All Tied Up

Holland Vavra: Part-time Bow Tie Maker, Full-time Pippin Star

The Houston-based actor talks about her role in the upcoming TUTS performance of Pippin and her various side hustles.

By Doni Wilson July 11, 2017

0717 town pippin h57jbi

Holland Vavra as Leading Player in Theatre Under the Stars's production of Pippin.

Image: Courtesy TUTS

Holland Vavra will star in the all-Houston cast of the Theatre Under the Stars production of Pippin this week at Miller Outdoor Theatre. Many have enjoyed Vavra’s energetic and entertaining performances as a Marvellous Wonderette and a Honky Tonk Angel at Stages Repertory Theatre. A Houston favorite who has wowed audiences with her striking voice and spot on comedic timing, Vavra shared some of her thoughts on art, life and her latest projects.

Tell me about who you are, your background in musical theater. Was there a moment that you knew this is what you were meant to do? 

I actually grew up surrounded by the idea of performing with my mom being a theater teacher and director. I wish I had a fun story of that moment that I know this was "it" for me, but fortunately for me, it's been "it" since I can remember. My favorite role is the absolute hardest to pin! I've done a handful that I simply love, but I'd have to say this one might win, with a close second being either Kira in Xanadu and Sandra in Big Fish.

Tell me about Pippin. What's your role? What are the biggest challenges?

Pippin is the tale of a man in search for his ultimate fulfillment with obvious success and failure along the way, guided by a "leader" of a troupe that helps him find this extraordinary life. My role is the one who sets the ball in motion for him, offering him these elements of an extraordinary life to "sample" before handing him the ultimate "act" as it is. A challenge for me going through this process is definitely stamina; I think I could run a marathon tomorrow if I wanted to. 

Where have you performed in the past, and what is it like performing at Miller Outdoor Theater in Houston? 

I've done most of my professional work at Stages Repertory Theatre, along with TUTS. Working at Miller is pretty spectacular, seeing heaps of people on the hill and feeling the energy from the seats is unlike anything else. It's only a little hot, but this is Houston!

What do your fans not know about you?  What do you like to do when you are not performing?

I'm also an artist in different medias, mostly drawing and painting, but I also own the Etsy shop Freddie & David that I sell artisan bow ties that I've made from remnant fabric from either costume pieces or vintage scraps theaters have given me. Really, anything dealing with art and creativity, I'm into it. 

What is your next project? What can we look forward to seeing you in after Pippin

After Pippin, I'll actually be right back at Miller Outdoor Theatre with Xanadu.

What do you love to do in Houston?

My boyfriend and I tend to frequent a select few Mexican restaurants quite a bit. He's from New Zealand, so of course he's a true Texan now. 

What do you want people to know about you or this show that is never covered and needs to be known?

This is very important: The false lashes I wear in the show touch my eyebrows. But in all seriousness, something very neat, thanks to our director, is we're paying very respectful homage to Mr. Bob Fosse and his original choreography, which is some of the most unique choreography I've ever had the pleasure to do. 

Thru July 16. Free (Assigned seating from $25). Miller Outdoor Theatre. 6000 Hermann Park Dr. More info at

Show Comments