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United Solo Closes 2021 Season With Grand Awards Gala

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The Festival's return was noted by the New York Times as they chose United Solo as one of their Fall Picks in their annual arts preview.

United Solo Closes 2021 Season With Grand Awards Gala

Following a month-long run that featured several dozen one-person theatre productions from across the globe, United Solo, the world's largest solo theatre festival, concluded its twelfth season at Theatre Row on 42nd Street in New York by presenting this year's awards at the United Solo Closing Gala.

On behalf of the United Solo Academy, Dr. Omar Sangare, artistic director of the Festival, presented the United Solo Special Award to Lee Roy Reams for his performance in "Remembering Jerry Herman." In his acceptance speech Mr. Reams said: "We all need the same things: love and affection, food and water - we have so much in common" and added "That's why sharing our experiences is so important - especially in an intimate situation where you don't have to appeal to multi-million dollar productions. You can just walk in, turn on the lights, sit down, talk and listen - that's what the theatre is all about for me. I love solo performance and that's why I'm here, and thank you for appreciating what I'm trying to do." Mr. Reams, a Tony and Drama Desk Awards nominee, will join such illustrious past honorees of the United Solo Special Award as: Anna Deavere Smith (2010), Patti LuPone (2011), John Leguizamo (2012), Fiona Shaw (2013), Billy Crystal (2014), James Lecesne (2015), Staceyann Chin in collaboration with Cynthia Nixon (2016), Michael Moore (2017), Renée Taylor (2018), Aasif Mandvi (2019), and Ian McKellen (2020).

The Festival's return was noted by the New York Times as they chose United Solo as one of their Fall Picks in their annual arts preview. The season began on October 26th and offered a robust selection of performances in categories including drama, comedy, stand‑up, musical theatre, dance, and performance art. Many shows sold out and received additional performance dates by popular demand. Over half of the shows were presented for the first time on a New York City Stage, and several pieces made their world premieres at the Festival.

In addition to the Special Award, the Festival presented awards to its participants in categories such as Best One-Man and One-Woman Show, Best Direction, Best Actor and Actress, as well as the United Solo Audience Award, chosen by an online popular vote. All About Solo presented its Critics' Choice Award to a performer selected by the staff writers of the online publication. Wendy-Lane Bailey opened the Gala with a song from her show "Five Minutes" which was directed by Omar Sangare. One of the composers of "Five Minutes," Michele Brourman, was awarded Best Song for her composition titled "Aurora."

The Gala was also a celebration for United Solo's new online platform, United Solo Screen, which allows viewers from around the world to engage with United Solo productions. Among the shows available for streaming are many of the Festival's awarded productions, as well as premieres of shows created for United Solo Screen. The Festival will continue presenting solo productions on United Solo Screen until it returns to Theatre Row next season. Artists and companies can submit their shows as virtual performances on United Solo Screen at unitedsolo.org/usoloscreen. Submissions for the 2022 United Solo Festival at Theatre Row, NYC, are now open at unitedsolo.org/nyc-2022/about.

In its twelfth season, United Solo once again supported members of the performing arts community by fundraising for The Actors Fund. "Thank you to everyone at United Solo who has supported The Actors Fund with audience appeals over these past twelve 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 full list of award winners at the 2021 United Solo Festival includes:

United Solo Special Award: Lee Roy Reams in "Remembering Jerry Herman"

Best Production: "Becoming Othello: A Black Girl's Journey" performed by Debra Ann Byrd

Best One-Woman Show: "Who Goes There" performed by Tara Hugo

Best One-Man Show: "Not My First Pandemic" performed by César Cadabes

Best International Show: "Ghislaine|Gabler" performed by Kristin Winters

Best Direction: Beth Bornstein Dunnington, "I Feel the Need" performed by Loree Draude

Best Actress: Becca Schneider in "Trich"

Best Actor: Jason Woods in "The Near-Disaster of Jasper and Casper"

Best Encore: "Chocoholic" performed by Lilly Dennis

Best Storyteller: Vince Bandille in "3 Egg Creams - A Rhapsody in the Rain"

Best Drama: "This Garden Plot" performed by Gil Cole

Best Comedy: "The Elephant in the Room" performed by Melanie Greenberg

Best Physical Theatre: "Six Solos: Legend, Myth, and Nature" performed by Lynn Needle

Best Autobiographical Show: "One Hundred Dollar Bill" performed by Muhammed Can Yasar

Best Concert: "The Pass Musical" performed by Denise Marsa

Best New York Premiere: "The Ivory Thread" performed by Michael J. Gonzales

Best Festival Debut: Amie Enriquez in "Lightweight"

Best Composer: Heather Forest, "Earthsong" performed by herself

Best Song: Michele Brourman, "Aurora" in "Five Minutes | Snapshots in Time"

Best Lighting Design: Shane Mathews designing for 7 productions at United Solo 2021

Best Emerging Artist: Erika Land in "PTSD & Me"

All About Solo Critics' Choice Award: "Not My First Pandemic" performed by César Cadabes

The United Solo Audience Choice Award: "Trich" performed by Becca Schneider

*The winner of the 2021 All About Solo Critics' Choice Award was chosen by the staff writers of allaboutsolo.com

**The winner of the Audience Award was chosen in an online poll at unitedsolo.org

***Winners selected by an independent panel of The United Solo Academy Members


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