United Solo Announces 10th-Season Winners and New Festival in London
Aasif Mandvi was named the recipient of the Special Award at the 10th Anniversary Gala of the world’s largest solo theatre festival. The gala was held at the newly renovated Theatre Row in New York, the festival’s home since its first season in 2010. The event concluded a ten-week run, which featured performances by 120 artists from all over the world. The festival opened on September 19th and presented up to 5 shows every day, with fifty sold out performances. Nearly thirty award winners returned to perform this season as part of “The Best Of” selection, and were recognized during the gala, along with new award winners.
Mr. Mandvi was presented with the United Solo Special Award, which recognizes artists outside of the festival for outstanding contributions to solo theatre. In his acceptance speech, he said: “Thank you so much to United Solo for this tremendous honor. And congratulations to all the solo performers who have had their shows showcased in the United Solo Festival. Solo shows are not easy, if all live theatre is performance without a safety net, a solo show is even more so. It’s like walking a tight rope suspended high above the ground without a safety net. I commend all of you for choosing this particularly courageous and vulnerable form of artistic expression, and I commend the United Solo team for highlighting it.”
As in all previous seasons, United Solo patrons were encouraged to donate to The Actors Fund, an organization that provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals. David Engelman, the Director of Communications & Marketing, was present to accept the check for all collected donations. “Thank you to everyone at United Solo who has supported The Actors Fund with audience appeals over these past 10 years and collectively raised over $14,000 to help those in need in our community,” said Joseph P. Benincasa, President & CEO of The Actors Fund “The Fund is proud to be here to offer services that foster stability and resiliency and serve as a safety net over the lifespan of everyone who works in performing arts and entertainment, including the solo artists and creative teams of United Solo.”
The second decade of United Solo will begin with a new festival in London, freshly announced at the gala. The London festival is already accepting submissions from solo performers worldwide. “Participants will have the opportunity to perform at The Actors Centre, the renowned theatre in London’s legendary West End,” said Dr. Omar Sangare, founder and artistic director of United Solo. The 2020 deadline for submissions will be the same as the deadline for the New York festival. Applicants have the option to apply for both New York and London. Applications to either or both festivals may be submitted online at www.unitedsolo.org/submit.
The full list of award winners in all categories includes:
United Solo Special Award: “Sakina’s Restaurant” written and performed by Aasif Mandvi
Best One-Woman Show: “Seeing Stars” written and performed by Ellen Gould Best One-Man Show: “An Evening with Tennessee Williams” written and performed by Sebastian Galvez The United Solo & Backstage Audience Award: “The Book of Mamaw” written and performed by Eugene Wolf Best Direction: Kathleen Butler, “Seeing Stars” Best Actress: Connie Winston in “American Captives: Lena Baker and Sandra Bland” Best Actor: Edward Asner in “A Man and His Prostate”
Best Storyteller: Evan Handler in “Time On Fire: A Comedy of Terrors (Redux)” Best Comedian: Debbie Kasper in “Has Anybody Seen Debbie?” Best Encore: “JO (Not Just Mrs. Edward Hopper)” performed by Pippa White Best International Show: “54 Silhouettes” performed by Charles Etubiebi
Best Musical: “My Life: The Musical Version” written and performed by Amit Gour Best Drama: “The Asylum Project” written and performed by Elizabeth Mozer Best Comedy: “The MisEducation of Ms. Freeman” written and performed by Alaina Freeman Best Opera: “With Warmest Regards” written and performed by Lori Brown Mirabal Best Storytelling Show: “Bo-Nita” performed by Terri Weagant Best Non-Fiction Show: “Music Lessons” written and performed by Ed Napier Best Variety Show: “Life Hacks with Miss Havisham” peformed by Jen Jurek Best Physical Theatre: “Collecting Driftwood” written and performed by Susan Jacobson Best Autobiographical One-Woman Show: “Wasbian” written and performed by Susan Ward Best Autobiographical One-Man Show: “A Bunch of Different Ways I’d Like to Die” written and performed by Tim McDonough Best Experimental Show: “La Sangre” performed by Will Atkins Best Documentary One-Woman Show: “Equally Divine: The Real Story of the Mona Lisa” written and performed by Jenny Lyn Bader Best Documentary One-Man Show: “The Things They Carried” written and performed by Jim Stowell Best Educational Show: “400 Years in Manhattan” written and performed by Noah Diamond Best Multi-Media Show: “Divining Bernhardt” written and performed by Bridget Kelly Best Satire: “Kafka’s Ape” performed by Bonani Miyambo
Best Script: “Warm Cheese” written and performed by Teresa Thome Best Adaptation: “In Order to Sleep Peacefully: An Adaptation of Alfred de Musset’s ‘Lorenzaccio’” performed by Patric Madden
All About Solo Critics’ Award: “Inheritance: A Litany” written and performed by Janis Brenner Best Premiere: “Her Downstairs” written and performed by Sherill Turner Best Emerging Actress: Lindsey Normington in “Figurehead” Best Emerging Actor: Oscar Emmanuel Fabela in “Don Carlos: Prince of Asturias” Best Festival Debut: Stephanie Everett in “It’s Fine, I’m Fine.”
*The winner of the 2019 All About Solo Critics’ Award was chosen by the staff writers of www.allaboutsolo.com **The winner of the Audience Award was chosen in an online poll, presented in partnership between United Solo and Backstage Magazine ***Winners are selected by an independent panel of over eighty theatre professionals, including The United Solo Academy Members