Annual Ticket Holder Awards 2017 Part I

Travis Michael Holder - Ticket Holders LA

Writer, Registered Critic

As I begin the first year of my fourth decade obsessing over such an unprofitable madness as supporting, defending, and creating art in a town where such noble efforts are hardly appreciated at all, I humbly offer, for the 26th time, my choices for the best work done this year in our poor maligned desert climes by our stalwart little theatrical community despite everything we do and why we do it being thwarted and dismantled by a union with which I was affiliated for six-and-a-half decades. For many years, at the end of every bio, I would proclaim to be a “proud member of Actors Equity Association.” Now, I'm about as proud of AEA as Meryl Streep must be watching the clip of her awards speech referring to Harvey Weinstein as a god.

So, it seems to have been the Year of the Director in El Lay, if my awards reflect the season and the small percentage of shows any reviewer here can possibly devour. So many amazing creations, such an abundance of talent energizing our stages in 2017 despite AEA's greed-based efforts to stifle our voices.

You'll notice the elephant in the room right away, I'll bet--or should I say Founding Father Not in the House. In the Troubie's hilariously topical How the Princh Stole Christmas, creator Matt Walker's tiny-handed humbuggy purple title character first notes that the rhyming in their reinvented Prince lyrics sounds like the score from Hamilton, but than he tosses that comparison aside with, "Why are we referencing Hamilton when nobody's seen it?"

From everything I've heard or listened to, I'm purdy durn sure Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical phenomenon would indeed be high on my list of winners this year but, yes, despite the long-running engagement here at the Pantages this year, I haven't seen it either. The producers decided besides the Times and the Daily News, they didn't need the B-list press to sell their massive hit show, I guess, cuzzin' I tweren't invited and I'm way too cheap--or spoiled after 31 comped years as a reviewer--to pay $500 to $1,500 a ticket to see anything except the live execution of Donald Trump on CNN.

So I guess I'll wait until it returns here next time when us secondary critics will be invited. Shit, at age 71, it gives me something to live for, ya know?

My 26th annual TicketHolder Awards are now posted on my TicketHoldersLA website in two parts. You can read it below and click on my site for more photos.


1. STUPID KID, Road Theatre Company
2. THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
3. LES BLANCS, Rogue Machine at the Met
4. THE HOUSE IN SCARSDALE, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
5. THE PRIDE, Wallis Annenburg Center for the Performing Arts
6. ROTTERDAM, Skylight Theatre Company
7. KING CHARLES III, Pasadena Playhouse
8. KISS, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
9. WALKING TO BUCHENWALD, Open Fist Theatre Company
10. NICKY, Coeurage Theatre Company

RUNNERS-UP: Archduke, CTG/Mark Taper Forum; At Home at the Zoo, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts; Billy Boy, Playwrights' Arena at Atwater Village Theatre; Blackbird, Grove Theater Center; Blackbird, LA LGBT Center; The Cake, Echo Theatre Company; Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight, Coeurage Theatre Company; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecological Oncology Unit at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City, Geffen Playhouse; Resolving Hedda, Victory Theatre Center

1. CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, Antaeus Theatre Company
2. NEXT TO NORMAL, East West Players
3. DIE, MOMMIE, DIE!, Celebration Theatre
4. ZOOT SUIT, Center Theatre Group, Mark Taper Forum
5. ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

1. FUN HOME, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
2. SOMETHING ROTTEN!, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
4. MATTHEW BOURNE'S EARLY ADVENTURES, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
5. THE RED SHOES, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
6. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, Pantages Theatre
7. BRIGHT STAR, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre
8. FINDING NEVERLAND, Pantages Theatre
9. HOW THE PRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, Troubadour Theatre Company
10. OUR GREAT TCHAIKOVSKY, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

LUZIA, Cirque du Soleil at Dodger Stadium

TRAVIS MICHAEL HOLDER is Opinionatedasswipe-in-Chief for the new handydandy arts-oriented website 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 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