United Solo, the world's largest solo theatre festival, doubled in size in the past three years. During the upcoming six?week run between October 11 and November 18, a variety of one hundred solo shows will perform at Theatre ROW on 42nd Street in New York. Performers come from all over the world, bringing stories in which they explore global and local issues, address universal dilemmas, and adapt classical literature in shows like "Medea's Got Some Issues," "The Picture of Dorian Gray," and "Vonnegut, Vonnegut."
Fifteen of the shows sold out two weeks prior to opening night, with other best-selling productions poised to reach that status. Among them there are storytellers, stand-up comedians and clowns, as well as performers who discuss their personal experiences of coping with cancer ("Cancer Can't Dance Like This" by Daniel Stolfi, winner of 2011 Canadian Comedy Award), Down syndrome ("Wrap Your Heart Around It" by five-time Grammy nominee LynnMarie Rink, produced by Emmy winner Paul Miller and "Linda Lovely Goes To Broadway" by Broadway veteran Ann Morisson), disability ("Still Standing" by Anita Hollander, and "Normality" with Pedro Kruger from South Africa, well received at the Edinburgh Fringe), the Holocaust ("DIVA" with Wioleta Komar, recognized with Best Actress Award at 2011 United Solo), and finding one's purpose ("Beyond Words" by Bill Bowers, returning after 2010 United Solo Best Production award). The festival is curated by its founder and artistic director, Omar Sangare.
Other notable Festival participants include Slash Coleman, who opens the Festival with "Neon Man and Me," which had been nationally televised by PBS; John Jiler, author of the musical "Avenue X"; Austin Pendleton, winner of the Festival's awards for Best Director in both 2010 and 2011, with "Longing For Grace" starring Grace Kiley; and Mark Gindick, a physical comedian featured on PBS, bringing back "Wing-Man," for which he won the Best One Man Show award at 2011 United Solo.
All artists will compete for a number of awards, including Best Production, Best Actor, Best Costume, Best International Show, and Audience Award. Productions with outstanding scripts will be invited to join a special collection at Indie Theater Now, a digital theatre library for contemporary plays.
United Solo also recognizes artists with exceptional achievements in this field. Anna Deavere Smith received the uAward in 2010 for "Let Me Down Easy," followed by Patti LuPone in 2011. In her acceptance remarks, LuPone said: "It's always a wonderful thing to win an award, but when it comes so unexpectedly and from such an eclectic and international group of artists as the Academy of United Solo, it's even more so." This year, there are four nominees for the special uAward: Kathy Griffin, John Hurt, Hugh Jackman, and John Leguizamo. The winner will be announced at the United Solo Closing Ceremony on November 18, 2012.
Tickets for all of the Festival's productions are available at Theatre ROW box office, over the phone at 212-239-6200 and online at www.telecharge.com with a price of $18. Theatre ROW is located on 410 W 42nd Street in New York City. Full schedule is available at www.unitedsolo.org