Douglas Taurel Returns with One-Man Show, “The American Soldier,” to Touch Hearts Across America

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In the realm of the performing arts, the theatre has historically served as a sanctuary, a place where audiences can momentarily escape their troubles and reflect on the human condition. Douglas Taurel elevates this time-honored role by using his craft to not just entertain but to help heal—specifically, the hearts of veterans and their families. His one-man show, “The American Soldier,” goes beyond mere escapism, offering a transformative experience that is both necessary and timely for a nation grappling with how best to honor its heroes.

Douglas Taurel debuted “The American Soldier” in 2015 to an intimate audience of eight at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club. It was a rainy Sunday, Memorial weekend. “I didn’t think anyone would be there, if I can be honest,” said Mr. Taurel. Doubts swarmed him, but the standing ovation that followed from that small audience and a tearful embrace from a Gold Star sibling who lost her brother in Afghanistan served as a profound affirmation of his work’s value. “What you are doing is incredibly important,” she told him. From that moment, Taurel knew his art had a purpose greater than himself—it became his artistic mission. 

Since that pivotal night, the reach of “The American Soldier” has expanded exponentially, performing at notable venues like the Kennedy Center in 2016 and 2019, the Library of Congress, and Off-Broadway. The accolades have followed suit, including a nomination for the Amnesty International Award in Scotland. But accolades aside, Taurel remains steadfast in his mission to share the play and amplify the voices and sacrifices of veterans and their families.  

“As Americans, we are defined by how we remember and honor our veterans. We are responsible for showing future generations that if you raise that right hand and take that oath to defend us, we won’t forget your sacrifice,” said Mr. Taurel

In “The American Soldier,” Mr. Taurel takes audiences on an emotional journey through the annals of American military history, capturing the universality of the soldier’s experience. With a WWII army trunk, an American flag and a few basic props, he introduces the audience to 14 characters, painting a mosaic of wartime life that spans from a revolutionary soldier enduring the frigid expanse of Valley Forge to a Chicano amputee grappling with loss, from a grieving mother at the Vietnam Memorial Wall to a female combat veteran from Brooklyn baring her emotional and physical scars.

Taurel’s acting shines most vividly in his nuanced characterizations. Whether portraying a soldier starving at Valley Forge or braving heavy artillery at Iwo Jima, his commitment to each role is total. Even characters that seemingly defy his masculine physique—a young wife, an elementary school child, a bereaved mother—are executed with such emotional depth that they become utterly compelling. Taurel skillfully modulates his tone, imbuing female characters with a subtle softness that grants his portrayal credibility, if not an entirely convincing physical masquerade.

Taurel attributes his nuanced character work to years of rigorous study with his mentor and legendary acting teacher, Wynn Handman, who produced famous solo show artists like John Leguizamo and Eric Bogosian. “His work was always focused on character work, who is the character emotionally and physically,” said Taurel. And in “The American Soldier,” that focus is evident, making for an unforgettable theatrical experience.

Douglas Taurel’s successful scaling of this vital narrative project embodies the mindset of a strategic CEO. He has extensively researched letters and interviewed veterans and their families, making each performance a compelling tapestry of authentic experiences. The play has now been seen in over 40 states and 38 cities and will soon embark on another tour. Each performance reaffirms his commitment to ensuring that the stories of veterans’ courage, sacrifice, and heroism remain a part of our national conversation.

What sets Taurel apart isn’t just his capacity as an artist but his versatility. Aside from his work on “The American Soldier,” he has been involved in various projects across mediums—film, television, and even his self-written and directed series, “Landing Home,” which has garnered multiple awards, including Best Dramatic Feature at the GI Film Festival. He also recently performed Joe Petito in the Lifetime TV Movie “The Gabby Petito Story.”

This September, Mr. Taurel will retake the stage, going on a tour starting in Fall River, Massachusetts, on September 22nd, followed by performances in Blacksburg, VA, on September 26th and 27th; Cadillac, MI on October 20th and 21st, 2023; Fredericksburg, TX from November 10th to 12th; Woodstock, CT on November 16th; and concluding in Bloomsburg, PA on November 19th.

Providing audiences with an emotional and intellectual retreat and an opportunity to engage with a crucial issue in American life. The play continues to reflect Taurel’s capacity to merge art with advocacy, fulfilling an urgent need in our society to recognize and honor the complexities and sacrifices of military life. Through the theatre, Douglas Taurel delivers an age-old respite and a contemporary call to action—a remarkable feat for any artist.



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