TRAVIS MICHAEL HOLDER is Opinionatedasswipe-in-Chief for the new handydandy arts-oriented website TicketHoldersLA.com. He has been a LA theatre critic since 1987 and has taught acting at the New York Film Academy’s west coast campus since 2010. He was Theatre Editor for Entertainment Today for 21 years, reviewed for BackStage for 12 years, and is also currently a contributor to ArtsInLA.com. As a writer, five of his plays have been produced in LA and his first, "Surprise Surprise," became a feature film in 2010, for which Travis wrote the screenplay and appeared in a leading role. An actor since childhood who originally came to LA under contract to Paramount Pictures, he has appeared in six Broadway productions and has traveled extensively in everything from "Bye Bye Birdie," "Hair," and throughout Europe and Asia in "Hello Dolly" to touring as Amos (Mr. Cellophane) Hart in "Chicago." Locally, Travis received the LA Drama Critics’ Circle Award as Kenneth Halliwell in the west coast premiere of "Nasty Little Secrets," a Drama-Logue Award as Lennie in "Of Mice and Men," and he has also received six acting nominations from LA Weekly; a Sage Award; Ovation, GLAAD, NAACP, and five Garland Award nominations. Regionally, he was given the Inland Theatre League Award as Ken Talley in "Fifth of July," three awards for direction and performance as Dr. Dysart in "Equus," and he was up for Washington, DC’s Helen Hayes honors as Oscar Wilde in the premiere of "Oscar & Speranza." His first novel "Waiting for Walk," a memoir of growing up as a child actor, has been sitting in a desk drawer since its completion in 2005, proving there is often a deep divide between talent and functionality. www.travismichaelholder.coms

BRIGHT STAR review

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s plot is about as predictable as Dotard Donnie’s reaction to criticism (“Sad!”), but still their bluegrass-tinged music is gloriously infectious, while Walter Bobbie’s direction is extraordinarily fluid and the simple but effective design elements in the production could not be more impressive. Add to this a wonderful ensemble cast and a worldclass band and even the script’s most predictable and improbable themes can be forgiven.

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RESOLVING HEDDA review

Now noted playwright Jon Klein, first brought to the attention of west coast audiences championed by Maria Gobetti and Tom Ormeny at their long-prolific Victory Theatre Center, returns home to world premiere his latest comedy--which immediately adds him to the ranks of the brilliant wordsmiths before him determined to turn great literary works of dramatic art on their proverbial ear.

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STUPID KID review

Quickly emerging playwright Sharr White gets even more respect from me with this knockout world premiere which, under the masterful leadership of director Cameron Watson, is simply the best production so far opening in LA this season in a year overflowing with incredible new plays. There are a few holes in White’s script which could easily be filled with a little dab of theatrical Spackle, but quite simply, it could never soar to these heights without Watson and his amazing cast of six brilliant actors at the top of their game.

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BILLY BOY review

As with so many of his previous plays, the world premiere of Nick Salamone’s newest provides another quantum leap into an arrestingly brave, unflinchingly honest, and unapologetically sentimental bout of personal soul-searching.

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HEAD OF PASSES review

Phylicia Rashad is certainly a force of nature, although the only uncluttered place left for her to explore is littered with Terrell Alvin McCraney’s continuous clichés. His newest play is chockfull of good god-fearin’ born-again eye-flutterin' and the lifting of palms to the heavens while constantly telling others how to live their lives. Director Tina Landau, however, leads her startlingly gifted ensemble and the no-holds-barred performance of Rashad with amazing grace.

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RUNAWAY HOME review

At a critical time when massive storms have devastated Texas, Florida, and now Puerto Rico while that monstrous destroyer of the free world Dotard Donnie assures us his soulless administration’s efforts for recovery are going “really, really well,” the world premiere of Jeremy J. Kamps’ arresting new play could not possibly be more urgently important.

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WALKING TO BUCHENWALD review

Long ago, the term Ugly American was coined to describe rude and entitled American tourists trampling the world in their Bermuda shorts with ankle socks, loud Hawaiian camp shirts, and ever-present fannypacks, leaving a cultureless footprint behind wherever they traveled. But today, the stakes are infinitely higher. Suddenly, Tom Jacobson's newest narratively-challenged play takes on a new national dilemma: what it means to be an American in a time when we are no longer admired in the world but reviled—and sadly but appropriately feared.

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A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE GYNECOLOGIC ONCOLOGY UNIT AT MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER OF NEW YORK CITY, review

Some people will obviously be deeply offended by Halley Feiffer’s twisted sense of inherited humor, but anyone who has ever faced a long hospital stay or dealt with catastrophic illness personally or caring for a loved one—or if you’ve worked in a hospital where gallows humor runs rampant to erase the tensions and potential heartache—will enjoy her hilariously dark play with an appreciation and understanding others cannot. And as the civilized world crumples and burns around us, a little bit of Feiffer’s off-kilter and wacky yet sophisticated Duck Soupian humor could not be more welcome.

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THE RED SHOES review

The omnipresent raison d'être for this production to have blossomed to fruition is the staging and choreography gifted us by its genius creator, a man who I swear must be part Michel Fokine, part Bob Fosse, a little Mandy Moore, and a lotta just plain Sir Matthew Bourne. No one before him has ever taken the perfection and rigidity of classic ballet and morphed it so successfully with a haunting art deco-angular sensibility and, above all, his signature sense of humor that infuses everything he touches. It’s as though sometime in another life, Bourne was movement coach for Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy—that is when not coaching Vaslav Nijinsky himself.

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GREY NOMAD review

What makes Dan Lee's painfully old-fashioned sitcom-y script palpable, besides his sharply quirky dialogue and insight into the process of growing older despite ourselves, are these veteran performers able to make it work. This is especially true of Ros Gentle, with whom we fall in love as the curious, frustrated, ever-patient Helen in the first minutes. Every subtly pained expression, every moment of closing her fluttering eyelids to regain her composure, is golden, something that proves even more endearing when Val’s more outrageously free behavior begins to rub off on her more infinitely more conservative protégée.

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