John Leguizamo, LynnMarie Rink, Ann Morrison and More Take 2012 United Solo Awards
United Solo, the world's largest solo theatre festival, concluded its third annual season with a closing ceremony held on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at Theatre ROW on 42nd Street in New York City. Local and international performers, special guests, and festival team members gathered to celebrate the one hundred solo productions that were offered this fall.
Omar Sangare, the artistic director of the festival, presented the annual "uAward" to outstanding solo artist John Leguizamo, honoring his performance in "Ghetto Klown." In his acceptance speech, Mr. Leguizamo said, "One man show is the thing that I live for, the thing that made me, the thing I can't live without because it's my mode of expression. I wanted to do this piece to inspire the youth of America that if I can make it, then you can make it. And I want to thank all of you and especially the people nominated alongside of me. Hugh Jackman, the great Kathy Griffin, John Hurt, all these great talented people, and this award is for all of us. Thank you."
The festival featured a diverse array of shows representing 14 countries and 19 states. Numerous artists were recognized for their excellence in various categories of solo performance. The awards were presented by Allan Corduner, a British actor internationally acclaimed for his leading role in the Oscar-winning film "Topsy-Turvy," by Martin and Rochelle Denton, the founders of Indie Theater Now, the digital theatre library of the 21st century, and by several members of the United Solo Academy.
The 2012 United Solo Awards went to:
Best Production for "Wrap Your Heart Around It" by LynnMarie Rink, produced by Paul Miller
Best One-Man Show for "Beyond Words" by Bill Bowers
Best One-Woman Show for "Longing for Grace" by Grace Kiley
Best Direction for Austin Pendleton for "Longing for Grace"
Best Actor for Anthony Nikolchev in "The Echoes Off The Walls Underground…"
Best Actress for Ann Morrison in "Linda Lovely Goes To Broadway"
Best Comedian for Frank Ingrasciotta in "Blood Type: RAGU"
Best Storyteller for Antonio Sacre in "Let Them Eat Meat"
Best International Show for "Medea's Got Some Issues" by Ana Asensio, Spain
Best Encore for "OH MY IRMA" by Haley McGee
Best Drama for "Neon Man and Me" by Slash Coleman
Best Comedy for "BIO?HAZARD: (a relative comedy)" by Sarah Elizabeth Greer
Best Musical for "Normality" by Pedro Kruger
Best Period Piece for "Death In Venice In First Person" by Rory Lance
Best Variety Show for "Bubba" by Michael Thomas Walker
Best Stand-up for "EMERGENCY A La Carte" by Nancy Redman
Best Multimedia for "free•dom – a solo of many people" by Andressa Furletti
Best Educational Piece for "For the BENEFIT of Miss JENNIE GOURLAY" by Billy Hipkins
Best Movement for Rebecca VerNooy in "Across Time"
Best Improvisation for "Talk to me about Shame" by Julian Goldhagen
Best Documentary for "Cry of the Mountain" by Adelind Horan
Best Dramatic Script for "On The Outskirts Of Everything" by Tim Collins
Best Comedic Script for "The Bronx Queen" by Joe Gulla
Best Non-Fiction Script for "URBAN ZEN" by Navida Stein
Best Adaptation for "Modern Prometheus: Frankenstein with Mary Shelley" by Virginia Bartholomew
Best Premiere for "Trevor's Fire" by Blake Walton
Best Short Solo for "Daughter of Salt" by Kathleen Cole Burke
Best Emerging Artist for Sebastien Heins in "Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera"
Best Lighting Design for Coby Beck, "Mutant Olive"
Best Costume Design for Michael Growler, "Beyond Words"
Best Makeup for Elle Murphy, "Longing for Grace"
Best in Social Networking for "Father Forgive Me For I Have Sinned" by Jose Roldan Jr.
First Sold-Out Show for "Bully" by Lee J. Kaplan
Audience Award for Anita Hollander in "Still Standing"
United Solo is not only thriving but also gaining in popularity. During its six?week run, the festival sold out thirty-four shows and attracted widespread media interest. Distinguished guests included Oscar nominee John Guare, who opened the festival with his remarks, Golden Globe Award winner and Oscar nominee Marsha Mason, Primetime Emmy and Tony Award winner Cherry Jones, Stella Adler Studio instructors Joanne Edelmann and Alice Saltzman, renowned writer and actor Taylor Negron, and Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch members Regina Advento, Pablo Aran Gimeno, Daphnis Kokkinos, and Jorge Puerta Armenta.
The festival's mission is to unite people from around the world, celebrate multicultural diversity, and support the theatrical community. Each season, United Solo collects donations for The Actors Fund, an organization that supports entertainment professionals in need. At the closing ceremony this year, David Engelman, director of communications and marketing for The Actors Fund, received a check of one thousand two hundred and six dollars on behalf of the organization. The reception that followed the ceremony provided artists and guests with the opportunity to exchange ideas, engage creatively with one another, and enjoy a mutual appreciation for the theatre arts. In the future, United Solo will continue to build a community of people drawn to solo performance and to welcome local and international productions alike.