Travis Michael Holder

Travis was once referred to as a Renaissance man for the number of pies into which he has placed his pudgy fingers, but he insists the illusion is just an imaginative version of the dastardly game of survival: always passing Go, winning an occasional hotel on Boardwalk, but never collecting the fucking $200.

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Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Best Actor Award-winning actor/playwright Travis Michael Holder plays a leading role in the feature film he co-wrote based on his hit play Surprise Surprise. The Ariztical Entertainment release was referred to as a "sleeper" hit on Netflix, was deemed third of Here! Channel's Top Five Films, and has been awarded four-and-a-half stars (out of five) at Surprise Surprise originally debuted onstage to critical acclaim at the Victory Theatre Center in Burbank, California, featuring Holder opposite Gilligan’s Island rescuee Dawn Wells. The Los Angeles Daily News called Surprise Surprise:  "A cogent human drama with strong, likable characters…intelligent humor and a series of conflicts that present a discerning commentary about what people need from each other… Sensitive without being phony or maudlin, Surprise, Surprise scores first and foremost for what it’s about: respect, the need to belong and the incalculable importance of reaching out to other human beings in distress."


The feature film version is produced, co-adapted and directed by Surprise Surprise original castmember Jerry Turner and stars Holder along with John Brotherton (The Conjuring, Fast and Furious 7, One Life to Live), former Miss USA Deborah Shelton(Mandy Winger on Dallas, Gloria Revelle in Body Double), Luke Eberl (Sam in Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima, Birn in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes), and the illustrious Mary Jo Catlett (Pearl on Diff'rent Strokes, Sponge Bob's Mrs. Puff, Mabel in Pajama Game and the original Ernestina in Hello Dolly! on Broadway).

For more information about Surprise Surprise and to view the handydandy official trailer, check out: (click on "In Production," then "Trailer").  There are also four short clips from the movie on the longer Performance Reel posted elsewhere on this site.




Travis Michael Holder last appeared onstage at the Lounge and Fountain Theatres in Hollywood opposite Deidrie Henry, Jan Monroe, Judy Jean Burns, and L. Trey Wilson as five survivors of Hurricane Katrina in the west coast premeiere of Rob Florence's award-winning New Orleans and New York City hit play The Katrina Comedy Fest, the production winning major acclaim and a Sage Award as Best Ensemble Cast from Arts in LA.

The previous year, he appeared in the world premiere of Steve Julian's Altarcations at the Actors Circle Theatre. Excited about playing opposite his 19-year-old former New York Film Academy acting student Drew Hellenthal, who made his professional stage debut in the project, L.A. Weekly said of the performance: "Worth the price of admission alone is the astonishing Travis Michael Holder as the brandy-soaked Bishop."

Before that, Holder last appeared in the world premiere of British
wünderkind Moby Pomerance's The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder, directed by John Langs at the prestigious Boston Court Performing Arts Center in Pasadena, a co-production between T@BC and the unstoppable Circle X Theatre Company -- both of whom Holder has had the privilege to work with before, appearing as Frank in the west coast premiere of Charles Mee's Summertime at T@BC and as the Archbishop in Brecht's Edward II for Circle X at the Actor's Gang.

After dying ninety-nine times as Pete Dye, crusty frontier undertaker in the world premiere of Keythe "Batboy the Musical" Farley and Eva "Eddie Legs" Anderson's bloody-good spaghetti western rock musical Stranger at the Bootleg near downtown LA (nominated for five LA Weekly Awards, including Best  Comedy Ensemble), Holder spent several months appearing as Van Helsing in the world premiere ofThe House of Besarab, a fascinating environmental adaptation of the Dracula legend at one of LA's most significant cultural monuments, the Hollywood American Legion on Highland near the Hollywood Bowl, an historic 33,000-sq.ft. Egyptian Revival-Moroccan Deco masterpiece built in 1929 and the place where the similarly site-specific Tamara put 240 Equity actors to work for an unprecedented 11 years. 


"The role of Dr. Van Helsing is tricky -- to some degree he exists to deliver exposition about Dracula's powers and how to defeat them, setting up the supernatural ground rules of the play -- but Travis Michael Holder is equal to the challenge, seizing on the character's uncertainty and making his bravery more notable."  -- Terry Morgan, Daily Variety  



"As that notorious vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing, Travis Michael Holder is absolutely faultless in the role and is the heart of The House of Besarab. His inclusion is brilliant casting and Holder's constant commitment to the reality of the play, while keeping his performance tongue-in-cheek and finding ways to pay whimsical homage back to a performance by Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee in some 1950s Hammer Films B-movie, gives the evening a solidity it would not have otherwise. This is yet another excellent character from one of Los Angeles' finest craftsmen. The fact is, he steals the show."  -- Richard L. Dyer, Entertainment Today 


 "The often obsessive and fixated Van Helsing is brought to immense life by the dynamic Travis Michael Holder, who has been away from the boards much too long. Holder gives us a picture of a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal." -- Jose Ruiz, Review

"Elegantly creepy! A perfect blend of the erotic, romantic, and gothic! The pop-culture plague of vampiric films and TV morphs into a refreshing stage presentation, as theatergoers are invited to the sumptuous confines of the Hollywood American Legion for this take on the legend of Dracula. Travis Michael Holder is tops as the effete but appropriately wary Van Helsing." -- Brad Schreiber, Back Stage   


 "The ensemble is superb. Travis Michael Holder uses chilling restraint in his portrayal of Dr. Van Helsing. It is easy to go over the top with this role, as Van Helsing is Dracula's foremost enemy, but Holder maintains a perfect balance of strength and fright." -- Don Grigware, Broadway World



The previous spring, fellow LA Drama Critics Circle Award-winning actors Travis Michael Holder and Karen Kondazian performed to sold out houses in A Witch and a Bitch at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in N'awlins' French Quarter as part of New Orleans' 22nd annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, reprising their performances in the Ovation Award-winning revival of Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore at LA's Fountain Theatre.
Each performance was followed by a question-and-answer discussion about Holder and Kondazian's personal experiences knowing and working with Williams. Holder has appeared twice previously at TennFest, first playing Williams himself in Lament for the Moths at the 17th annual spring festival and then joining Williams scholar Dr. Kenneth Holditch and a gaggle of celebrity readers at the 21st yearly event for An Ode to Tennessee.

I was once told by a famous casting director at a major studio that my problem was that I could "look too many different ways." As long as I am still a resident of this silly planet involuntarily revolving around the sun, that's one critique of my work as an actor I'll never be able to comprehend.

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