Men and Women in Uniform
‘A Few Good Men’ now playing at the Alley Theatre
by Donalevan Maines
Who doesn’t love a man (or woman, these days) in uniform?
A Few Good Men has both, including Lt. Cmdr. Joanne Galloway, a conscientious female Naval investigator who senses a high-ranking cover-up in the court-martial of two U.S. Marines who confessed to murdering a malingering colleague, private William Santiago.
She goads Lt. Daniel Kaffee, the JAG (Judge Advocate General) lawyer who is assigned to the case to arrange plea bargains, to vigorously defend the soldiers by revealing that Santiago died while being subjected to a “code red,” a peer-disciplining procedure that was standard in Guantanamo Bay, where the show takes place in 1986. The lawyer’s aggressive interrogation of the base’s commanding officer yields the play’s most famous line, “You can’t handle the truth.”
Ross Bautsch, who recently starred as Danny, the gay playwright in The Submission, plays Santiago, who is shown writing a letter to his senator that breaks the chain of command by informing him about a fellow Marine wrongfully firing across the border into Cuba.
“The play takes the measure of how good can these men be,” says Bautsch. Arguably, their loyalty to “Unit, Corps, God, Country” blinds them to what’s right and what’s wrong.
Aaron Sorkin’s play debuted on Broadway in 1989, with out actor Tom Hulce, as Kaffee, nominated for a Tony Award for best leading actor in a play. Tom Cruise played the part in the 1992 film, directed by Rob Reiner, which was nominated for four Academy Awards, including best picture and best supporting actor for Jack Nicholson. The film was voted the best movie at the MTV Awards and People’s Choice Awards.
Demi Moore portrayed Joanne Galloway in the film, which boasts a handsome cast featuring Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Pollack, Noah Wylie, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Michael DeLorenzo as Santiago.
“He is the centerpiece of the show, the cataylyst,” says Bautsch. “He doesn’t have more than a few minutes onstage, but he’s talked about the entire time.”
In contrast, Bautsch, who isn’t gay, hardly left the stage during The Submission or his other gay role, that of Gary in Take Me with You, which he played in the United Kingdom. The show is about a child preacher whose parents had him rail against homosexuality before he realizes that he’s gay.
Bautsch grew up in Conroe, but his parents moved a few miles toward Houston so that he and his brother, Cameron, could enjoy studying in the theater department at The Woodlands High School.
“He’s more into musical theater. He has a beautiful voice, so I leave the singing to him,” says Ross Bautsch, who returned to Houston after completing his degree at the University of Southern California. The Bautsch brothers currently share a home in the Montrose area.
Cameron Bautsch was last seen in Life Could Be a Dream at Stages Repertory Theatre, where he’ll appear May 22–June 30 in Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show.
Ross Bautsch’s role as Santiago in A Few Good Men is his first role at the Alley Theatre since he appeared in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in 1999 and 2000.
The captivating courtroom drama, directed by Gregory Boyd, runs March 1–24 at the Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Avenue. An ActOUT pre-show mixer will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 14, with guests enjoying complimentary appetizers, cocktails, door prizes, and music by DJ Mike Bell. The event is free with the purchase of a ticket to the March 14 performance of A Few Good Men. To purchase a $26 ticket to the March 14 performance, use the promo code ActOUT at alleytheare.org or 713/220-5700.
Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.