Writer: Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

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
Apr

The Mouse Trap

Despite any druthers, this is a charming, well-meaning, mostly successful presentation. As it has while holding court in London for all these years, The Mouse Trap can lift away all the crappiness of our current world situation and help us set aside our collective frustration with the trap from which all us American mousies find ourselves squirming to loosen our necks from its deathly grasp. Christie knew how to spin a good yarn and here, the good folks at Crown City are presenting her enduring record-breaking classic directly from their big and prolific hearts.

sweet - ...read full review

Apr

El Nino

In his long overdue dark comedy El Nino, LA's own theatrical free spirit Justin Tanner returns at the top of his game. This kind of writing would make any actor willing to take a chance, beyond selling tampons on TV or singing about bright golden hazes on the meadow, shit his or her pants to assay and this could not be more evident than with the stable of gifted Tannerites who would crawl through the desert—or even park at Santa Monica Blvd. and Oxford—to say the words written by Tanner.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

Laughter on the 23rd Floor

Lovingly remounted at full goofy gallop and led by the uber-kinetic Marx Brotherly direction of the prolific Michael A. Sheppard, the resurrection of Neil Simon's last coherent play provides welcome respite from the deluge of Tweets spewing from our current Madman-in-Chief that make most people want to go back to bed and pull up the covers.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

An Undivided Heart

What could be a fascinating journey is instead a confused and uneven mishmash, further exacerbated by Yusuf Toporov's indulgent and not-too subtle preaching about religion and the differences between the conflicts of Catholicism and the serenity of Buddhism. Even if meant to be the overlying point here, it would be easier to take if Toropov didn't insist on tackling the issue as though offering a preliminary starter course in Zen 101.

sour - ...read full review

Mar

Unemployed Elephants - A Love Story

Wendy Graf's dialogue is continuously spiky and her characters, though inexplicably linked for no reason except to illicit a happy ending, are suitably charming. There's no doubt this is funny and entertaining, but the biggest problem is that the story itself is agonizingly predictable. There was a time when this kind of romantic sparring was refreshing onstage, particularly if accompanied by such crisp and clever wordsmithery, but that was before television comedies offered much better and less formulaic writing than during the restrictive family-oriented sitcom days of yore.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Mar

Jackie Unveiled

Saffron Burrows is sensational as Jackie, who wonders if she, like her aunt and cousin Big and Little Edie Beale, will end up wandering around her own personal Grey Gardens as mad as they became. With an uncanny (onstage) resemblance and adopting an American accent that recalls all the signature vocal intonations without resorting to the usual breathy bad imitation, under the exquisitely subtle yet kinetic direction of Jenny Sullivan, Burrows grabs us with a strength and resiliency few successfully realize.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

ALLEGIANCE

The message is vital and clear: Why were these loyal Americans asked to fight for their country while they and their families were subject to intolerable conditions in near-secret homegrown concentration camps? It's a question that could not be more timely as our own nation is dragged into a dictatorship by a bigoted madman edging toward his own Third Reich with the help of his shockingly soulless minions. It's a great reason to support this brave and heartfelt musical which, despite its flaws, will leave you with a new appreciation for what it is we need to battle against with every fiber of decency left in us so nothing like this can ever, ever again happen in our country.

sweet - ...read full review

Mar

A Streetcar Named Desire

For lovers of Williams, Michael Michetti's contemporary multi-racial updating of the best play of the 20th century can absolutely not be missed. Since the great master was never satisfied with his work and never during his lifetime stopped rewriting even his most well-known plays, I'm quite sure if he were still with us today, he would be hoisting a Sazerac or three in honor of this jarringly fresh and captivating new take—and Michetti's singular perception of what Tenn was trying to communicate to audiences some 70 years ago.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

THE NEW COLOSSUS

In a workshop which began two years ago led by the troupe's fiercely committed artistic director Tim Robbins, members of the Actors' Gang, all descendants of former refugees from all over the world, attempt to explore their own individual familial roots. These are the proud stories we've all heard told sometime in our own lives, the kind of courageous personal tales that once made us proud to be called Americans. The point here is not what these people say; the point is that they all have experienced the same painful experience of being uprooted from their comfortable existence and forced to run for their lives through horrifying and dehumanizing conditions.It is a moving, humbling, indelible experience which hopefully will make everyone in attendance return home with a new intensity to fight the indignities of our time and work tirelessly to stop the soulless and greedy monsters currently trying to tell us what to do and how to live.

sweet - ...read full review

Feb

WATER BY THE SPOONFUL

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.

sweet-sour - ...read full review

Feb

The Chosen

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.

sweet - ...read full review

Jan

ALADDIN

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.

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

The Secret in the Wings

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?

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

SOMETHING ROTTEN

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.”

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

Rotterdam

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.

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

King Charles III

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.

sweet - ...read full review

Nov

BRIGHT STAR

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.

sweet - ...read full review

Oct

Resolving Hedda

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.

sweet - ...read full review

Oct

Stupid Kid

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.

sweet - ...read full review

Oct

BILLY BOY

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.

sweet - ...read full review

ADS
  • La Vie En Rose with Julia Migenes

Featured LemonAide