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

WATER BY THE SPOONFUL review

50%

The first wonder of Hudes’ script is how it weaves back and forth as all these diverse people, some connected by genetics, some merely by need of human contact, struggle to hang onto their humanity despite the odds. This is anchored by the playwright’s evocative storytelling and uncanny ability to turn descriptions of the ugliness overpowering the world to which Elliot has returned into lyrically poetic Williams-esque dialogue. Unfortunately, under the direction of Lilena Blain-Cruz, it’s somehow hard to care about Hudes’ characters as passionately as she intended and that her play demands.

..read full review...

THE CHOSEN review

100%

Under the passionate leadership of director Simon Levy, this resurrection of Chaim Potok's great classic is welcome indeed. Nothing is lost from the beauty and simple truths revealed as two observant Brooklyn teenage boys navigate their future and their faith in the shadow of the Second World War, as Europe is being lit by massive firebombs and six million Jews are systematically being eliminated.

..read full review...

ALADDIN review

100%

Granted, the best way to see Disney’s outrageously grand live stage recreation of their popular animated 1992 feature film is to bring along a 12-year-old as your plus-one. Seeing it unfold through the eyes of a kid must be the ultimate thrill, although for adults, there’s a lot here to offer as well. Everything thrown upon the also visually-stunning Pantages stage by Disney’s imagineers is most welcome, quickly transcending expectations.

..read full review...

THE SECRET IN THE WINGS review

100%

No producing entity in El Lay could be a better choice to present Mary Zimmerman’s newest fantasy than the unstoppably courageous folks at the Coeurage Theatre Company, as the Lookingglass stalwart cleverly links together obscure fairy tales with the help of innovative director Joseph V. Calarco and his gifted and highly committed cast--especially Leon Russom, who induces his share of delightfully creepy goosebumps as a bony-tailed ogre. Though perhaps the grisly nature of some of these folk tales is anything but kid-friendly in our contemporary society’s narrow view, let’s face it: Bambi's mother dies and Tinkerbell almost O.D.s too, right?

..read full review...

SOMETHING ROTTEN review

100%

Casey Nicholaw directs with tongue firmly in cheek at every moment on Scott Pask’s Pee-Wee’s Playhouse of a Renaissance set, while Gregg Barnes elaborately oversized and clunky Elizabethan costuming is so hilarious that one purple-hued ostrich-plumed outfit gets a huge laugh just by having the actor wearing it walk onstage. But hey, as Shylock advises struggling playwright Nick Bottom, “Don’t listen to critics—they’re ferkakta.” That may be true but boy, I hope to enjoy this wonderfully outrageous and incredibly clever musical many more times before it takes up permanent residence in some grand Las Vegas hotel in the future. And no, that’s not gossip, just a far better prediction than Nostradamus’ vision of that future Shakespearean hit "Omelette—the Musical.”

..read full review...

ROTTERDAM review

100%

Jon Brittain has written an urgently important play, intelligently exploring territory which other writers haven’t yet really touched with such understanding, humor, and an overwhelmingly sense of humanity. Under director Michael A. Shepperd’s impeccable care, his incredible cast pays unique homage to the courageous lives of people willing to eschew society’s ridiculously constrictive rules and honoring the struggles of all those brave cultural warriors who shuck the religiously-based dogma that limits our lives.

..read full review...

KING CHARLES III review

100%

Utilizing his dynamic cast of 16, director Michael Michetti, along with an amazing design team dominated by the incredibly detailed 100-plus costumes crafted by Alex Jaeger, manages to create a whole empire before us, filling the cavernous Pasadena Playhouse stage with constant movement and brilliantly conjured tricks in staging that keep the implausibility of the storyline from getting in the way of the vision.

..read full review...

BRIGHT STAR review

100%

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.

..read full review...

RESOLVING HEDDA review

100%

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.

..read full review...

STUPID KID review

100%

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.

..read full review...