Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Writer, Registered Critic

My 27th annual TicketHolder Awards are now posted on my TicketHoldersLA website in two parts. You can read part II below. Click here for part I.


Tobias Forrest, Cost of LivingFountain Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Tony Abatemarco, Sugar Plum Fairy, Skylight; Matthew Beard, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Wallis; John Ross Bowie, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Marshall; J. Stephen Brantley, The Legend of Georgia McBride, ETC; Carlton Byrd, The Legend of Georgia McBride, ETC; Jeff Campanella, Laughter on the 23rd Floor,Garry Marshall; Shon Fuller, Arrival & Departure, Fountain; John Getz, An Undivided Heart, Circle X/Echo; Dov Gvirtsman, Exit Wounds, GTC Burbank; Luis Kelly-Duarte, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court; Roman Moretti, Yellow Face, Beverly Hills Playhouse; Michael Mullen, The Mouse Trap, Crown City; Rob Nagle, Forever Bound, Atwater Village; Roland Rusinek, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Marshall; Scott Keiji Takeda, Valley of the Heart, Taper


Maya Lynne RobinsonA Streetcar Named DesireBoston Court Performing Arts Center

RUNNERS-UP: Jessica Jade Andres, Arrival & Departure, Fountain; Alana Dietze, An Undivided Heart, Circle X/Echo; Emily Goss, Forever Bound, Atwater Village; Shannon Holt, Sugar Plum Fairy, Skylight; Jessica Joy, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Garry Marshall; Annie Liebermann, The Mouse Trap, Crown City; Keiana Richard, The Legend of Georgia McBride, ETC; Stasha Surdyke, Arrival & Departure, Fountain


George TakeiAllegianceEast West Players and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center

RUNNERS-UP: Gavin Gregory, The Color Purple, Pantages; Jawan M. Jackson, Ain't Too Proud, Ahmanson; Francis Jue, Soft Power, Ahmanson; Jacob Heimer, Beautiful, Pantages; Larry Marshall, Waitress, Pantages; Theo Mitchell-Penner, School of Rock, Pantages; Jeremy Morse, Waitress, Pantages; Matt Walker, The Year Without a Santana Claus, Troubies; Huxley Westemeier, School of Rock, Pantages


Jessica PhillipsDear Evan HansenCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: June Carryl, Cabaret, Celebration; Carrie Compere, The Color Purple, Pantages; Charity Angel Dawson, Waitress, Pantages; Chelle Denton, The Year Without a Santana Claus, Troubies; Lenne Klingaman, Waitress, Pantages; Iara Nemirovsky, School of Rock, Pantages; Rashidra Scott, Ain't Too Proud, Ahmanson; Carla R. Stewart, The Color Purple, Pantages; Alison Whitehurst, Beautiful, Pantages

Kristin Couture, John DeMita, Judy Louise Johnson, Mike McShane, Rob Nagle, Calvin Picou, Deborah Puette, Jocelyn Towne, Timothy Adam Venable, William L. Warren; The Little FoxesAntaeus Theatre Company


Melissa Denton, Maile Flanagan, Danielle Kennedy, Joe Keyes, Jonathan Palmer, Nick Ullett; El Nino, Rogue Machine

Cassie Beck, Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Lauren Klein, Nick Mills, Sarah Steele; The Humans, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

Pierre Adeli, Mela Green, Scott Harris, Kaili Hollister, Mary Ellen O'Donnell, Luis Quintana, Tess Vidal, Andrea Monte Warren, Nathan Woodworth; Johnny Got His Gun, Actors' Gang

Pierre Adeli, Onur Alpsen, Quonta Beasley, Kayla Blake, Kathryn Cecelia Carner, Jeanette Rothschild Horn, Dora Kiss, Stephanie Lee, Mary Eileen O'Donnell, Zivko Petkovic, Mashka Wolfe, Paulette Zubata; The New Colossus,Actors' Gang

Leandro Cano, J.D. Hall, Meeghan Holaway, Rahul Rai, Patrick Joseph Rieger, Kacie Rogers; The Rescued, Road Theatre Company


Kevin Carolan, Harter Clingman, Nick Duckart, Chamblee Ferguson, Becky Gulsvig, Julie Johnson, Christine Toy Johnson, James Earl Jones II, Megan McGinnis, Andrew Samonsky, Danielle K. Thomas, Emily WaltonCome from AwayCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre


Darnell Abraham, Amar Atkins, Kyle E. Baird, Angela Birchett, N'Jameh Camara, Carrie Compere, Erica Durham, J. Daughtry, Gavin Gregory, Adrianna Hicks, Bianca Horn, Mekhai Lee, Gabrielle Reid, C.E. Smith, Carla R. Stewart, Clyde Voce, Nyla Watson, J.D. Webster, Brit West, Nikisha Williams, Michael Wordly; The Color Purple, Pantages Theatre

Jared Goldsmith, Phoebe Koyabe, Aaron Lazar, Maggie McKenna, Christiane Noll, Jessica Phillips, Ben Levi Ross, Marrick Smith; Dear Evan Hansen, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

Billy Bustamante, Kara Guy, Jon Hoche, Kendyl Ito, Francis Jue, Austin Ku, Raymond J. Lee, Alyse Alan Louis, Jaygee Macapugay, Daniel May, Paul HeeSang Miller, Kristen Faith Oei, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Geena Quintos, Conrad Ricamora, Trevor Salter, Emily Stillings; Soft Power, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre


Jefferson MaysA Christmas CarolGeffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: Kris Andersson, Dixie's Tupperware Party, Douglas; Saffron Burrows, Jackie Unveiled, Wallis; Tom Dugan, Wiesenthal, Theatre 40; Hershey Felder, Beethoven, Wallis; John Fleck, Blacktop Highway, Odyssey; Sarah Jones, Buy/Sell/Date, Renberg Theatre, LA LGBT Center


Cairo McGee, Love Actually LIVEWallis Annenberg Center

Vincent Molden, School of Rock, Pantages Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Frankie Leoni, A Bronx Tale, Pantages; Casey Lyons, Love Never Dies, Pantages; Aurelia Myers, Arrival & Departure, Fountain


Broadway @ the Wallis: Chita RiveraWallis Annenberg Center


David Henry Hwang, Soft PowerCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Steve Apostolina, Forever Bound, Atwater Village; Tom Dugan, Jackie Unveiled, Wallis; Tom Dugan, Wiesenthal, Theatre 40; Hershey Felder, Beethoven, Wallis; John Fleck, Blacktop Highway, Odyssey; Wendy Graf, Exit Wounds, GTC Burbank; David Henry Hwang, Yellow Face, Beverly Hills Playhouse; Stephen Karam, The Humans, Ahmanson; Stephen Levenson, Dear Evan Hansen, Ahmanson; Matthew Lopez, The Legend of Georgia McBride, ETC; Martyna Majok, Cost of Living, Fountain; Julie Marie Myatt, The Rescued, Road; Lynn Nottage, Sweat, Taper; Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come from Away, Ahmanson; Justin Tanner, El Nino, Rogue Machine; Karen Zacarias, Native Gardens, Pasadena Playhouse


Stephen Sachs, Arrival & DepartureFountain Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Anderson Davis, Love Actually LIVE, Wallis; Jullian Fellowes, School of Rock, Pantages; Jefferson Mays, Susan Lyons, and Michael Arden, A Christmas Carol, Geffen Playhouse; Sandra Tsing Loh, Sugar Plum Fairy,Skylight; Michael Michetti, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court; Jessie Nelson, Waitress, Pantages; Marsha Norman, The Color Purple, Pantages; Chazz Palminteri, A Bronx Tale, Pantages; Bradley Rand Smith, Johnny Got His Gun, Actors' Gang; Matt Walker, The Year Without a Santana Claus, Troubies


Michael MichettiA Streetcar Named DesireBoston Court Performing Arts Center

RUNNERS-UP: Michael Arden, A Christmas Carol, Geffen Playhouse; Bart DeLorenzo, Sugar Plum Fairy, Skylight; Richard Eyre, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Wallis; Joe Mantello, The Humans, Ahmanson; Lisa Peterson, Sweat,Taper; Jon Lawrence Rivera, Baby Eyes, Playwrights' Arena; Tim Robbins, Johnny Got His Gun, Actors' Gang; Michael A. Sheppard, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Garry Marshall Theatre; Stephen Sachs, Arrival & Departure,Fountain; Jenny Sullivan, Jackie Unveiled, Wallis; Jenny Sullivan, The Legend of Georgia McBride, ETC; Jenny Sullivan, Wiesenthal, Theatre 40; Randee Trabitz, Blacktop Highway, Odyssey; Cameron Watson, The Little Foxes,Antaeus; Robert Zimmerman, Yellow Face, Beverly Hills Playhouse


Christopher AshleyCome from AwayCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Marc Bruni, Beautiful, Pantages; Laurence Connor, School of Rock, Pantages; Anderson Davis, Love Actually LIVE, Wallis; Robert DeNiro and Jerry Zaks, A Bronx Tale, Pantages; John Doyle, The Color Purple, Pantages; Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen, Ahmanson; Michael Matthews, Cabaret, Celebration; Des McAnuff, Ain't Too Proud, Ahmanson; Diane Paulus, Waitress, Pantages; Leigh Silverman, Soft Power, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson; Matt Walker, The Year Without a Santana Claus, Troubies; Joel Zwick, Beethoven, Wallis


Jeanine Tesori and David Henry HwangSoft PowerCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Sara Bareilles, Waitress, Pantages; Peter Bayne, Arrival & Departure, Fountain; Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Beautiful, Pantages; Jay Kuo, Allegiance, East West Players and JACCC; Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, A Bronx Tale, Pantages; The Legendary Motown Catalog, Ain't Too Proud, Ahmanson; Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen, Ahmanson; Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray, The Color Purple, Pantages; Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come from Away, Ahmanson; Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater, Love Never Dies, Pantages; Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater, School of Rock, Pantages


David O, Soft PowerCenter Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Darryl Archibald, The Color Purple, Pantages; Ryan Cantwell, Waitress, Pantages; James Conlon, Hansel and Gretel, LA Opera; Austin Cook, Dear Evan Hansen, Ahmanson; Susan Draus, Beautiful, Pantages; Brian P. Kennedy, A Bronx Tale, Pantages; Marc Macalintal, Allegiance, East West Players and JACCC; Kenny Seymour, Ain't Too Proud, Ahmanson; Jesse Vargas, Love Actually LIVE, Wallis; Cynthia Kortman Westphal, Come from Away, Ahmanson; Anthony Zediker, Cabaret, Celebration


Sergio TrujilloAin't Too Proud, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Darryl Archibald, The Color Purple, Pantages; Kelly Devine, Come from Away, Ahmanson; Nadine Ellis, The Year Without a Santana Claus, Troubies; JoAnn M. Hunter, School of Rock, Pantages; Sam Pinkleton, Soft Power, Ahmanson; Janet Roston, Cabaret, Celebration; Jamie Torcellini, The Legend of Georgia McBride, ETC; Sergio Trujillo, A Bronx Tale, Pantages


Alex JaegerThe Legend of Georgia McBride, Ensemble Theatre Company

RUNNERS-UP: Doug Fitch, Hansel and Gretel, LA Opera; Dominique Fawn Hill, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court; Ann Hould-Ward, The Color Purple, Pantages; Terri A. Lewis, The Little Foxes, Antaeus; Steve Mazurek, Love Actually LIVE, Wallis; Michael Mullin, Cabaret, Celebration; Halei Parker, The Year Without a Santana Claus,Troubies; Paul Tazwell, Ain't Too Proud, Ahmanson; Gabriela Tylesova, Love Never Dies, Pantages; Lupe Valdez, Valley of the Heart, Taper; Alejo Vietti, Beautiful, Pantages


Dane Laffrey, A Christmas CarolGeffen Playhouse

RUNNERS UP: Christopher Barreca, Sweat, Taper; Robert Brill, Ain't Too Proud, Ahmanson; John Doyle, The Color Purple, Pantages; Hershey Felder, Beethoven, Wallis; Stephen Gifford, Cabaret, Celebration; Matthew G. Hill, Arrival & Departure, Fountain; Rob Howell, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Wallis; John Iacovelli, The Little Foxes,Antaeus; David Korins, Dear Evan Hansen, Ahmanson; Davis Meyer, Native Gardens, Pasadena Playhouse; Keith Mitchell, The Legend of Georgia McBride, ETC; Matthew Steinbrenner, Love Actually LIVE, Wallis; Gabriela Tylesova, Love Never Dies, Pantages; David Zinn, The Humans, Ahmanson


Ben StantonA Christmas CarolGeffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: Christopher Ash, Beethoven, Wallis; Michael Berger, Love Actually LIVE, Wallis; Howell Binkley, Come from Away, Ahmanson; Jane Cox, The Color Purple, Pantages; Matthew Brian Denman, Cabaret, Celebration; Rose Malone, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court; Peter Mumford, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Wallis; Jared A. Sayeg, The Legend of Georgia McBride, ETC; Nick Schlieper, Love Never Dies, Pantages; Justin Townsend, The Humans, Ahmanson; Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen, Ahmanson


Joshua D. ReidA Christmas CarolGeffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: Peter Bayne, Arrival & Departure, Fountain; Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain't Too Proud, Ahmanson; John Leonard, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Wallis; Cricket S. Meyers, The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona, Geffen; Fitz Patten, The Humans, Ahmanson; Mick Potter, Love Never Dies, Pantages; Brian Ronan, Beautiful, Pantages; Sam Sewell, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court; Benjamin Soldate, Love Actually LIVE,Wallis; Nevin Steinberg, Dear Evan Hansen, Ahmanson


Steve RankinSweatCenter Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum

RUNNERS-UP: Bo Foxworth, Native Gardens, Pasadena Playhouse; Edgar Landa, Baby Eyes, Playwrights' Arena; Edgar Landa, Valley of the Heart, Taper


Hana S. KimThe Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki CoronaGeffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: Christopher Ash, Beethoven, Wallis; Yee Eun Nam, Sweat, Taper; Heather Fipps, Blacktop Highway,Odyssey; Adam Flemming, Allegiance, East West Players and JACCC; David Murakami, Valley of the Heart, Taper; Peter Nigrini, Ain't Too Proud, Ahmanson; Peter Nigrini, Dear Evan Hansen, Ahmanson; Aaron Rhyne, Love Actually LIVE, Wallis; Nicholas E. Santiago, Arrival & Departure, Fountain


Beach Blanket Babylon, Fungazi Theatre, San Francisco 

Head Over Heels, Curran Theatre, San Francisco  


Gary Franco, Movement Director, Arrival & DepartureFountain Theatre

Spencer Liff, Choreography, Head Over Heels, Curran Theatre, San Francisco

Michael Mayer, Direction, Head Over Heels, Curran Theatre, San Francisco

A little history here...

Boy, time flies when you're appreciating art. This marks my 27th year creating my annual TicketHolders Awards, which began in the now-defunct Beverly Hills Post over a quarter-century ago. I actually began reviewing theatre in El Lay exactly 32 years ago next month in what was then The Tolucan (now Tolucan Times),a publication which my friend and our columnist, the late-great Mr. Blackwell, on one of his glorious Blackwellian rants complained had a circulation of 20 blocks.

Working as a graphic artist for magazines and newspapers as a survival job, I pitched The Tolucan's managing editor in January, 1987 to write a review of a play which had opened in NoHo without any press or publicity, produced by a fledgling theatre company of which I had become a member. The following week, I was asked if I would be interested in writing another review for the paper and so my three-decade journey as a reviewer began. I was advised then if I continued to write reviews I should do so anonymously under a pen name or I would virtually hammer the final nail into the already battered coffin of my once promising acting career in Hollywood. Obviously, I was never one to listen to reason.

Along the way, I was editor of LA Theatre Magazine, served as Theatre Editor for Entertainment Today for 21 years, reviewed regularly for Arts in LA, contributed monthly columns on both the music industry and Las Vegas entertainment for Salon City Magazine, and wrote weekly for Back Stage Magazine for 15 years until the greedy new owners decided to scrape theatre reviews on both coasts--in a publication called Back Stage, mind you. I've also contributed to many other publications both left-coastal and national over the years, many of which have hosted my nomadic TicketHolder Awards over the years until I established this website late in 2016.

My stubborn and reckless determination that I could act and also write reviews as long as I did both with honesty and integrity proved its most gratifying in 2001 when I was awarded a LA Drama Critics Award for Leading Performance, meaning I'd finally earned the respect of my understandably wary colleagues, for my work as Joe Orton's mentor-executioner-lover Kenneth Halliwell in the west coast premiere of Lanie Robertson's Nasty Little Secrets.

Seeing my first effort as a playwright, Surprise Surprise, which debuted here in LA at the Victory Theatre Center, turned into a feature film in 2010 was also one more indication I was appreciated and so, despite earning the majority of my living these days coaching spoiled divas from the sidelines and teaching acting at New York Film Academy, I'm still wearing both of my original hats on a regular basis—although these days only if there happens to be the occasional need for a geriatric priest, a mentally incapacitated adult, or an old gay man with a long sad monologue.

All this is noted as I begin my 33rd year obsessing over such an unprofitable madness as supporting, defending, and creating art in a town where such noble efforts are hardly appreciated at all. So for the 27th time, I humbly offer my choices for the best work I've seen this year in these poor maligned desert climes by our stalwart little theatrical community. Congratulations everyone who, with such wonderfully inexplicable chutzpah and passion, chased their personal windmills to fruition and courageously and foolheartedly produced theatre in LA in 2018 despite the odds to succeed. For that alone, you are all winners!

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