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This has been an extraordinary year for theatre in Los Angeles and, though I attended almost as many productions around town as usual, 2007 signaled a bit of a personal milestone for me as I cut back considerably writing reviews. This was originally due primarily to several excursions away from home, including several trips to Vegas on assignment and extended stays in Orlando and New Orleans, but mostly my hiatus from reviewing was a result of trying to prepare, rehearse and perform in two incredibly demanding productions simultaneously: playing Shelly “The Machine” Levene in Misty Carlisle’s visionary re-mounting of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross at the Egyptian Arena in Hollywood and alternating as the Marchesa Constance Ridgeway-Condotti, better known as the Witch of Capri, in Tennessee Williams’ seldom-produced The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, directed by the venerated Simon Levy at the Fountain. Appearing in both of these modern classic plays was a highlight for me this year, especially keeping my wits about me playing a desperate Chicago real estate huckster one night and one of the world’s wealthiest and most Fellini-esque women the next. And believe me, if it were not for the obvious lack of objectivity on my part, these two shows would certainly have had several major winners among my choices for this year’s TicketHolder Award honors.


Mickey Birnbaum, Bleed Rail, Theatre @ Boston Court


RUNNERS-UP: Eva Anderson, Wildboy ’74, Bootleg; John Belluso, Pyretown, Playwrights Arena; Alan Bennett, The History Boys, Ahmanson; Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, Jersey Boys, Ahmanson; Theresa Burkhart, Feeding the Monkey in Hollywood, Gardner Stages; David Henry Hwang, Yellow Face, Taper; Neil LaBute, Fat Pig, Geffen; Carolyn Leach, Tryst, Black Dahlia; Tracy Letts, Bug, Coast Playhouse; Lisa Loomer, Distracted, Taper; Richard Montoya and Culture Clash, Zorro in Hell, Montalban; Susan Rubin, Bitch, Bootleg; John Patrick Shanley, Defiance, Pasadena Playhouse; Jeff Whitty, Avenue Q, Ahmanson


Allain Rochel, The Bacchae, Celebration Theatre


RUNNERS-UP: Jeremy Aluma, Ubu the Shit!, Complex; Joel Fields and David Lee, Can-Can, Pasadena Playhouse; Ken Ludwig, Twentieth Century, Lillian; Marsha Norman, The Color Purple, Ahmanson; Tom Stoppard, Heroes, Geffen Playhouse


Maria Gobetti, Kimberly Akimbo, Victory Theatre Center


RUNNERS-UP: Jules Aaron, Master Class, East West Players; Mark Bringelson, Bitch, Bootleg; Jo Bonney, Fat Pig, Geffen; Nicolette Chaffey, No Man’s Land, Theatre/Theater; Adrian A. Cruz, Wildboy ’74, Bootleg; Scott Cummins, Bug, Coast Playhouse; Scott Ellis, Twelve Angry Men, Ahmanson; David Galligan, Out Late, Macha Theatre; Jessica Kubzansky, Bleed Rail, Boston Court; Robin Larsen, Tryst, Black Dahlia; Michael Matthews, The Bacchae, Celebration; Michael Matthews, Beautiful Thing, Celebration; Chuck McCollum, The Rainmaker, Knightsbridge; Coy Middlebrook, Zoo Story, Deaf West; Diane Rodriguez, Pyretown, Playwrights Arena


Todd Graff, “13,” CTG, Mark Taper Forum


RUNNERS-UP: Kay Cole, Mommy! Mommy! The Musical…Musical!, Hudson Backstage; Nick DeGruccio, Zanna, Don’t!, WCE; Ben Donenberg, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare Festival/LA; Gary Griffin, The Color Purple, Ahmanson; James Lapine, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Wadsworth; David Lee, Can-Can, Pasadena Playhouse; Des McAnuff, Jersey Boys, Ahmanson; Michael Michetti, Paradise Lost, Boston Court;  Jay Willick and James J. Mellon, Bush Is Bad, NoHo Arts Center; Jason Moore, Avenue Q, Ahmanson


Eric Whitacre, Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings, Theatre @ Boston Court


RUNNERS-UP: Tim Acito, Zanna, Don’t!, WCE; Jason Robert Brown, “13,” Taper; William Finn, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Wadsworth; Bob Gaudio, Jersey Boys, Ahmanson; Peter Golub, Come Back, Little Sheba, Douglas; Fiona Hogan and Courtney Kramer, Mental the Musical, Edgemar Center; Philippe LeDuc and Maria Bonzanigo, Corteo, Cirque du Soleil at the Forum; Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, Avenue Q, Ahmanson; Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, The Color Purple, Ahmanson; Joshua Rosenblum, Bush Is Bad, NoHo Arts Center; Gerald Sternbach, Mommy! Mommy! The Musical…Musical!, Hudson Backstage


David O, “13,” CTG, Mark Taper Forum


RUNNERS-UP: Bill Brown, Zanna, Don’t!, WCE; Greg Chun, Paradise Lost, Boston Court; Andrew Graham, Avenue Q, Ahmanson; Michael Lavine, Bush Is Bad, NoHo Arts Center; Philippe LeDuc and Maria Bonzanigo, Corteo, Cirque du Soleil at the Forum; Ron Melrose, Jersey Boys, Ahmanson; Jodie Moore, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Wadsworth; David O, Man of La Mancha, A Noise Within; Steve Orich, Can-Can, Pasadena Playhouse; Sheilah Walker, The Color Purple, Ahmanson


Patti Colombo, Can-Can, Pasadena Playhouse


RUNNERS-UP: Julie Arenal, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare Festival/LA; Donald Byrd, The Color Purple, Ahmanson; Bubba Carr, Paradise Lost, Boston Court; Kay Cole, Atlanta, Geffen; Dan Knechtges, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Wadsworth; Michele Lynch, “13,” Taper; Sergio Trujillo, Jersey Boys, Ahmanson


Caleb Terray, Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings, Theatre @ Boston Court


RUNNERS-UP: Hugo Armstrong and Dennis Flanagan, Fight Choreography, Bleed Rail, Boston Court; Josh Gordon, Fight Choreography, Gilgamesh, Boston Court; Tim Weske, Can-Can, Pasadena Playhouse


Susan Gratch, Bleed Rail, Theatre @ Boston Court


RUNNERS UP: Christopher Acebo, Zorro in Hell, Montalban; John Lee Beatty, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Ahmanson; Kurt Boetcher, The Bacchae, Celebration; DC2: Danny Cistone and Davis Campbell, Twentieth Century, Lillian; Roy Christopher, Can-Can, Pasadena Playhouse; David Gallo, “13,” Taper; Desma Murphy, Bitch, Bootleg; Karyl Newman, Krapp’s Last Tape / Zoo Story, Deaf West; James Noone, Come Back, Little Sheba, Douglas; Craig Siebels, Tryst, Black Dahlia; Louisa Thompson, Fat Pig, Geffen; Klara Zieglerova, Jersey Boys, Ahmanson


Soojin Lee, Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings, Theatre @ Boston Court


RUNNERS-UP: Fontella Boone, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare Festival/ LA; Audrey Fisher, Tryst, Black Dahlia; Randy Gardell, Can-Can, Pasadena Playhouse; Jess Goldstein, Jersey Boys, Ahmanson; Alex Jaeger, Gilgamesh, Boston Court; Shon LeBlanc, Twentieth Century, Lillian; Soojin Lee, Man of La Mancha, Noise Within; Robert Prior, Bleed Rail, Boston Court; A. Jeffrey Schoenberg, Zanna, Don’t!, WCE; Paul Tazewell, The Color Purple, Ahmanson; Christina Wright, As You Like It, LAWSC


Christopher Kuhl, Moonlight, The Lost Studio


RUNNERS-UP: Leigh Allen, Bug, Coast Playhouse; Ken Booth, Man of La Mancha, A Noise Within; Howell Binkley, Jersey Boys, Ahmanson; Lap Chi-Chu, Fat Pig, Geffen; Heather Graff and Richard Peterson, Pyretown, Playwrights Arena; Donald Holder, Matter of Honor, Pasadena Playhouse; Jeremy Pivnik, Gilgamesh, Boston Court; Jeremy Pivnik, Krapp’s Last Tape / Zoo Story, Deaf West; Timothy Swiss, The Bacchae, Celebration; Steven Young, Beautiful Thing, Celebration; Steven Young, Paradise Lost, Boston Court


Martin Carrillo, Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings, Theatre @ Boston Court


RUNNERS-UP: Francois Bergeron, Can-Can, Pasadena Playhouse; Colbert S. Davis IV, Fat Pig, Geffen; Duncan Robert Edwards, “13,” Taper; John Gottlieb, George Gershwin Alone, Geffen Playhouse; Brian Hsieh, Atlanta, Geffen; Steve Canyon Kennedy, Jersey Boys, Ahmanson; Lindsay Jones, Bug, Coast Playhouse; Cricket Myers, The Bacchae, Celebration; Cricket Myers and Ryan Poulson, Beautiful Thing, Celebration; Colin Pink and John Gottlieb, The History Boys, Ahmanson; Darron L West, Yellow Face, Taper; John Zalewski, Bitch, Bootleg; John Zalewski, Bleed Rail, Boston Court; John Zalewski, Wildboy ’74, Bootleg


Lyn Gaza, Kirk Hanson, Michael Manning, Paradise Lost: Shadows and Wings, Theatre @ Boston Court


RUNNERS-UP: Mark Bringelson and Adam Soch, Bitch, Bootleg; Robert Lopez, Avenue Q, Ahmanson; Elaine J. McCarthy, Distracted, Taper; Austin Switser, Gilgamesh, Boston Court; Austin Switser and Ben Taylor, The History Boys, Ahmanson


  • The Amazing Jonathan, Sahara Hotel, Las Vegas;
  • Patrick Branstetter, Casey Sweeney, and Peter Musante, Blue Man Group,
  • Universal Studios, Orlando;
  • Corteo, Cirque du Soleil at the Forum;
  • Jeremy Lawrence, Everyone Expects Me to Write Another Streetcar, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, New Orleans;
  • The Hollywood Father/Daughter Purity Ball, Acapulco La Cienega;
  • Stomp Out Loud, Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas;
  • Spamalot, Wynn Hotel, Las Vegas


  • Koo Abuali, Dialect Coaching, Beautiful Thing, Celebration;
  • Molly Bernstein, James Eblen, David O, Chris Raymond, Charlie Rosen, and Nehemiah Williams, Band, “13,” Taper;
  • Paul Bisson, vocals, Corteo, Cirque du Soleil at the Forum;
  • Becca Coffman, Hair and Make-up, Paradise Lost, Boston Court;
  • Julia Flores, Casting, Paradise Lost, Boston Court;
  • Rick Lyon, Puppet Design, Avenue Q, Ahmanson


Darius Ever Truly, 1981-2007




The America Play, Theatre @ Boston Court


In the No-Wonder-Why-I-Don’t-Work-More Department: Spotting a familiar face in the lobby on an opening night at a local theatre, I spent the entire show trying to place how I knew this person. At the reception after the performance, it finally dawned on me who she was and I made my way through the crowd to blurt, “I just figured out how I know you! You sold me those great wool scarves at the gift shop next to the Tamarind last Christmas!” She smiled patiently and answered, “No, Travis, I’m April Webster.” Oy. April Webster is one of most respected casting directors (Lost, Criminal Minds, Alias, Mission Impossible III) in Los Angeles. Need I say more?

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TRAVIS MICHAEL HOLDER teaches acting and theatre/film history at the New York Film Academy’s west coast campus at Universal Studios. He has been writing about LA theatre since 1987, including 12 years for BackStage, a 23-year tenure as Theatre Editor for Entertainment Today, and currently for ArtsInLA.com. As an actor, he received the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Best Actor Award as Kenneth Halliwell in the west coast premiere of Nasty Little Secrets at Theatre/Theater and he has also been honored with a Drama-Logue Award as Lennie in Of Mice and Men at the Egyptian Arena, four Maddy Awards, a ReviewPlays.com Award, both NAACP and GLAAD Award nominations, and six acting nominations from LA Weekly. Regionally, he won the Inland Theatre League Award as Ken Talley in Fifth of July; three awards for his direction and performance as Dr. Dysart in Equus; was up for Washington, DC’s Helen Hayes honors as Oscar Wilde in the world premiere of Oscar & Speranza; toured as Amos “Mr. Cellophane” Hart in Chicago; and he has traveled three times to New Orleans for the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, opening the fest in 2003 as Williams himself in Lament for the Moths and since returning to appear in An Ode to Tennessee and opposite Karen Kondazian as A Witch and a Bitch. Never one to suffer from typecasting, Travis’ most recent LA performance, as Rodney in The Katrina Comedy Fest, netted the cast a Best Ensemble Sage Award from ArtsInLA. He has also been seen as Wynchell in the world premiere of Moby Pomerance’s The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder and Frank in Charles Mee’s Summertime at The Boston Court Performing Arts Center, Giuseppe “The Florist” Givola in Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui for Classical Theatre Lab, Ftatateeta in Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra at the Lillian, Cheswick in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the Rubicon in Ventura, Pete Dye in the world premiere of Stranger at the Bootleg (LA Weekly Award nomination), Shelly Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross at the Egyptian Arena, the Witch of Capri in Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore at the Fountain, and Dr. Van Helsing in The House of Besarab at the Hollywood American Legion Theatre. As a writer, he has also been a frequent contributor to several national magazines and five of his plays have been produced in LA. His first, Surprise Surprise, for which he wrote the screenplay with director Jerry Turner, became a feature film with Travis playing opposite John Brotherton, Luke Eberl, Deborah Shelton and Mary Jo Catlett. His first novel, Waiting for Walk, was completed in 2005, put in a desk drawer, and the ever-slothful, ever-deluded, ever-entitled Travis can’t figure out why no one has magically found it yet and published the goddam thing. www.travismichaelholder.com