05/13/2015 02:55 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Kim Sutton's 'Anchors Away!' Takes A Musical Look Back At Life In The U.S. Military During The HIV/AIDS Crisis

U.S. Navy veteran and vocalist Kim Sutton will mark New York's Fleet Week by bringing her military experiences to the Manhattan stage.

Sutton's new musical cabaret, "Anchors Away!" takes a heartfelt but comedic look at Navy life in the 1980s. With an eclectic musical set that includes tunes by Irving Berlin and Sara Bareilles, Sutton recounts her years as a sailor and her "inevitable transformation into a woman of substance."

The star also relates what it was like to be a hospital corpsman at a critical stage of the HIV/AIDS crisis, when gay and lesbian service members were still prohibited from the military. (The since-repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which allowed gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to serve as long as they did not reveal their sexual orientation, did not take effect until after this period, in 1993.)

"Part of me was always kind of ashamed that I had to go into the Navy to escape my small town. All of my other friends went away to college, and that wasn't an option for me," Sutton, who enlisted at age 17 and served for six years, told The Huffington Post in an email. "I now understand that the experience was absolutely priceless. I want to let the audience know how much fun I had, what I gained, and what service, duty and bravery mean to me, long-term."

Kim Sutton performs "Anchors Away!" at New York's Don't Tell Mama on Sunday, May 17 and Friday, May 22. Proceeds from the show go to the Navy SEAL Foundation. Head here for more details.



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