Rocky Bleier, Vets, Bring Military Salute to the Stage
Hear how the Super Bowl Champion and Vietnam Veteran got involved with theatre and why this role is so important to him
Rocky Bleier was drafted twice in 1968.
First by the Pittsburgh Steelers, then by the U.S. Army. Although he had just finished his rookie season with the Steelers, he decided to put his football career on hold and serve his country in Vietnam.
An Army hero (awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his service) and a football hero (awarded the slightly less impressive Lombardi trophy - 4 times), Rocky's led a pretty interesting life, no? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist/playwright Gene Collier certainly thought so. So much so that he penned a one-man play about Rocky's life, fittingly titled The Play , giving Rocky yet another feather in his cap: actor.
Watch here as I chat with Rocky about his current foray into the acting world, performing in the Broadway play-turned hit movie, A Few Good Men at Pittsburgh Public Theater and how he and other veterans are bringing their service experience to the stage:
In addition to Rocky, the cast includes 3 active duty service members, who make up part of the Marine Ensemble. Sergeant Major Billy Jenkins of the Marine Corps Reserve also serves as the military liaison for the show, ensuring that details like uniforms, marching, and saluting are all as authentic as possible. The theater is also hosting a brunch before their 9/29 performance for the Veterans Breakfast Club, a nonprofit whose mission is to create communities of listening around veterans and their stories to ensure that this living history will never be forgotten. They believe that through their work, people will be educated, healed, and inspired.
Each performance of A Few Good Men concludes with a curtain-call speech by Sergeant Major Jenkins which recognizes all current and former service members in the audience as well as their families, thanking them for their bravery and sacrifice. It is a powerful ending to a powerful play. From my perspective on stage, I have seen more than a few tears shed each night by members of the audience as we recognize these veterans as well as pay tribute to them with a sung military cadence, led by Sergeant J. McLain, USAR.
If you would like to purchase tickets, you can find them by clicking here. Since Rocky is splitting the role of the Judge with KDKA's Larry Richert and 2017 Post-Gazette Performer of the Year, Monteze Freeland, this link also shows who will be performing that role each night.