Sunday, November 11, 2012

Obrigada to our US Troops in Lisbon, Portugal!

Katrina King with service members who attended the AFE show
by Freedom Tour cast member Katrina King

After two successful shows, we were so excited to arrive and perform for our US troops in the  scenic city of Lisbon, Portugal. Although a little bit nervous in a new city, I knew that my fellow performers and I were safe and awaited making new military friends.

Upon arrival, Cashanda Barron graciously greeted the Capitol Movement performers and me with immediate kindness and welcomed us as a new family. We felt honored to board a chartered tour bus and be accommodated at Hotel Eden, which overlooked the breathtaking Mediterranean and downtown area of Estoril, Portugal.

That evening, Ms. Barron took us to a well-known authentic Portuguese restaurant called Fogo de Chao. The cuisine was amazing, and we were all very full and ready to rest up for our show immediately after a dinner of various Portuguese meats and side dishes. The following day we rehearsed and were amazed by the enormous stage and lighting that the local crew had built for the Capitol Movement show.

After a long day of rehearsing and another incredible lunch, Ms. Barron escorted the group on a mini sightseeing excursion. I couldn't believe how lucky we were to be able to see so many incredible sights while on a trip to perform for our service men and women. 

With all of the lights and the huge stage, our show was a hit, and several men and women from the base came up on stage afterwards to say hello and talk with us about home, where they were from, and where we were headed next, including one solider pictured above who was a former dancer! She joined us for dinner that evening, and we were so happy to spend time with her and a few other service members.

We are looking forward to our next stop!

Capitol Movement Freedom tour cast with Cashanda Barron

Saturday, November 10, 2012

First Stop: Souda Bay in Crete, Greece

Rachel Mlinarchik in Crete, Greece
by Rachel Mlinarchik

As we flew over the islands surrounding Crete, I couldn’t believe that we were finally going to perform the show we had been working so hard on over the last few months, and that we would be performing for our troops stationed in Souda Bay, Greece.

As soon as our plane touched down, we were greeted immediately by Eva Koumandraki and two soldiers who had volunteered their time to help us get our bags together and get settled.

The air in Souda Bay is balmy, and everything on base is within easy walking distance. After arriving and unpacking, we were taken to a beautiful waterfront dinner downtown, then back to rest up for our rehearsal. We also had some time to see a beautiful 17th century monastery nearby!

We were so honored to see that our show had been promoted in the dining area on base where they were playing our demo reel, and that there were fliers everywhere! Another company member (Ashley Clausnitzer) and I even got to do a short interview with the on-base radio station about half an hour before the show, and we were excited to see so many families filling the gym when we returned to wait backstage.

Eva’s incredible kindness, promotion, and support must have worked, because we had a great turn-out for the show, and were astonished to see the entire audience rise to their feet for our first performance!

The best part by far, though, was meeting the soldiers after the show. We were lucky to be there during Halloween, so we were able to spend time getting to know several service men and women during dinner and then again during their Halloween party and Haunted House.

Freedom Tour cast with
CO James Gibson and
XO Demetries Grimes
We were relieved to hear from our hosts and from the soldiers that they enjoyed the show, and we are so incredibly grateful to have this opportunity to perform for them.

During the show, Crishon Landers and I thank our hosts and talk a little bit about Capitol Movement, but the most important thing we try to convey is that our performance is just one small way we are able to thank the men and women at each base for the many sacrifices they make to keep us safe at home. It means so much to have the opportunity to show our gratitude by entertaining them for a few hours, and we all left Greece wishing we could do more.