“In Their Footsteps” is a documentary theater piece based on the oral histories of five American women who served in the Vietnam War. This 55 minute play uses the exact words from those oral histories as the text of the script. WLIW-FM is proud to work with Infinite Variety Productions to broadcast the unique and important play on March 28th at 2pm.
Interview with Ann Kelsey and Ashley Adelman on Heart of the East End:
Ann Kelsey – Ann holds a BA in Anthropology and English from the University of California, Riverside, and a Master’s Degree in Library Science from UCLA. She was a librarian with Army Libraries in Vietnam in 1969-1970. She retired from the County College of Morris (NJ) in 2009. She has served on the boards of the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation and the UCLA New York Alumni Network. She is currently the chair of the Scholarship Committee for the Women’s Overseas Service League.
Doris “Lucki” Allen – Lucki, a nickname given to her in her youth, served in the Korean War before going to Vietnam. Lucki was in the Women’s Army Corps, which was military. Her job was intelligence. Lucki served in Vietnam from 1969 – 1971. She predicted that the Tet Offensive was going to occur but unfortunately her superiors did not listen.
Lucki Allen earned three Bronze Stars during her Vietnam service. When she returned to the United States, she became the first official full-time female instructor of the Army Intelligence School Interrogator Prisoner of War Course. Allen retired from the military as a chief warrant officer and later earned a doctorate in psychology.
On June 26, 2009, Dr. Doris “Lucki” Allen, Ph.D. became a member of one of the most exclusive organizations in the world: The Military Intelligence Corp Hall of Fame.
Jeanne “Sam” Christie – Jeanne, who went by Sam in Vietnam due to a name tag mishap, was in the Red Cross as a Donut Dollie. Donut Dollies were young women who were civilian employees, hired by the military to go into the field and get the men to laugh or talk – to keep the men sane during war time. Jeanne served from 1967 – 1968, but as a civilian employee gets no military benefits.
Lily Adams – Lily was an army nurse in Vietnam, which like Lucki was military. She served 1969-1970. Being anti-war, Lily continued to feel conflicted between desire to help the men and her distaste for war. When she came home, she was able to get a bill passed in her home state for testing for Agent Orange Disease. Lily has been a nurse her entire life.
Judy Jenkins Gaudino – Judy like Ann and Jeanne was a civilian employee. Being a part of Army Special Services, Judy was in charge of recreation in Vietnam. Signing up for Germany and having visions of skiing in Switzerland on the weekends, Judy was told Europe was filled and she found herself in Vietnam. Not knowing what she was getting herself into, Judy was stuck for a week in a bunker during the Tet offensive. Signing up for one year, Judy stayed from 1967-1970 because the men needed her.
The play’s writer and co-director Ashley Adelman received her BFA from NYU TISCH, her MFA from The Actor’s Studio Drama School at Pace University Her play, “In Their Footsteps,” is based on the oral histories Ms. Adelman conducted of five American women who served in the Vietnam War. The play is published by Smith Scripts and has had productions at various off Broadway houses, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has been hired by numerous organizations and schools and in 2021 will be performed in Australia this March and Italy mid November.
Most of Ms. Adelman’s work is documentary theatre based. She recently closed a show which was an immersive documentary theatre piece based on Nellie Bly’s expose about Blackwell’s Insane Asylum, where the audience went into this moment of history with the famed undercover journalist. Her upcoming play “Can We Talk” is an immersive filmed theatre piece that ties together present day moments during Covid and the story of a women air force service pilot from WWII. Ashley is the artistic director of the not for profit theatre company, Infinite Variety Productions, which is dedicated to shedding a light on the unknown stories from women’s history. She is also a resident artist at FrigidNYC. To learn more about her company and her own work visit www.infinitevarietynyc.org
In Their Footsteps written by: Ashley Adelman
Oral histories by: Ashley Adelman and Petol Weekes
Directed by: Ashley Adelman and Andrew Dunn
Sound Editor: Andrew Dunn
Judy Jenkins Gaudino voiced by: Caroline Peters
Doris “Lucki” Allen voiced by: Chrystal Bethell
Lily Adams voiced by: Criena House
Ann Kelsey voiced by: Kate Szekely
Jeanne “Sam” Christie voiced by: Niki Hatzidis
Vietnamese voices voiced by: Meggie Trang
Other voices by: Andrew Dunn, Jessica Schecter, Gerrard James, Joshua Michael Payne, Austin Gelfman, Chris Triebel, Danny Romeo, Erinn Nelson, Melinda Filonuk, Bronwyn Rose Hazard, Silvana Schutz.