S.D., Trav 1965–
S.D., Trav 1965–
PERSONAL: Born 1965. Education: Trinity Repertory Theatrical Conservatory, graduate, 1988; attended New York University film school.
ADDRESSES: Home—650 Leonard St., Brooklyn, NY 11222.
No Applause—Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, Faber & Faber (New York, NY), 2005.
Also author of play, House of Trash, included in Plays and Playwrights 2001. Contributor to periodicals, including Village Voice, Time Out New York, and American Theatre.
SIDELIGHTS: In No Applause—Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, Trav S.D. chronicles the history of vaudeville and its performers, who included dancers, jugglers, singers, comedians, contortionists, and animal acts. Acts were often bizarre, and as Trav S.D. notes, included a man who recited Shakespeare as he played his banjo, a trapeze artist who dressed in drag, and a one-legged tap dancer. Vaudeville replaced a more raucous form of American theater that was notable for the hard-drinking, brawling audiences that frequented the saloons and honky-tonks where it was performed. Trav S.D. notes that until 1932, vaudeville was show business in America and that it reached the masses, both urban and rural, from Canada to the Deep South. Trav S.D., who is himself a performer, notes the place of vaudeville in the culture of America, demonstrates how every contemporary form of entertainment has been influenced by it, and comments on vaudeville performers who crossed over to appear in Hollywood films and in Broadway plays.
Vaudeville survived its harshest critics, and several of its star performers made the transition to television. These included the Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, Bob Hope, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Fred Astaire, and Buster Keaton. Milton Berle once commented that vaudeville was dead, and "TV was the box they buried it in." Jewish performers were the largest ethnic group in vaudeville, and Jewish songwriters, including Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Richard Rogers, and Jerome Kern, got their start creating music for vaudeville. Washington Post contributor Jonathan Yardley wrote that "they left an impression on popular culture so deep and broad as to defy measurement."
A Kirkus Reviews reviewer described No Applause—Just Throw Money as being "an astonishingly rich work of vaudeville itself." Library Journal contributor Barry X. Miller called it "one of the year's best historical performing arts texts; a wonderful story wonderfully told."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 15, 2005, Jack Helbig, review of No Applause—Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, p. 18.
Entertainment Weekly, November 18, 2005, Tim Purtell, review of No Applause—Just Throw Money, p. 138.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of No Applause—Just Throw Money, p. 964.
Library Journal, September 15, 2005, Barry X. Miller, review of No Applause—Just Throw Money, p. 67.
New Yorker, November 21, 2005, review of No Applause—Just Throw Money, p. 97.
Publishers Weekly, August 15, 2005, review of No Applause—Just Throw Money, p. 45.
Washington Post, November 8, 2005, Jonathan Yardley, review of No Applause—Just Throw Money, p. C2.