The 5th Annual United Solo Theatre Festival

September 18 – November 23, 2014
Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, New York City, United States

The world’s largest solo theatre festival concluded its season with an awards ceremony held on Sunday, November 23, 2014 at Theatre Row on 42nd Street in New York City. It was the Closing Gala for a ten-week season of solo theatre and the fifth anniversary of the festival, a resident company at Theatre Row. The awards were presented at the Gala by David Engelman, Martin Denton, Rochelle Denton, Erin Layton, Brian Luna, and by several members of the United Solo Academy.

Billy Crystal received this year’s United Solo Special Award for his autobiographical show presented on Broadway, and his outstanding achievements in the art of solo performance. “It made me a better actor, it made my discipline stronger, it made every night more of a challenge, because it was just me,” Crystal said about the show in his special message to the United Solo Artists. He added, “That’s the thrill of working solo.” Billy Crystal joins previous recipients of this award: Anna Deavere SmithPatti LuPoneJohn Leguizamo, and Fiona Shaw.

In its longest season ever, the fifth annual United Solo Festival featured 97 SOLD-OUT shows among 130 productions. Performances from six continents were presented every night from September 18 through November 23, 2014 in a variety of categories. The press and industry frequently attended United Solo performances, including, among others, Olympia DukakisMichael EmersonCarrie PrestonScott Takeda, as well as Marlo Thomas and Danny Aiello (both on photos below).

As part of its mission, United Solo supports members of the performing arts community who are in need, by fundraising for The Actors Fund. Joseph Benincasa, CEO of The Actors Fund, said “Thank you to the entire community of artists and audiences at this year’s United Solo Festival. Your donations will help The Actors Fund continue our vital work of helping everyone in our creative community who is facing difficult times.”
During its five-year history, United Solo presented nearly 500 productions in the heart of New York’s theatre district. The festival also promotes the art of solo theatre by curating a collection of scripts in Indie Theater Now, a digital library of plays. The festival continues to seek new ways to popularize and celebrate the solo theatre form. Artists who would like to participate in the festival next year can already submit their applications.

The following shows and artists were recognized for outstanding achievements in their categories:

Best Production for THE WONDER by Susan Ferrara, co-directed by Julie Ann Emery and Kevin Earley
Best Direction for Estelle Parsons for RHAPSODY IN BLACK
Best One-Man Show for FAGGY at 50 by Joe Gulla, directed by Brian Rardin
Best One-Woman Show for Butoh Medea by Yokko, with associate director Brian Rhinehart
Best Encore for Spitting In The Face Of The Devil by Bob Brader, directed by Suzanne Bachner
The United Solo & Backstage Audience Award* for My Insane Shakespeare by Arthur Elbakyan
Best Actor for Javier Rivera in Salve Regina: A Coming Of GAY Story
Best Actress for Ali Harper in Bombshells
Best Comedian for Nancy Redman in The Doctor Is Not In
Best Storyteller for Leland Gantt in RHAPSODY IN BLACK
Best International Show for The Big Smoke by Amy Nostbakken, directed by Nir Paldi
Best Drama for Stealing Sam by Steven Gallagher
Best Comedy for BIO-HAZARD: a relative comedy by Sarah Elizabeth Greer
Best Musical for Good Enough by Matthew LaBanca
Best Autobiographical Show for The Beauty, The Banshee & Me by Cathy Lind Hayes
Best Avant-Garde Show for Health Insurance by Daniel Piper Kublick
Best Variety Show for THAT’S ALL I GOT by Addie Walsh
Best Multimedia Show for Inside the Whale by Aurora Lagattuta
Best Cabaret for My Life Is a Woody Allen Film by Aja Nisenson
Best Satire for Lost in Lvov by Sandy Simona
Best Stand-Up for When I Could Feel by Vicky Kuperman
Best Spoken-Word Show for She Think She Grown by Shannon Matesky
Best Experimental Show for NOTHING by Nic Balthazar by Jon Kovach
Best Concert for The Spirit of Vaudeville by Richard Stillman
Best Educational Show for The Magic of Rudyard Kipling: “Just So” by Jackson Gillman
Best Dramatic Script for Women On The Verge by Kimba Henderson, performed by Faith Collins
Best Comedic Script for TALES FROM GERIASSIC PARK – On the Verge of Extinction by Verna Gillis
Best Adaptation for The Tall Boy by Simon Bent, performed by Tandy Cronyn
Best Non-Fiction Script for Children are Forever (All Sales Are Final!) by Julia Jackson
Best Documentary Script for SILENT WITNESSES by Stephanie Satie
Best Biographical Script for Einstein: A Stage Portrait by Willard Simms, performed by Tom Schuch
Best Storytelling Script for Random Acts by Renata Hinrichs
Best Autobiographical Script for What Will People Think? by Anthoula Katsimatides
Best Educational Script for L.A. Unified by David Newer
Best Premiere for Some of the Side Effects by Dave Shaw
Best Emerging Actor for Sentell Harper in Seek and Ye Shall Find
Best Emerging Actress for Melissa Ritz in Journey Of A Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story
Best Festival Debut for In the Storm of Pleasure by Daniel Benhamu, directed by Zishan Ugurlu
First Sold-Out Show for BIG DUMMY by Mary Dimino
Best Musical Direction for Gary Schreiner, My Life Is a Woody Allen Film by Aja Nisenson
Best Projection Design for Richard A. Harris, MANCHESTER GIRL by Sue Turner-Cray
Best Lighting Design for Derek Van Heel, Butoh Medea
Best Costume Design for Deepsikah Chatterjee, Butoh Medea
Best Choreography for Yokko and Jordan Rosin, Butoh Medea

*The winner of the Audience Award was chosen in an online poll, presented in partnership between United Solo & Backstage Magazine.

2014 United Solo Festival Guide