Writer: Travis Michael Holder

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
Jun

Loot

Bart DeLorenzo’s kinetic staging pays respectful homage to the legacy of Joe Orton and the history of this play, adding all the signature craftiness of which he is such a master. “Wake up! Stop dreaming!” the officious Fay yells to McLeavy at the opening of the play as he sits vigil next to his wife’s onstage coffin. Perhaps this was Orton’s most fervent warning to playgoers in his short stay on our perilous and precarious planet not long before he left it with so much still to say he never got to share. Would that people had been bright enough to listen when the laughter finally ended.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

INDECENT

Everything and everyone involved in this production pays respectful homage to Paula Vogel, whose incredible script, as Sholem Asch originally intended so many, many years ago, speaks of the necessity of Jews to honestly and unapologetically show ourselves to be as flawed and complex as anyone who throughout the centuries has hated us for who we are as we all collectively struggle for a foothold on this risky planet.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

DANA H.

This is the haunting tale of survival, told with unique and never-before attempted innovation of pure theatrical genius. As someone who since early childhood has literally spent all of my life surrounded by and devoted to the wonders of creating theatre—especially in the experimental creation of groundbreaking new forms—may I say without hesitation what Lucas Hnath has here wrought, energized and brought to glorious life by the unbelievably creative collaboration of director Les Waters and featuring a tour-de-force performance by Deirdre O’Connell, has totally blown my mind.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

VIOLENCE: The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer

With the return of Tim Robbins' delightfully off-centered 1985 PC-proof comedy, his creatively unstoppable Actors’ Gang ensemble members sweating off their weirdly wonderful kabuki makeup and flicking their tongues out from under Erhard Stiefel’s hauntingly creepy masks as they skewer political greed then and now, are not just actors. They are us. We are them. It’s a shame it’s always so hard to remember that, to recognize and live with that, even as we try our best at every opportunity to defy the shortcomings inherent in our own human nature and change them.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

Daniel's Husband

Under the sure and steady directorial hand of Simon Levy, Michael McKeever's indelible play is a tribute to committing oneself to love and life, written by a splendid wordsmith and assayed by a brilliant team of designers and players who tenderly make a plea for us all to be kinder and more conscientious of who we are and what our place is in the world if we care enough to try to leave it a better place.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

A Streetcar Named Desire

Veteran director Jack Heller once again conjures a magical, dreamlike place where, seven decades ago, the world reeled as the greatest playwright of the last century bestowed on us all his lyrical, poetic dialogue and an uncanny ability to honor and to elevate to heroic stature the lost and less desirable denizens of our mess of a society. It was a groundbreaking moment in the history of theatre that changed the future of dramatic literature for all time to come and, for that reason if no other, this heartfelt production deserves our appreciation and attention.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

Happy Days

With our planet today crashing toward destruction through climate change as we all helplessly endure the destructive reign of a “leader” more interested in his legacy than our planet, Samuel Beckett’s 1961 absurdist masterpiece eerily reinforces his chillingly prophetic, humorously bleak pronouncements of the gradual disintegration of all living creatures struggling for fresh air and daily sustenance on this unforgiving planet. For director James Bundy, guiding an actor as brilliant as Dianne Wiest has inspired something new and fresh and truly remarkable.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

HERSHEY FELDER: A PARIS LOVE STORY

What's the most eye-opening in actor/storyteller/pianist extraordinaire Hersey Felder’s revelations about composer Claude Dusussy was the man’s passion for the natural world around him despite the horrors of a world at war, so clearly influencing the genius of his art as he tirelessly attempted to conjure “musique that only engaged with nature,” creating notes that would evoke the sounds of water flowing, butterflies gracefully floating through the breeze, and the citizens of his beloved Paris walking through the streets of his city.

sweet - ...read full review

Jun

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL

Billie Holiday is a legend and, as such, is surely a hard act to follow. Deidrie Henry, however, with the precision directorial guidance of Gregg T. Daniel and both of them paying deference to Lanie Robertson’s uncanny ability to bring Lady Day back to life, does far more than follow; she creates an indelible, mesmeric portrait of one of the greatest figures in American musical history.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

Matthew Bourne's 'Cinderella'

Everything about a work by Sir Matthew Bourne is pure magic; his angular, Nijinsky-inspired choreography is almost tribal in its individuality, heralding a new rule-breaking form of artistic communication almost primitive in nature. His hilariously inventive take on this familiar old classic could easily be compared to watching those indigenous ethnic tribes, long hidden in the planet's last bastions of remaining wilderness, performing their own self-evolved consanguineous raindances passed down from generation to generation, as Bourne's work should also be.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

The Cripple of Inishmaan

It seems lucky to me the six plays of Martin McDonagh's pair of County Galway trilogies surfaced in a time before the current climate where the only way to not offend anyone is to write about trees. Today, without having achieved classic status, there would surely be some group or another outside the Kiki and David Gindler Performing Arts Center carrying signs of protest. Still, if that ever did happen, all the good folks at Anteaus would need to do is invite them in and offer them seats, for once anyone begins to understand the heart and endearing nature lurking below the crusty surface of ignorant inappropriateness that dogs residents of Inishmaan Island, they will surely abandon their signs and applaud this stellar production along with the rest of us.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

An Inspector Calls

In 1992, Stephen Daldry took J.B. Priestley's mission one step further, innovatively blasting apart and reassembling his old melodramatic warhorse into his multiple award-winning revival, a kind of nonrealistic, expressionistic theatrical mindfuck. Now returned here to the Wallis, this is still a magical effort even better today when the absurdity of real life is more than enough to contemplate on a daily basis.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

Hir

Through humor and shock value that blasts through at full gallop, what energizes Taylor Mac's signature vision more than anything else is its blistering indictment of the ways our society has marginalized the folks struggling to navigate and understand our existence in these troubling time, an era when many of us are edging closer and closer to the kitchen sink to cough up all the bile Tweeted by our inglorious “leader” on a daily basis as those around him ignore all the Isaacs trying their damnedest to come home.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

LINDA VISTA

Tracy Letts' newest opus to our dysfunctional society two decades into the millennium not only takes no prisoners, but somehow once again manages to make us laugh our fool heads off as we simultaneously wince at what we're watching unfold before us.

sweet - ...read full review

Dec

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE

Described as a live multimedia concert celebration of the soundtrack for the hit 2003 holiday movie, LA's award-winning production team For the Record have come to peddle their festive wares at the Wallis and it's a match made in heaven, bringing together the ingenuity and imagination of their original concept and the classy opulence and resources of their new venue partners.

sweet - ...read full review

Dec

DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY

Dixie Longate hasn't only arrived at the Douglas to sell us Tupperware, thank goodness for people like me for whom the kitchen is a foreign country and already have a set of hermetically-sealed containers to keep our weed fresh and fragrant. Don't get me wrong: "Dixie's Tupperware Party" is, first and foremost, absolutely hilarious. It is uniquely energized by Our Miss Longate's unearthly manic energy, blasting through an hour-and-a-half informercial like Bette Midler on uppers (been there) and throwing out a plethora of cleverly off-color innuendos tumbling from her ruby-red lips.

sweet - ...read full review

Dec

THE BLACK HOLE

“It's a small, seedy world after all” in the welcome return to the LA intimate theatre scene of our own homegrown pop-culture-mad 99-seat John Waters, the ever-shocking, ever-incredibly clever Michael Sargent, whose darkly grotesque and crudely fascinating plays exploring the long gone but not-so secret underbelly of LA and its environs began surfacing in our city's bravest counterculture venues in the 1980s. This new piece confirms that Sargent's signature vision, though in its wordsmithery spectacularly evolved over the years, is still not without its share of rampant sexual randiness as it runs at full speed from the onset of ageism and knocks our youthful dreams from their idyllic pedestal. Sargent also directs his newest piece, his quick wit and razor-sharp sense of humor only surpassed by his ability to lead his gamely worshipful performers in what in lesser hands would come off as overacted, a feat that could rival the old days when Edie the Egg Lady worried about a future world without chickens and her daughter Babs gobbled up a big handful of poodle shit.

sweet - ...read full review

Dec

Sugar Plum Fairy

There's something bizarrely reassuring about this seasonal treat, like finding an old Diane Arbus photo and being torn between fascination, revulsion, and familiarity. We all have a great and usually horrifying holiday memory to tell, don't we? Thank Terpsichore Sandra Tsing Loh continues to share hers so openly and with such splendidly entertaining dose of self-deprecation. To see her in 3-D is another thing entirely, her manic energy and wide-eyed, angst-ridden woebegone delivery yet another wonder to behold. I'm not sure what Miss Loh is "on," but I want some.

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

COME FROM AWAY

Beyond the continuous thread of a Gaelic wink and the bareboned though magically evoked quality of a production created by master craftsmen, the true stars of this fresh new musical are the people of Gander, Newfoundland who, in this current age where destructive conmen remain in power and the ugly return of racism is systematically destroying everything so many of us have tried to conquer in our society, prove there are still good, decent people in this big mess of a world of ours who will band together to hold one another's hands in time of crisis and make the pain of strangers easier for them to endure. Just as I was wondering if every ounce of faith in humanity had drained from me into the ugly depths of the daily news reports, "Come from Away" showed up and, thankfully, has helped me breathe a little lighter again.

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

HANSEL AND GRETEL

Besides Doug Fitch's massive, fanciful creatures and equally huge cartoon sets which roll in and out with astonishing regularity, there's the fact that Engelbert Humperdinck's enduring though not monumental score is conducted by the legendary James Conlon leading the impressive LA Opera Orchestra and, at the piece's finale, all of the Witch's pintsized victims who have been turned into gingerbread men emerge as a glorious band of survivors beautifully voiced and sweetly performed by members of the Los Angeles Children's Chorus.

sweet - ...read full review

ADS
  • Masoch and DeSAde at Oh My Ribs! Theater
  • Imagine the possibilities. All of them.
  • THE ART OF DINING at the Gloria Gifford Conservatory
  • DIRTY TRICKS w/ The New Bad Boys of Magic

Featured LemonAide