John Leguizamo, LynnMarie Rink, Ann Morrison and More Take 2012 United Solo Awards
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by BWW News Desk
United Solo, the world's largest solo theatre festival, concluded its third annual season with a closing ceremony held on Sunday, November 18, 2012 at Theatre ROW on 42nd Street in New York City. Local and international performers, special guests, and festival team members gathered to celebrate the one hundred solo productions that were offered this fall.
Omar Sangare, the artistic director of the festival, presented the annual "uAward" to outstanding solo artist John Leguizamo, honoring his performance in "Ghetto Klown." In his acceptance speech, Mr. Leguizamo said, "One man show is the thing that I live for, the thing that made me, the thing I can't live without because it's my mode of expression. I wanted to do this piece to inspire the youth of America that if I can make it, then you can make it. And I want to thank all of you and especially the people nominated alongside of me. Hugh Jackman, the great Kathy Griffin, John Hurt, all these great talented people, and this award is for all of us. Thank you."
The festival featured a diverse array of shows representing 14 countries and 19 states. Numerous artists were recognized for their excellence in various categories of solo performance. The awards were presented by Allan Corduner, a British actor internationally acclaimed for his leading role in the Oscar-winning film "Topsy-Turvy," by Martin and Rochelle Denton, the founders of Indie Theater Now, the digital theatre library of the 21st century, and by several members of the United Solo Academy.
The 2012 United Solo Awards went to:
Best Production for "Wrap Your Heart Around It" by LynnMarie Rink, produced by Paul Miller
Best Actor for Anthony Nikolchev in "The Echoes Off The Walls Underground…"
Best International Show for "Medea's Got Some Issues" by Ana Asensio, Spain
Best Premiere for "Trevor's Fire" by Blake Walton
Best Lighting Design for Coby Beck, "Mutant Olive"
Best in Social Networking for "Father Forgive Me For I Have Sinned" by Jose Roldan Jr.
United Solo is not only thriving but also gaining in popularity. During its six?week run, the festival sold out thirty-four shows and attracted widespread media interest. Distinguished guests included Oscar nominee John Guare, who opened the festival with his remarks, Golden Globe Award winner and Oscar nominee Marsha Mason, Primetime Emmy and Tony Award winner Cherry Jones, Stella Adler Studio instructors Joanne Edelmann and Alice Saltzman, renowned writer and actor Taylor Negron, and Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch members Regina Advento, Pablo Aran Gimeno, Daphnis Kokkinos, and Jorge Puerta Armenta.
The festival's mission is to unite people from around the world, celebrate multicultural diversity, and support the theatrical community. Each season, United Solo collects donations for The Actors Fund, an organization that supports entertainment professionals in need. At the closing ceremony this year, David Engelman, director of communications and marketing for The Actors Fund, received a check of one thousand two hundred and six dollars on behalf of the organization. The reception that followed the ceremony provided artists and guests with the opportunity to exchange ideas, engage creatively with one another, and enjoy a mutual appreciation for the theatre arts. In the future, United Solo will continue to build a community of people drawn to solo performance and to welcome local and international productions alike.