By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Sep 15, 2006 at 5:56 AM
Next Act Theater presents "Last of the Boys," written by Steven Dietz partly in response to Robert S. McNamara’s 1995 book "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam," which is a look at mistakes made during the Vietnam War.

Dietz’s story focuses on two Vietnam veterans who get together every summer to drink beer and remember/forget their experiences. It explores the impact of war on friendship, family and identity.

"Last of the Boys" features Joshua Atkins as the Young Soldier, David Cecsarini as Ben, Deborah Clifton as Lorraine, John Kishline as Jeeter and Kelli Nonemacher as Salyer.

"In part, 'Last of the Boys,' is one playwright’s answer to McNamara," director Edward Morgan explains. "It’s also a story with striking resonance in the present. Because once again, we’re enmeshed in a dirty little war we can’t seem to win, lose, or quit. Once again we’re questioning how we got there and what it’s going to cost.  

"But at its core, 'Last of the Boys,' is not a backward glance at Vietnam, a definitive answer to McNamara, or even a commentary on Iraq. It’s a poignant, poetic fable about friendship, fathers, and a present still burdened by the past. It’s a tale imbued with lingering dreams and questions; like the pale memories of those bright, boyish faces that never came home."

The production/design team includes R.H. Graham (scenic design), Marsha Kuligowski (costume design), Jason Fassi (lighting design), David Cesarini (sound design), Laurie Birmingham (properties design) and Jessica Connelly (stage manager).

"Last of the Boys" runs from Sept. 14 to Oct. 15. Tickets range in price from $22 to $30 and may be purchased in person at the Off-Broadway Theatre Box Office, 342 N. Water St. (second floor), or by phone (414) 278-0765. The box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (and until showtime) and 1 to 5 p.m. weekends.

Seniors and students receive a $5 discount per ticket on advance sales.  Students may also purchase half-price rush tickets with a valid student I.D. one half-hour prior to curtain, based on availability.