Oscar Nominee Renee Taylor Among Award Winners At The United Solo Gala
After a run of ten weeks that presented 130 one-person theatre productions from six continents, the world's largest solo theatre festival concluded its ninth season at Theatre Row on 42nd Street in New York by presenting this year's awards. On behalf of the United Solo Academy, Omar Sangare, the artistic director of the festival, presented the United Solo Special Award to Renée Taylor for her solo show "My Life on a Diet." In her acceptance speech, Ms. Taylor said: "I'm very grateful for receiving an award from United Solo - it's a very prestigious honor" and added "I'm very happy to be touring the country with 'My Life on a Diet' - and now I can say I am an award-winning show!"
In addition to the Special Award, the festival presented awards to its participants in categories such as Best Production, Best Direction, Best Actor and Actress, as well as the Backstage and United Solo Audience Award, chosen in an online popular vote. All About Solo presented its Critics' Award, selected by the staff writers of that online publication.
It is noteworthy that the majority of solo productions at this year's festival were one-woman shows, many of which addressed issues of gender discrimination, sexual assault and non-acceptance. United Solo is proud to provide a platform to empower social movements, and promotes meaningful stories written and performed by women. The United Solo Gala featured a special appearance by the internationally acclaimed, award-winning actress and singer Ali Harper, who performed a selection of legendary songs made famous by Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, and Billie Holiday.
The festival, whose season began on September 13, offered a robust selection of performances in many categories, such as drama, comedy, stand-up, musical theatre, dance, and performance art, among others. Sixty shows sold out and received additional performance dates by popular demand. Numerous shows were presented in a special ENCORE category, which featured work by artists and companies returning to United Solo after successful performances in past seasons.
In its ninth season, United Solo has once again supported members of the performing arts community by fundraising for The Actors Fund, which helps professionals during times of transition. "We entertain, educate, and support," said Omar Sangare, founder and artistic director of United Solo. "Our mission has been realized by bringing people together. Whether at our theatre space or in the rehearsal studio, where we offer our Master Classes, we welcome anyone with passion and dedication for the performance arts."
Since its first season in 2010, United Solo has presented over 1000 productions at Theatre Row and overseas. The festival also offers Master Classes in its United Solo Master Series program. This year, sessions with Anne Bogart, Allan Corduner, Olympia Dukakis, Austin Pendleton, and Fiona Shaw garnered interest from dozens of participants. The training program will continue year-round, offering classes for theatre enthusiasts of all ages and levels of professional experience.
As this year's season ends, the festival is already in the process of collecting submissions for 2019, which will be its 10th anniversary season. Artists and companies interested in applying can find more information on the festival's website, www.unitedsolo.org/submit
The full list of award winners in all categories includes:
Best Production: "Inheritance: A Litany" by Janis Brenner
Best Direction: Zishan Ugurlu, "American Dream, The"
Best One-Man Show: "(I)sland T(rap)" by Austin Dean Ashford, directed by Cole Wimpee
Best One-Woman Show: "Songs for Nobodies" performed by Ali Harper
Best Encore: "A TRAIN" by Anne Torsiglieri, directed by Risa Brainin
All About Solo Critics' Award: "PRINZE" by Jose Sonera, directed by Melissa Linton
The United Solo & Backstage Audience Award: "Song of Seamus and the Psychedelic Squirrel" by Kassi Dougherty, directed by Marcus Bishop-Wright, co-produced by Brian Barnhart, musical director: Jody Shelton
Best Actor: Andre de Vanny in "Swansong"
Best Actress: Bellina Logan in "CONFESSIONS OF A MULATTO LOVE CHILD"
Best Comedian: Yu Ling Wu in "American Dream, The"
Best Storyteller: Mary Goggin in "Runaway Princess"
Best One-Man Drama: "Transfiguration" written by Michael Miller, performed by Gary Hilborn
Best One-Woman Drama: "I WON'T BE IN ON MONDAY" by Anne Stockton, directed by Austin Pendleton
Best International One-Man Show: "A KISS - ANTONIO LIGABUE" by Marco Michel, directed by Mario Perrotta
Best International One-Woman Show: "MELINA: THE LAST GREEK GODDESS" by Paola Hadjilambri, directed by Paul Lambis
Best Comedy: "PRINZE" by Jose Sonera
Best Storytelling Show: "Homeful" by Amy Mihyang Ginther
Best Variety Show: "Fancifool!" by Ananda Bena-Weber
Best Musical: "Sink or Swim" by Beverley Elliott
Best Physical Theatre: "The Creeps" by Catherine Waller
Best Autobiographical One-Woman Show: "Lilly" by Lillian Colón
Best Autobiographical One-Man Show: "Last Dance" by Aaron Cash
Best Interactive Show: "Inconceivable'" by Meirav Zur
Best Poetry Show: "the farewell" based on Yannis Ritsos, performed by Phyto Stratis
Best Biographical Show: "Frida Kahlo" performed by Susan Rybin, written by Humberto Robles, directed by Luis Caballero
Best Improv: "Nobody's Really Helped Me" by Lanessa Long
Best Satire: "O" by Eliza Martin
Best Cabaret: "The Rude Awakening. Sex, Shame & Liberation" by Amber Topaz
Best Stand-Up: "Diary Of A MILF (Mom I'd Love to Follow)" by MESHELLE
Best Experimental Show: "OTOSOTR" by Anatoliy Ogay, directed by Tatyana Kim
Best Educational Show: "First By Faith: The Life Of Mary McLeod Bethune" by Richarda Abrams
Best Documentary Show: "The Auschwitz Volunteer: Captain Witold Pilecki" performed by Marek Probosz
Best Multi-Media Show: "Super Awesome World" by Amy Conway
Best Concert: "HOUN' DAWG: Life & Times of Big Mama Thornton" by Azusa SHESHE Dance
Best Script: "My Dead Wife" by Mike Folie
Best Premiere: "The Medium...The Music...and ME!" by DonnaD Lipari
Best Short Solo: "Chocoholic" by Lilly Dennis
Best Emerging Actor: "MADMAN" by Jake Austin Robertson
Best Emerging Actress: "Dangerous Giant Animals" by Christina Murdock
Best Festival Debut: "Velvet Determination" by Cynthia Shaw
Best Choreography: "Resplendent" by Oksana Horban
Best Projection Design: Caroline Trewet, "L.O.V.E.R."
Best Lighting Design: Mitchell Bogard, "Inheritance: A Litany"
Best Costume Design: Mindy Fradkin, "Ageless Wonders"
Best Composer: Jerome Begin, "Inheritance: A Litany"
First Sold-Out Show: "L.O.V.E.R." by Lois Robbins
*The winner of the 2018 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 seventy theatre professionals, including The United Solo Academy Members
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