Photo by Tina Collela Photography
When it comes to honoring the sacrifices and service of our veterans, few performers can match the powerful and poignant work of Douglas Taurel and his solo show, The American Soldier. Taurel has established himself as one of the theater’s most insightful and empathetic voices.
Over the last two decades, the United States has been engaged in a 20-year war in the Middle East, with troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The long and grueling wars have taken a significant toll on both military personnel and their families, with many sacrificing their physical and mental well-being, their time with loved ones, and even their lives. And with the recent withdrawal of troops from these wars, it can be easy to forget the immense sacrifices that our veterans and their families have made.
The play fills a crucial niche in the theatre world by giving veterans and military families a much-needed voice. So it’s no surprise, then, that Taurel’s work has been in high demand from theaters around the country. His performances have been invited back repeatedly as audiences continue to be moved by his artistry and dedication to this critical subject matter. Last year, he performed in seven cities, including a performance in Ohio where he was requested to step in for Stephen Lang’s one-man show, Beyond Glory. In March, he will return to Monmouth University to perform his play for the third time. Then he will be off to Cadillac, Michigan, the historic theatre in Fredericksburg, Texas, and with a few other cities soon to be announced.
In the play, he performs 14 characters, men, women, and children of many different races and ethnicities. The play is a compelling portrayal of the experiences of veterans and their families, and it offers an important perspective on the challenges they face as they try to adjust to life after the military. But what truly captivates audiences about the play is its poignant reminder of the profound honor and unwavering brotherhood that define military service, illuminating the unbreakable bond and love that soldiers share with each other.
Directed by Padraic Lillis, The American Soldier has performed in over 34 cities, including twice at the John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts, twice Off-Broadway, The Library of Congress, and even the National Headquarters of the American Legion in Indianapolis. The play was nominated for the Amnesty International Award when he performed in Scotland at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it sold out to audiences. It was an incredible achievement, considering close to 3500 shows performed at the festival.
Many who have served find it hard to believe he has never worn the uniform. It is a testament to his research, writing, and commitment to his performance on stage. Taurel said, “I simply hope the play raises awareness of the challenges they face and the incredible sacrifice they and their families make for our nation.” Taurel feels that, as Americans, we are all responsible for remembering and honoring our veterans. But, more importantly, we must show future generations that we will never forget their stories and the sacrifices they and their families have given for us and our way of life.
His unwavering passion for his craft and America’s veterans and military families drives him to keep performing across the country. Furthermore, the audience’s continuing interest in his shows is a testament to the play’s power and his storytelling. Through the work of artists like Taurel and The American Soldier, we are given a small window into the world of our nation’s heroes, illuminating their profound sacrifices and an unyielding dedication to our country. And through his work, we are reminded of the immeasurable debt we owe to those who served and the unbreakable bond that unites us as Americans.