Off-Off-Off Broadway


“The GIs seemed to be transported to another plane of existence during the performances. The play lasted only about an hour and a half, but for that short period of time, we felt that we could put at least a temporary stop to the death and devastation, the boredom and total terror of war. The audiences would sometimes give us a standing ovation for five minutes. That is the magic of theater.”–Rick Holen

Four Vietnam veterans recount the harrowing, surreal, and ultimately rewarding experience of touring the front lines with a production of the musical The Fantasticks in 1969.

Upon his return from the Vietnam War, Rick Holen attended St. Cloud State University and received a Master’s degree in Opera Design from Indiana University. Holen and his wife, Anne, have worked as scenic and costume designers in film, television, opera, theater, and dance throughout the U.S. He is currently retired.

After the Vietnam War, John Nutt studied film at Stanford University. He has since worked as either a sound, dialogue, or picture editor on more than 60 films, including Love Is Strange (2014), Munich (2005), Rushmore (1998), Blue Velvet (1986), and Apocalypse Now (1979). Nutt won a BAFTA award for his sound editing on Amadeus (1984).

Joe Mauro returned from the Vietnam War and pursued careers in several fields (none of them, to his regret, entertainment). Now retired, he lives in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Kansas City native Bob Sevra attended Stanford University as an undergraduate and was pursuing a master’s degree in English at the University of Michigan when he was drafted for the Vietnam War. Upon his return, he began a career as an actor and writer. He is known for I, the Jury (1982), Search for Tomorrow (1951), and Law & Order (1990). He was married to actress Rita Gardner until her death in 2022.