Fall of 2020
Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, New York City, United States
In light of the ongoing global pandemic, United Solo, in collaboration with Theatre Row and The Actors Centre, has made the decision to postpone both the New York and London festivals. This however, did not prevent from selecting and presenting the annual United Solo Special Award. This year, United Solo, named Sir Ian McKellen as the winner of the 2020 United Solo Special Award. McKellen was awarded for his solo performance, “Ian McKellen on Stage: Tolkien, Shakespeare and You!” which toured across the United Kingdom last year before coming to London’s West End for a limited run. The show celebrated McKellen’s 80th birthday and explored anecdotes from his illustrious career in the entertainment industry spanning the stage and screen.
“Hello from London!”, McKellen began, as he accepted the award virtually, “Thank you so much for the United Solo Special Award. What a wonderful present for the holiday time.” He shared his thoughts on solo performance and his show and wished the United Solo community happy holidays.
“Ian’s performance was more than just a show — it was also a fundraising effort to support local theaters,” emphasized Omar Sangare, founder and artistic director of United Solo. “Such exemplary kindness inspired others to do the same in the face of the unprecedented challenges that the theatre community faces today.”
Sir Ian McKellen will join past United Solo Special Award recipients, including 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), and Aasif Mandvi (2019).
*Nominees have been recommended by the United Solo Academy as well as independent theatergoers.
**Winners are selected by an independent panel of over eighty theatre professionals.
***United Solo encourages enthusiasts of the solo form to suggest their favorite performers for the annual United Solo Special Award. Feel free to send us a brief email that includes the name of the performer, the title of the event, website (if applicable), date and place it was performed, and the reason for your choice. You may suggest an artist from many genres of solo performance open to the public (e.g. storytelling, puppetry, dance, movement, concert, musical, spoken word, multimedia, sketch, improv, stand‑up, lecture, magic, performance art, online video, TV special, DVD release, traditional play: drama or comedy). Send your recommendation to: uAward‑firstname.lastname@example.org.