Concertgoers won’t see Travis Moser riding a tractor at the Hoyt.
But, the 2001 Laurel High School graduate will perform his “lawnmower mix” there tonight.
The music harkens back to the times when the teenage Moser would put a CD into his Discman to make the time go a little faster while mowing the lawn for his parents, James and Nancy Moser.
“It’s eclectic, but it’s my ideal playlist, some pop, standards and Broadway. Everything from Andrew Lloyd Webber to ‘My Funny Valentine,’” said the New York City resident who frequently returns to the area to visit his family and entertain.
Performing ever since he can remember, Moser decided early on he wanted to take the stage in New York City.
“My parents would take me to New York and we’d go to all the shows we could see in a weekend. By sixth grade, I knew I wanted to be a theater performer,” recalled Moser who got his start in productions at Laurel and the New Castle Playhouse, where he was a member of the Stars of Tomorrow.
After earning a degree in musical theater with a minor in communications from Point Park University, he took a bite of the Big Apple.
Moser has won acclaim for solo shows, including “This Can’t Be Love: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart.” He was recently featured in “Love Bites:The Greatest Duets Ever,” a cabaret-style show of ‘70s and ‘80s music at the Public Theater. Later this summer, Moser will be part of “Madonnathon,” a compilation of unique renditions of the singer’s works at the Brooklyn Bowl.
Moser has also released an album version of “This Can’t Be Love” as well as several singles.
“Putting together my own shows and recordings was a way to get noticed and gain a following, now I’m getting hired for other’s shows,” said Moser, whose next goal is to create another solo show as well as to continue recording.
In addition, Moser works as associate director of print and special projects for SpotCo, a NYC entertainment marketing agency which, among other notable jobs, created the iconic logo for “Hamilton.”
“I knew I wanted to perform, but I also needed something a little more stable and things like health insurance,” Moser said. “I try to keep a 50-50 balance between the two but that doesn’t always work, like when it’s Tony Awards week and we’re working with our 61 clients who got nominations or when I’m in three shows at three different venues.
“It’s busy, but the energy of NYC keeps me going,” he said, adding, “I love coming home to perform; it’s always good to take a break in the country.”
Tonight’s show came about when Robert Lee, a teacher in the New Castle Area School District who directs the high school’s musicals, contacted Moser about bringing a group of students to NYC. Also a member of the Hoyt’s arts and education board and chair of the programming committee, Lee inquired about the teenagers visiting SpotCo.
“It’s good for them to see that there are so many things that kids who love to perform can do that don’t actually involve performing,” Lee said.
Moser was happy to oblige and the ensuing conversations led to Lee sharing his idea of starting a performance series at the Hoyt.
“I’ve known Travis since our high school days and he was a perfect choice to bring back as someone who’s been successful in the field,” said Lee who arranged a four-concert series at the arts center featuring vocalists, a brass ensemble and a pianist. “We wanted to showcase a variety of performers to reach different demographics and expose them to the Hoyt and everything we have to offer.”