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U.S. Army "Blueprint Specials" and Other Soldier Shows

Musical revues created by the U.S. Army Special Services Division for soldiers to perform and published as a complete do-it-yourself kit containing script, orchestrations, set and costume designs, choreography, and program templates.

In addition to the published Soldier Shows, there were several musical revues that were similar in structure to the Blueprint Specials, but were created by individual units for a limited number of performances and were not published or distributed. Sometimes these productions toured the camps with a single cast, and sometimes they were performed at one location for a short time. 

Stars and Gripes

This all-soldier musical revue produced by the Special Service Theater Section of Fort Hamilton.opened on July 13, 1943 at the War Department Theater and also toured several other Army camps in the New York area. Words and music are by Pfc. Harold Rome, who had already composed Pins and Needles and Ring Out the News for Broadway. 

Five songs from the show were recorded on the Stars and Gripes cast album:

The following songs appeared in the show, but don't appear to have been recorded.

  • "The Army Service Forces"
  • "Blow It Out Your Barracks Bag"
  • "Clean the Latrine" (Also known as "Latrine Duty," this was a parody of Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine.")
  • "Everything Happens to Me"
  • "I Wanna Bivouac with a WAC"
  • "Mess Call" 
  • "Passing the Buck"
  • "Remington Rangers"

For more information, see "'Stars and Gripes' Has Songs by Rome." Brooklyn Eagle, July 11, 1943, p. 29.

Several songs and sketches from this show were reused in Skirts, a 1944 revue performed in London by members of the U.S. Air Force (see below). 

Skirts: An All American Musical in 15 Scenes

Music by Frank Loesser, Harold Rome, Leslie Stuart, Val Guest, and others.

Words by Arthur G. Brest, Frank Loesser, Leslie Weiner, Ben Bengal, Sam Locke, Harold Rome, Leslie Stuart, G. Gabrielson, Cliff Gordon, Lesan, Eric Spear, and others.

“Skirts” was premiered in London on January 25, 1944 by members of the U.S. 8th Air Force, Special Service Section. After its premiere it doesn't appear to have had any repeat performances, nor was it ever published.

Frank Loesser wrote the title song, and several songs and sketches were reused from Harold Rome's Army show Stars and Gripes (see above).

Cover of the souvenir program for "Skirts"
Cover of the souvenir program for "Skirts," with an illustration by Paul S. Clowes.



1. Overture

2. "Little Brown Suit my Uncle Bought Me," song by Harold Rome

3. "Sick Call," sketch by Gabrielson and Lesan

4. "Passing the Buck," song by Harold Rome

5. "Anglo-American Relations," (by kind permission of George Black)

6. Musical Medley: "Air Force March," "Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer," "There'll Always Be an England,"  "United Nations March"

7. "Magic and It's Hot," by Delbert E. Hill  

8. "Skirts," song by Frank Loesser


9. "Flying Yanks" Dance Orchestra

10. "Three Day Pass," sketch by Leslie E. Weiner

11. "Pin-Up Girl," song by Harold Rome

12. "Canteen Duty," sketch by Ben Bengal

13. "There Is No Death," 1919 song by Geoffrey O'Hara

14. "Women in Uniform," adapted from a sketch by Sam Locke that was previously used in the Broadway revue Let Freedom Sing

15. "Red Cross Club"

(a) "Bags of Boogie Woogie," by Spencer Smith

(b) "Floradora," by Leslie Stuart

(c) "The Bombshell," by Peter Conte

(d) "Jukebox"—Finale, by Harold Rome

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