Trav S.D. began producing his own plays in New York City in 1989. In 1995, he formalized his production company as Mountebanks, whose projects have included the American Vaudeville Theatre, the New American Lyceum, and his own plays and solo works for the stage.
Trav has also occasionally produced plays written by other hands, including the 1858 temperance melodrama Ten Nights in a Bar Room (2007, Waterfront Barge Museum), a stage adaptation of the 1965 Ed Wood stag film Orgy of the Dead (2001, Surf Reality)and the first ever revival of the Marx Brothers’ 1924 Broadway hit I’ll Say She Is, a sold out hit of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival.
Trav S.D.’s plays, often featuring his own original music, mix elements of classicism, camp, the Ridiculous, vaudeville, burlesque, history and Americana. He has adapted works by Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Artemus Ward and P.T. Barnum for the stage, re-imagined plays by Plautus, Terence, Menander and Shakespeare, and turned out original parodies of Poe, Whitman, Lovecraft, Beckett, Brecht, and the diaries of Christopher Columbus.
Of his non self-produced plays, the best known are Horse Play, or the Fickle Mistress (2015), a camp biography of Adah Isaacs Menken produced by Theatre Askew at La Mama featuring Everett Quinton and Molly Pope; and Willy Nilly, a rock musical parody of Helter Skelter produced by Piper McKenzie Productions, which was a sold-out and extended hit of the 2009 NY International Fringe Festival. His plays have also been produced by Metropolitan Playhouse, Dysfunctional Theatre Company, DM Theatrics, and, regionally and internationally at Greenwich Playhouse (London), Portland Stage Company, Trinity Rep Conservatory (Providence), Flippin’ Bricks (Minneapolis), the Vortex Theater (Austin), Spirit Wind Performance Space (Philadelphia), and Hibbing Community College (Minnesota), et al.
As a playwright he has received the support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust, and the MacDowell and Edward F. Albee Colonies. His plays have been published by Smith & Kraus and the New York Theatre Experience. Several of them are available here.
Solo Theatre/ Performance Art
Trav S.D.’s solo theatre works include Misshapen Jack, the Nebraskan Hunchback (a hit of the 1998 NYC International Fringe Festival, featured twice in the New York Times); Nihils: The Negation of Everything (the Brick’s Pretentious Festival, 2007); Tall Tales and Counterfeit Codices (Dixon Place, 2010), and The Art of Money Getting (UTC #61’s Money Lab at HERE Arts Center, 2015). His monologue Strega Nona, starring Sarah Engelke, was presented at La Mama in 2011.
Trav S.D. frequently plays the principal roles in his own works, but he has also acted in the premieres of plays by Vaclav Havel (Guardian Angel, Havel Festival 2006), Paula Vogel (Hot and Throbbing, McDowell Colony workshop, 1995), William Peter Blatty (Exorcists Five, Demons Nothing, Brick Theatre workshop, 2008), and Howard Korder (Wonderful Party, Manhattan Punchline, 1989). In 2010, he created the role of Buster Friendly in Untitled Theater Company #61’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep? He was also thrilled to play William Randolph Hearst in Third Low’s serial Penny Dreadful at the Brick Theatre in 2008 and 2009.
Trav S.D. has directed his own plays, solo works and vaudeville shows in New York since 1989, but in recent years has been in demand to direct the works of others. These have included the Angie Pontani burlesque revue Burlesque-a-pades (2012, Soho Playhouse), Noah Diamond’s revival of the Marx Brothers show I’ll Say She Is (2014, NY International Fringe Festival), and Dick Zigun’s Dead End Dummy (2014, Coney Island USA and La Mama).
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