To honor the sacrifices of our Veterans and their families, Douglas Taurel is due to perform his award-winning solo show, The American Soldier, in three cities this coming November. All three shows will be in honor of Veterans Day.
The play pays tribute to our soldiers serving in America’s armed forces, recognizing their sacrifices by them and their families. It gives audiences a better understanding of the difficult challenges taken by those who fight and go to war and the families they leave behind. The play also demonstrates the incredible bond soldiers share in combat and the bond that so many veterans yearn for after service. “The goal of the play is to give a voice to our veterans and say thank you to them,” Taurel said.
The play spans the wars from the Revolution through the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Created through extensive research, letters soldiers had written to their loved ones, and countless interviews Douglas conducted with veterans and their family members. It’s not surprising that the media have called his work in the play ‘flawless,’ ‘powerful,’ and ‘compelling.’
He often shocks audiences and military families with the ability to commit to his characters fully. The majority of audience members have a hard time believing that Douglas Taurel has never served in the military. He has received countless letters from veterans and military families thanking him for portraying their experiences. Some had given him personal items, handwritten poems, books, and even photos of when they served. Douglas once received a painting from a veteran in Kansas who took up oil painting to help with his post-traumatic stress disorder issues.
Veterans tell him after each performance that sharing their stories helps them shoulder a tiny bit of their burden so they don’t feel so isolated. He was inspired to write in the early 2000s when the United States became incredibly involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. “It bothered me to hear the immense sacrifices our soldiers and families were making for us, and no one knowing what that sacrifice was,” Taurel said.
So in 2015, on a rainy Memorial Day evening in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Douglas gave the play’s debut premiere performance to eight spectators. Since then, he has played his one-man show in over 37 cities. He has performed in VFW and American Legion halls, hotel conference rooms, and even old chocolate factories, as well as some of the nation’s most notable venues like The Library of Congress, Off-Broadway, and twice at the Kennedy Center in 2016 and 2019. He once jumped in a small boat with his old WWII army trunk to a tiny island called Bannerman Island in the middle of the Hudson River to perform for audiences and officers from West Point Military Academy. “I thought, boy, I hope this boat does not flip, or else there goes the show,” Taurel said.
Although Douglas initially performed the play eight years ago, the play continues to be in demand. The play seems to help veterans heal by giving them and their families a voice. More importantly, it provides those who have no connection to the military a better appreciation of the price so many make to defend and protect the country. “Having a spotlight on the veterans’ experience is necessary. We must listen to their emotional stories of life after combat,” Taurel said.
Over the years, Taurel has found that the play’s success is because it not only opens the door to the military experience and the effects of war but also reminds society of the American story. On November 3, Douglas will perform at the Doudna Fine Arts Center in Illinois, and on November 11, at Monmouth University in New Jersey. Finally, on November 17, at Kent State University at Tuscarawas in Ohio, The American Soldier was asked to step in for Stephen Lang’s one-man show Beyond Glory. Attending these shows is one way Americans can show support for the soldiers and their families who have sacrificed so much.
Douglas is currently working on several projects, one of which is the upcoming Lifetime movie The Gabby Petito Story. In the film, Douglas plays Joe Petito, the father of Gabby Petito. The film was directed by Thora Burch and will premiere on the Lifetime Movie Network. He has appeared in numerous television shows like The Affair and Mr. Robot and recently starred in and directed the TV series Landing Home. It earned Best Drama at the GI Film Festival, where Taurel was nominated for Best Actor and Best Director. The series is now streaming on many popular streaming channels.