Archive for the My Shows Category

This Friday: A Piece of My Rat Opera at “Opera on Tap”

Posted in Classical, ME, Music, My Shows, PLUGS with tags , , , , , on February 1, 2017 by travsd


This Friday, February 3 at 8pm, at Barbes in Park Slope, Opera on Tap will be showcasing a small section of Curse of the Rat-King, the opera-in-progress I’m developing with David Mallamud (with direction by Beth Greenberg). It’s part of their New Brew Series, 15-Day Hangover Edition. Also on the bill, world premieres by Daniel Felsenfeld and James Barry/Tim Braun. This program will include special guests Jenny Lee Mitchell and Maria Dessena.

Featuring Opera on Tap company members: Anne Hiatt, David Gordon, Kamala Sankaram, Sara Noble, Cameron Russell, Krista Wozniak, Seth Gilman & Christopher Berg. 

$10 suggested donation. Barbes is at 376 Ninth Street, Brooklyn. See you there, I hope!

2016 Wrap-Up

Posted in ME, My Shows, New Year's Eve with tags on January 1, 2017 by travsd

Happy New Year! Below, our annual pictorial recap of the year that was, here in Travyland. And boy would I like to turn the clock back a year!



Was thrilled to be on the very first episode of Jennifer Harder’s Radio Free Brooklyn show Blonde Thunder Presents. Hear it here. 



AVT 20th anniversary show and benefit show for I’ll Say She Is at the Slipper Room. More here.


Premiere of Derek Davidson’s film Moving Pictures., in which I played a small role


Launch of my new web site What? You’ve never seen it? Well, we opened soft, as they say in the business, but Noah Diamond did a beautiful job on its design, and it’s a useful place for me to point folks to. Please check it out!

Gimme a Thrill, Noah Diamond’s book on the history of I’ll Say She Is n which I am generously featured, is released. 

May/ June:


I’ll Say She Is revival (of which I was one of the co-producers) at the Connelly Theatre


In July, we profiled our 1,000th vaudevillian in our Stars of Vaudeville series here on Travalanche


Windows on the Bowery launch event at Cooper Union. I contributed text to some of the historical markers that were hung as part of this project, organized by the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors

with Brian Gari, Eddie Cantor's grandson at launch event for "Windows on the Bowery"

with Brian Gari, Eddie Cantor’s grandson at launch event for “Windows on the Bowery”


w/ Charli Ouda in "The Iron Heel", South Oxford Space

w/ Charli Ouda in “The Iron Heel”, South Oxford Space

July through September I acted (and played banjo) in UTC #61’s revival of Jack London’s The Iron Heel (July through September)



Married the Mad Marchioness, Part One!



with Dr. Lisa

A guest on the Radio Free Brooklyn program Dr. Lisa Gives a Sh*t. Listen to it here.


A guest on the Between the Liner Notes podcast with Matthew Billy. Listen to it here. 


with Killy Dwyer, officiant

Married the Mad Marchioness, Part Two (Slipper Room vaudeville show). Full spread here. 



L-R, Lauren Milberger, Trav S.D., Kita St. Cyr, Glen Heroy

Fields Fest: We presented our adaptation W.C. Fields for President at the Lambs. 


I appeared as the Narrator in Peculiar Works’ Project’s presentation of America’s oldest play Androboros


Appeared on Rachel Cleary’s Radio Free Brooklyn program Hear and Now to talk about Fields Fest


Fields Fest: Times Square History Walk with Kevin Fitzpatrick and appearance on web tv program Classic Movies and More


with Dr. Harriet Fields, WC Fields’ only grandaughter

Fields Fest: Screening of The Bank Dick at the Cinema Arts Center

with Austin Pendleton following his Christmas show at Pangea

With Austin Pendleton following his Christmas show at Pangea


Fields Fest: Trav speaks at NYPL on WC Fields and Vaudeville


Fields Fest: Trav speaks at Greater Astoria Historical Society on W.C. Fields silent movies for Paramount


Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at the Kraine Theatre



Presentation of Man on the Flying Trapeze at Metrograph

In addition, we are especially proud of improvements we have made to Travalanche this year, broadening and deepening the content, adding pieces on politics, society, American history, and some memoir. At the same time, we have not abandoned our usual content streams of vaudeville, classic comedy, show biz, etc.

There are (were) big plans on all fronts for 2017. Typically we announce such things at this time, but because of political developments (and some personal ones) we prefer not to announce anything specific, at least for the nonce. Instead I will simply thank you for your interest and support over the past year, and wish you a safe and healthy twelvemonth to come.



“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” in Pictures

Posted in Christmas, Indie Theatre, ME, My Shows with tags , on December 23, 2016 by travsd

We had a quiet milestone earlier this week, and I was happy to get to share it with the people who were there. We presented a semi-staged reading of our holiday (play? radio play? screenplay?) Santa Claus Conquers the Martians at the Kraine Theatre with the stars Glen Heroy, Noah Diamond, Matt Roper, Melody Jane, Kathy Biehl, Zero Boy, Jennifer Harder, Bob Greenberg, Jonathan Smith, Robert Pinnock and Bill Weeden. (And the likeness and taxi horn of Seth Shelden)

The idea to take this old script of mine out of mothballs emerged when I realized, when working with Glen Heroy on W.C. Fields for President, that playing Santa Claus at Christmastime was also a major part of Glen’s life and career. You see, my script (begun decades earlier) had W.C. Fields as Santa Claus at its center! Furthermore, the script also features the Marx Brothers as characters; having recently worked with inspired Marx Brothers impressionists on I’ll Say Say She Is added fuel to the flame, as did recently working on Jack London’s The Iron Heel (my script has several Yukon touches, as well as some nods to communist agit-prop). The script also borrows from March of the Wooden Soldiers — and I realized I knew two professional Laurel and Hardy impersonators. It all pointed to doing a presentation of this script.

And there are other reasons. I feel like I am a bend in the road of sorts, as perhaps we all are. I hit a major birthday milestone recently, I married the love of my life, both parents have now passed away, my kids are grown, it’s winter solstice, a new year approaches and THE WORLD SEEMS POISED TO DESCEND INTO A NEW DARK AGES.  All this adds up to my feeling I have reached the end of a rather long chapter of my own self-definition. And perhaps no one but me will quite notice the difference.  I am calling Wednesday’s presentation “my last (self-produced, downtown) show”. Meaning the end of this mental construct, always more an idea than a reality, of myself as indie theatre company. Probably as far as most people were concerned, that had already ended a long time ago. April, 2015 was my last previous such presentation.

I’m not going anywhere, precisely — not retiring, just changing how I do things. Venues, partners, working methods, where and how I concentrate my efforts, all that sort of thing. Lately, I have been paid to act, for example. I hope to do a lot more of that. I like writing best of all, so I hope to do much, much more of that. I have interest by agents and publishers in three books, an off-Broadway company is planning a reading of one of my plays, and I am talking to an independent producer about writing his screenplay. And 2017 is full of centennial show biz milestones which I hope to observe in one way or another (talks, variety shows, blogs). I have an idea for a podcast; and a solo show I’m working on. And a thread through all of this is the political situation: how to reflect it, fight it, comment on it. (More on some of these plans to come in our New Year’s Message). But I’m setting my sights higher as to platforms and to mechanisms. And I can’t wear all the hats any more. Self-producing and directing in particular make me miserable; total independence comes at the cost of tooth-grinding and agida.

So this vehicle Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, with its recapitulation of many elements of my past, was kind of a perfect kiss-off. It was a reworking of one of the first scripts I ever wrote (suggested obviously by the eponymous movie, which happens to be a favorite of mine). And I was deliriously happy to have by my side Robert Pinnock, who has been with me through much of my folly, almost from the beginning. And it was perfect to have it at the Kraine Theatre, which was part of the indie theatre community BEFORE there was an indie theatre community, when it was quite a nascent thing in the 1980s.

At any rate, I promised pictures in the title, and all I have given is words! Here come the pictures, taken by myself, cast members, and audience members, whom I hope will forgive my pilfering of their online postings:


Glen Heroy

Glen Heroy


Stage manager Sarah Lahue, Matt Roper, Noah Diamond

Stage manager Sarah Lahue, Matt Roper, Noah Diamond


Zero Boy

Zero Boy


Jonathan Smith

Jonathan Smith


Bob Greenberg

Bob Greenberg



Heroy and Jennifer Harder

Heroy and Jennifer Harder


Robert Pinnock, Trav S.D., Bill Weeden

Robert Pinnock, Trav S.D., Bill Weeden


Pinnock and Kathy Biehl

Pinnock and Kathy Biehl


Greenberg and Melody Jane

Greenberg and Melody Jane


Harder and Biehl

Harder and Biehl


The three ladies of the show: Biehl, Melody Jane, Jennifer Harder

The three ladies of the show: Biehl, Melody Jane, Jennifer Harder



Seth Shelden by proxy

Seth Shelden by proxy


Heroy, Diamond, Roper

Heroy, Diamond, Roper


Trav S.D. and Pinnock, as (I guess) Galileo's idea of martians

Trav S.D. and Pinnock, as (I guess) Galileo’s idea of martians


Smith and Greenberg

Smith and Greenberg


Zero Boy

Zero Boy


Melody Jane as Princess Peewee

Melody Jane as Princess Peewee


Trav shakes his evil fist

Trav shakes his evil fist


Biehl sings "Silver and Gold"

Biehl sings “Silver and Gold”


Weeden rocks the UFO, courtesy Noah Diamond, designer

Weeden rocks the UFO, courtesy Noah Diamond, designer


Harder plays "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"

Harder plays “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”




This Week: An All Star Cast in Trav S.D.’s “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”

Posted in Indie Theatre, ME, My Shows, PLUGS with tags , , , on December 18, 2016 by travsd

Art: Carolyn Stewart

Wednesday, December 21, 7pm  at the Kraine Theatre: $10

MELODY JANE as a the beauitful PRINCESS PEE WEE!
BILL WEEDEN as the Toymaker
ZERO BOY on sound effects and narration!
SARAH LAHUE your stage manager!

And many, many more TBA in this holiday reading of Trav S.D.’s mash-up up of the kitchy Grade Z Christmas classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, along with LAUREL AND HARDY’s Babes in Toyland a.k.a March of the Wooden Soldiers, Rankin-Bass specials, and tales of JACK LONDON! Can Elves and Bogeymen truly band together to thwart the hostile take-over of Earth by an Orange Faced Oligarch from Outer Space? Beats me, you sure won’t find out in this play! Plus music and variety TBD! Please come help us seriously cut loose and exorcise this terrible year. More intoxicating than a cup of cocoa with a shot of Peppermint Schnapps!


1. All things remaining the same, it will probably be my last self-produced show

2. It may well be the last chance to see the cast of “I’ll Say She Is” in their characters before they become big Broadway or off-Broadway stars and tickets to see them will cost ten times as much

3. It’s your last chance to see Glen Heroy as WC Fields

4. It will be one of the last shows you’ll see before darkness descends on the world

5. The show is kind of about that

6. It’s also really funny

7. There will be free refreshments

8. It only costs $10

9. It’s festive. Help us celebrate the holidays before the world ends. We want to see you.

It’s all happening at the Kraine Theatre, East 4th Street, Tickets $10: Get ’em here.

Yesterday’s W.C. Fields Talk in Astoria, Queens

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, Hollywood (History), ME, Movies, My Shows, Silent Film, W.C. Fields with tags , , , , on December 11, 2016 by travsd
I love this one -- looks like I want to murder an audience member. yet this was one of those rare occasions when I didn't (want to do that)

I love this one — it looks like I want to murder an audience member. Yet this was one of those rare occasions when I didn’t (want to do that). Photo by DeeAnne Gorman.

We had a delightful afternoon yesterday addressing our friends at the Greater Astoria Historical Society on the subject of W.C. Fields silent film features. This was our third or fourth talk at the GAHS I think, and I’ve grown to love the warm, small-town feeling of the place. They have terrific collections and lectures — if you live anywhere nearby it’s well worth a visit. Board Member Bob Singleton showed me their latest major acquisition — a 19th century Steinway piano. (The Steinway factory is nearby, it’s a major part of the history of the area). Here, I am looking just a hair friendlier during the Q & A:

Photo by Bruce Shaffer

Photo by Bruce Shaffer

The talk was part of Fields Fest, our two-month tribute to the great comedian W.C. Fields. We’ll be posting the text of my talk here in a few days. Don’t miss our next entertaining lecture W.C. Fields: From Dime Museums to the Jazz Age, which is tomorrow at the Morbid Anatomy Museum! All the details here. 

This Monday: A Talk at the Morbid Anatomy Museum

Posted in Broadway, Comedians, Comedy, Dime Museum and Side Show, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, Jugglers, ME, My Shows, PLUGS, Vaudeville etc., W.C. Fields with tags , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2016 by travsd


Monday, December 12, 7pm: “W.C. Fields: From Dime Museums to the Jazz Age” an illustrated talk by Trav S.D., sponsored by Zelda Magazine 

A look at screen comedian W.C. Fields’ growth from humble sideshow and dime museum juggler to sketch comedian and one of the biggest stars of sophisticated Broadway revues like the Ziegfeld Follies, George White’ Sandals and Earl Carrol’s Vanities. Along the way meet the glittering stars he shared the limelight with like Louise Brooks, Fanny Brice, Will Rogers and Eddie Cantor. Admission: $8. Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn NY. Tickets and information here. 

Tomorrow: W.C. Fields in Astoria!

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, EXHIBITIONS & LECTURES, Hollywood (History), Movies, My Shows, PLUGS, Silent Film, W.C. Fields with tags , , , on December 9, 2016 by travsd
"Sally of the Sawdust" (1925)

“Sally of the Sawdust” (1925)

Saturday, December 10, 1:30pm: “W.C. Fields in Astoria: The Paramount Silents”

Many people know that W.C. Fields had one of the most distinctive speaking voices of the classic comedy era. What they may not realize is that prior to the advent of talking pictures, Fields was a SILENT comedy star. From 1924 through 1928 he appeared in ten Paramount features filmed at that studio’s Astoria Queens facility. In this illustrated talk author and lecturer Trav S.D. takes you up close to this lesser known stretch of the Great Man’s career, and shows how much of Fields’ silent work presaged his better known talkies.

At Greater Astoria Historical Society, the Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor, Queens:

%d bloggers like this: