story; or use Veterans as resources on set or in writer’s rooms.

Studies reveal that the public can have skewed views of Veterans based on what they see in films or in television. According to Chris Marvin, the executive director of Got Your 6, “They are heroes on one end of the spectrum or broken Veterans on the other end of the spectrum.”

Marvin, an Army Veteran, has cited Ed O’Neill’s role as Jay Pritchett on Modern Family, and Bradley Cooper’s Oscar nominated interpretation as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in American Sniper, as accurate portrayals.

Marvin says in Modern Family, Pritchett is first and foremost a small business owner, father and grandfather who happens to be a Navy Veteran. He also said that American Sniper tells a great story, one that American audiences were anxious to hear.  Other shows portraying accurate Veteran story lines and characters include Grey’s Anatomy, Parenthood and the Mindy Project.  And who could forget J.R. Martinez’s Brot Monroe on All My Children?

“I think the American public is thirsty to have a conversation about the war, about returning Veterans, about the issues and about opportunities that surround that group of people,” Marvin says.

Unrealistic portrayals of Veterans can hinder their progress when they attempt to transition back to civilian life. A Veteran needs to reconnect with family, secure employment, or pursue education options. The less resistance they have to deal with, the better. Additionally, Veterans often say they feel more pity than respect from the civilian population.

To pass the muster, creators must make sure that they have not exaggerated Veteran character traits or the effects of military service on the Veteran.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Portraying Realistic Military Characters On TV and Film: By Debbie Gregory