Ten Weeks of Solo Shows at Sixth Annual United Solo Festival, Opening Sept. 17
In its sixth year, United Solo once again breaks its own record of one-person show offerings. The world’s largest solo theatre festival opens on September 17 for a ten-week run, featuring 150 solo productions from six continents. Until its closing night on November 22, the festival will present between two and five shows each day, all at Theatre Row, where United Solo is a resident company, on 42nd Street in NYC.
From openly solicited submissions, the festival committee chose the most promising pieces, new as well as previously produced. This year’s selection represents a variety of subjects and forms: drama, comedy, dance, movement, musical, storytelling, stand up, and mime, among other categories. Participating productions will feature renowned actors as well as newcomers making their debuts; adaptations of well-known plays, as well as original works.
“Butoh Medea” by Japanese artist Yokko will open the festival on Sept. 17 at 7:30pm. The show uniquely interprets a Western classic through the tradition of Butoh dance. It won four awards at United Solo in 2014, was enthusiastically received at United Solo Europe in 2015, and now joins the ENCORE program of over 25 productions by distinguished artists and companies from past United Solo seasons. Bill Bowers, another performer familiar to United Solo audiences, returns for his fifth appearance at the festival, this time in his show “Beyond Words” on Oct. 5 at 9pm. This is the story of a journey from boyhood to manhood, from rural Montana to the glamour of Broadway. Another ENCORE offering arrives with one of Utah’s premier theatre groups — the Plan-B Theatre production of “The Kreutzer Sonata” by Eric Samuelsen, known as “the Mormon Charles Dickens.” The play, a cautionary tale of rage, revenge and remorse starring Robert Scott Smith, will be presented Nov. 4 at 9pm.
Noteworthy festival newcomers include West Coast actress Kate Fuglei in her bestselling show “RACHEL CALOF: A MEMOIR WITH MUSIC,” the true story of a mail-order bride from Russia, struggling with her new life in North Dakota. The show is directed by Primetime Emmy winner Ellen S. Pressman and will have four performances, with all dates sold out, except for Nov. 15 at 7:30pm with only a few tickets remaining. Nick Rafello, real estate agent by day and actor by night, presents his show “YEAH, THAT HAPPENED,” a true story of coming of age, coming out of the closet, and surviving childhood abuse, eventually making his dreams come true. His show will have three performances; tickets are currently available only for Oct. 5 at 7:30pm. New York comedienne Dena Blizzard, better known as “One Funny Mother,” brings her show about being a parent while making a career in media. Blizzard is known as a TV reporter covering Miss America competitions and as a former co-host of Anderson Cooper’s daily show; her comedy performance will take place on Sept. 26 at 9pm.
Festival productions will compete for various awards, including Best Production, Best Script, Best Actor and Best Actress, as well as Audience Award, which is chosen by popular vote, held in partnership with Backstage Magazine. Best scripts are further recognized by being invited to join an online collection curated by United Solo at Indie Theater Now. Select productions will be invited to perform at United Solo Europe, an annual overseas showcase of the festival.
Artists and companies interested in being presented by the festival in the future are welcome to submit an early application. Instructions may be found online at www.unitedsolo.org/submit.
The full list of 2015 participants is available at www.unitedsolo.org/us/ufest — along with an updated schedule of performances. Tickets, priced $19.25, which includes a theatre restoration charge, can be obtained in person at the Theatre Row box office at 410 West 42nd Street, over the phone at 212.239.6200, or online at www.telecharge.com.
THE CULTURE NEWS strongly recommends you to attend this unique festival. This year's program is by all means a must see and carefully chosen by their first class Artistic Director Mr Omar Sangare.