The Tops in Blue variety shows 2014 World Tour continues the Air Force Entertainments tradition of the best singers, dancers and performers in the U.S. Air Force. The tour began May 26 and makes a stop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord June 18, 6 p.m., at McChord Fields Hangar 9.
The concept is similar to the Armys annual Soldier Show; more than 35 Airmen of all ranks and installations perform a variety of musical styles ranging from Pharrell Williams Happy to songs from Disney films like Beauty and the Beast.
"What we try to do is focus on family entertainment, but youre going to see a wide variety of popular music of today, said Robert Stork, operations manager for Tops in Blue. And we end every show with a patriotic finish.
This years touring cast came from a pool of more than 200 applications for the Air Forces Worldwide Talent Search done each January at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
We do get repeat performers and we have people who will come and they wont make it the first year they audition, Stork said. Theyll take what they learned from the talent search and come back next year to be selected.
More than 80 singers, dancers, musicians and comedians underwent a series of auditions, interviews and live performances during a 10-day period. In the end, the first and second-place finalists in multiple categories join a pool, from which cast members are selected by an AF Entertainment committee.
Winners usually get into Tops in Blue, Stork said. Were selecting from this group, whether theyre finishers or not.
The touring performers are scheduled for 85 shows that run through mid-December. Stork said this years cast is just as talented and hard working as those in the past, on and off stage.
Along with performing on stage, the Airmen also do everything behind the scenes to put the show on.
While the talent search also accepts applications for technicians, vehicle operators and stagehands to help with sound, lighting and stage construction, the musicians pitch in as the roadies for the show.
Theyre tearing down the equipment and maintaining the equipment, Stork said. We dont have a road crew or anything like that. They are the road crew.