Trav S.D.

Trav S. D.
Born Donald Travis Stewart
(1965-11-08) November 8, 1965
Occupation Stage actor, director, journalist, author

Donald Travis Stewart (aka Trav S.D.) (born 8 November 1965) is a leading figure in the New Vaudeville and Indie Theater movements, an author, journalist, playwright and stage performer.


Originally from Rhode Island, he started out as a stand-up comedian[1] and studied at Trinity Rep Conservatory in Providence before moving to New York City in 1988 to self-produce and perform in his own plays. In 1990 he worked as a personal and administrative assistant to the singer Tony Bennett. Following two years in the development office of the Big Apple Circus in 1995, he founded his company Mountebanks, a platform for producing original theatre pieces and vaudeville shows. He first began to attract notice in 1998[2][3] as one of a number of Lower East Side “performance comedians” colloquially known as Art Stars, working at alternative night clubs and theatres such as Surf Reality, Collective Unconscious, Todo Con Nada and The Present Company’s now defunct Theatorium.[4] In 2001, he was featured in an Adam Gopnik article for The New Yorker[5] about New Burlesque.


In 1999, he began publishing regular features and reviews in the Village Voice, Time Out New York, and American Theatre(where he was an Affiliated Writing Fellow in 2001, leading the magazine’s 9-11 coverage). In 2000, he became the first contributing reviewer, after editor Martin Denton, to; where he also hosted dozens of podcasts (and two public access television specials), interviewing 250 indie theatre artists between 2006 and 2009. Since 2009, he has been a regular columnist and contributor to the Community Media family of papers, publishers of The Villager, Downtown Express, Chelsea Now and Gay City News. Artists he has interviewed have included: Amy Poehler, Penn & Teller, Margaret Cho, Jules Feiffer, Mink Stole, Bill Irwin, Harry Anderson, Jay Johnson, Rose Marie, Andy Borowitz, David Ives, Ralph Bronner (of Dr. Bronner’s soaps) Uncle Floyd Vivino, Loudon Wainwright III, Judith Malina, Penny Arcade and dozens of other unique American characters. He has also written for the New York Times, New York Sun, and Reason.


His first book No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, released by Faber and Faber in 2005, was hailed by Margo Jefferson in The New York Times[6] as “a book that sharpens the mind and stirs the heart”. The book grew out of his long experience as a vaudeville booker and host at such New York venues as The Players Club, 45 Bleeker, Soho Playhouse, Theater for the New City, the New-York Historical Society, Coney Island USA, and Galapagos, where he presented hundreds of performers, including Will Jordan, Joe Franklin, Dirty Martini, the World Famous Pontani Sisters, Todd Robbins, Jennifer Miller, Lizzie West, Reverend Billy, Rev Jen Miller, and the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.

The book led to the creation of the arts and culture blog Travalanche in 2008, which features biographies of vaudeville, burlesque, circus, sideshow and other variety arts performers and professionals, as well as related news, reviews, and commentary.

Trav S.D.'s second book "Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube" was released by Bear Manor Media in 2008.

Playwright/Dramatic Stage

Trav S.D.'s original satiric plays have been produced at Joe's Pub, Actors Playhouse, Dixon Place, Metropolitan Playhouse, Theater for the New City, The Brick Theater, La Mama, and HERE Arts Center. Of this, his best known is "Willy Nilly", a rock musical inspired by the Manson Family, which was an extended hit of the 2009 New York International Fringe Festival. He has been the winner of the MacDowell, Edward F. Albee and Geraldine R. Dodge Fellowships for his playwriting.

As a stage actor he co-starred in the 2006 American premiere of Vaclav Havel's "Guardian Angel" and in Edward Einhorn's 2010 adaptation of Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", among numerous other roles.

In 2014, he directed and produced the first-ever revival of the Marx Brothers' musical I'll Say She Is, in the New York International Fringe Festival. He also appeared in the production in the role of the Detective. Noah Diamond, who appeared in the role of Groucho, adapted the book and lyrics.[7]


Trav S.D. has been immortalized in caricatures by several prominent artists, including Jerry Robinson (the graphic creator of the Batman villain “the Joker”), Tony Millionaire, Molly Crabapple, and Robert Sikoryak.

He continues to lecture and perform around the country, and since 2006 has been the host of Indie Theatre Now!, an audio podcast produced by the New York Theatre Experience.


Stewart is distantly related on his maternal grandmother’s side to the children’s book illustrator Harrison Cady.

From 1993 to 2002 he was married to Susan Monagan, an arts administrator and daughter of Congressman John S. Monagan. He continues to devote much time to his two children, Cashel and Charlie Stewart, born in 1995 and 1998, respectively. He dedicated his book, "No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous", to them.


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  2. THEATER REVIEW; Sometimes Delightful, Never Easy: It's Fringe
  3. SUNDAY, AUGUST 9, 1998: THEATER; No Chickens Will Be Harmed
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  5. CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK; Some Books Are Worth Giving; Some Books Are Also Worth Keeping
  6. Denton, Martin. "Review: I'll Say She Is". NY Theater Now.
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