Coming Up

Accordion fight
M.C. Trav breaks up an accordion battle between Juliet Jeske and Sarah Melinda Engelke
at the American Vaudeville Theatre's 15th Anniversary ExTRAVaganza in the 2011
New York International Fringe Festival. Photo by Jim Moore.


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.

Produced, directed and hosted by Trav S.D., the American Vaudeville Theater has presented hundreds of New York’s top vaudeville, circus and burlesque acts over the past 20 years, including Todd Robbins (True Nightmares, Carnival Knowledge), Jennifer Miller (Circus Amok), the Flying Karamazov Brothers, Dirty Martini, World Famous Bob, Sammy Tramp, Chris McDaniel, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Lady Rizo, Johnny Fox, Carla Rhodes, Howard Fishman, Bastard Keith, Zero Boy, Miss Bonnie Dunn, and scores of others. The AVT began presenting burlesque acts in 1998, making it one of the earliest platforms in the current burlesque revival.

The American Vaudeville Theatre has been presented at the Players Club, 45 Bleecker, Galapagos, NY International Fringe Festival, NY Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), Coney Island USA, Theater for the New City, Dixon Place, Bowery Poetry Club, New-York Historical Society, the Duplex, Surf Reality, etc, et al.

Mountebanks also produces Trav S.D.’s plays, often starring himself and featuring his own original music (more on the plays below). Notable productions have included the noir radio show Cold Fire (Joe’s Pub, 2006 -- a Village Voice “Voice Choice”); the mermaid-themed Sea of Love featuring the choreography of Julie Atlas Muz (Ohio Theatre, 2002); the country-folk musical House of Trash (a hit of the 2000 New York International Fringe Festival and subsequently published in various anthologies); the Berlin “twin farce” Kitsch, or Two for the Price of One (Theater for the New City, 2009); and a bill of one acts at La Mama in 2011 that included the voodoo/ blues themed Universal Rundle and the sideshow-inspired The Strange Case of Grippo the Ape Man.

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. was co-producer with Timothy Haskell for the first two years (2004-2005) of Nightmare, NYC’s premier Halloween Haunted House attraction. He has also worked in marketing, p.r. and development for Tony Bennett Enterprises, Big Apple Circus, Theater for the New City, New-York Historical Society, Coney Island USA, the Theatre Museum, and Brooklyn Community Access Television.

Preacher Bob
Trav as Preacher Bob Maggott in Trav S.D.'s House of Trash, in the 2000
New York International Fringe Festival. Photo by Charlotte Savage.


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.

Mark St. Cyr, Everett Quinton, and Molly Pope in Horse Play, or The
Fickle Mistress
, produced by Theatre Askew at La Mama, 2015

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.

I'll Say She Is rehearsal, 2014
Trav directs the first revival of the Marx Brothers' I'll Say She Is, FringeNYC 2014


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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