February 14, 2022



Douglas Day Stewart, the co-author and creator of the Hollywood hit film “An Officer and a Gentleman,” originally drafted the story about a young man who enlists in the Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School based on his own experiences. 

As a Naval Officer Candidate in Newport, Rhode Island in 1965, Stewart underwent rigorous training and a shrewd sergeant –similar to the story’s noted character, Sergeant Foley. 

“Aviation school was the most difficult, nightmarish 13 weeks of my life,” Stewart told magazine. “Nothing could possibly prepare you for what went on there. People talk about boot camp but this was worse than that. There was so much to learn, it was so intellectually demanding, and physically it was so exhausting. I had a drill instructor who seemed to know my psyche better than I knew it myself and it was like this trial by fire.” 

Unlike Zach Mayo, the lead character of Stewart’s famous tale, his dream of becoming a jet pilot would be cut short due to a medical problem. However, Stewart would still make history as he served as an Officer on a top-secret team of Naval and Marine officers responsible for sending the entire population of Marines at Camp Pendleton to Vietnam.

“I was on a seven-person team in the navy. We loaded up the 7th Marines at the helm of an 18,000-ton ship with 1700 souls aboard and hit the beachhead in Vietnam. That day it stopped being called a ‘police action’ and became the Vietnam War. Twenty years later I thought to myself, I have to write all this down, and it became the basis for a movie.”

While there was a young factory worker that Stewart fell for during his time at aviation school, he did not go on to marry her. Instead, he took his love for stories and spent his life writing them down. “An Officer and a Gentleman” would go on to receive many accolades and awards, and later become listed as one of the ten highest-grossing love stories in cinema history by the American Film Institute.

“Later in life, when I was looking for rich subject matter, I decided to revisit my time in the military. As I began writing this story a friend of mine told me “nobody’s ever really dealt with the fact that the military is this melting pot for people of all backgrounds and classes” so I decided to do something more on the edge. I took the character that was based on me and I began to rough him up. I put him on a motorcycle, I gave him tattoos and martial arts skills and that became Zack Mayo.”

After completing The Boy In The Plastic Bubble and The Blue Lagoon, Stewart worried that An Officer And A Gentleman wouldn’t capture the attention of producers and audiences due to its military focus.

“My instincts were correct in the beginning as no studio wanted to touch it. But, as luck would have it, a writers’ strike happened to come about so Paramount threw this script into the mix, and the rest is history.”

With the latest musical revamp of “An Officer And A Gentleman,” written and directed by Tony Award nominee Dick Scanlan, Stewart is delighted to welcome everyone to relieve the warmth and meticulousness that defied a navy-way of life. 

“This musical production is the movie but taken into a whole new dimension through music. I love the way the music takes a moment and makes it transcend anything written in prose. The emotions of the movie are really powerful but just you wait and see what happens when you add music!

I believe audiences are going to find that all those things they loved and dreamed about when they were young are still there, and they’re going to discover their hearts can be opened again – and opened just as wide as they could dream when watching this production.”



February 21st and 22nd at The Stanley Theatre | 7:30pm

To purchase tickets for An Officer and a Gentleman, contact Broadway Utica (315) 624-9444 or purchase your tickets online at

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