By All About Solo News Desk
The world’s largest solo theatre festival announced its 2018 selections, which include over 120 productions from all over the world. These productions represent various forms of theatre, dance, and performance art, and will be presented at Theatre Row. The 42nd Street venue has been home for United Solo since 2010. The festival is a resident company at Theatre Row, where it has presented nearly 1,000 productions from six continents over the past eight years.
This year’s highlights include 17 productions returning as ENCORE selections – these include “A Train,” the winner of the 2017 Best Production Award, and the show that opens the festival. This is an original musical about raising a child with autism, written and performed by Anne Torsiglieri, Broadway veteran (“Top Girls,” “Miss Saigon”) and professor at UC Santa Barbara. It is directed by Risa Brainin, chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at UCSB. Ms. Brainin is a past winner of the Best Director Award at United Solo. Plan-B Theatre Company from Utah returns to United Solo for a third time, presenting “Good Standing,” a new play about a Mormon excommunicated for marrying another man. Janis Brenner, professor of dance and choreography at The Juilliard School, and winner of the 2017 Best Choreography Award, returns with a new piece, “Inheritance: A Litany.”
New offerings include the English-language premiere of “Frida Kahlo: Long Live Life,” performed by Susan Rybin, who brings the show to United Solo after a successful New York run in Spanish. Aaron Cash, Cher’s lead dancer for over 10 years and a judge on the Australian “So You Think You Can Dance?”, will present a brief history of dance in his original play, “Last Dance.” Lillian Colón’s “Lilly” presents her life story, from growing up in a Bronx convent to becoming the first Puerto Rican Radio City Music Hall Rockette.
The Festival features award-winning, internationally renowned performers, as well as emerging talents, and presents shows in a wide variety of categories, including drama, comedy, storytelling, musical, dance, multimedia, stand-up, magic, and performance art. There are original shows, as well as adaptations of classic theatre and literature. Many will be world premieres. A full schedule of shows is available online at www.unitedsolo.org/us/ufest.
“At the festival, you can speak any language you want – if not verbally then through body language,” said Dr. Omar Sangare, founder and artistic director of United Solo. “‘All the world’s a stage,’ and you can see this world here, at United Solo.”
Participants were selected from hundreds of online submissions, and will present their work every day during the ten-week festival, from 2 to 5 shows every day. Shows compete for a variety of awards, including Best Production, Best Actor/Actress, and Best Director. The audience is invited to provide feedback and support their favorites in two ways. Most popular shows are given new performance dates by popular demand, up to a total of eight performances per production. Additionally, every patron can vote for the Audience Award, supporting their favorites through an online poll presented in partnership with Backstage Magazine.
ALL ARTS, the festival’s media sponsor, joins United Solo in support of this year’s artists. “ALL ARTS is thrilled to support this opportunity for artists all over the world to present their work in New York,” said Neal Shapiro, President and Chief Executive Officer of WNET, the parent company of ALL ARTS. “United Solo and ALL ARTS’ goals are well aligned: to support and showcase the expression of unique artistic voices.”
Tickets for all shows at United Solo are available in person at the Theatre Row Box Office, located at 410 West 42nd Street in New York City, as well as through Telecharge phone sales at 212.239.6200 and online at www.telecharge.com.
Established as the world’s largest solo theatre festival in 2010, United Solo presented nearly 1,000 productions from six continents, during its festival at Theatre Row on 42nd Street in New York, where it is a resident company; as well as at United Solo Europe, an overseas showcase created in 2013. As a prime platform for one-person theatre, it presents, promotes, and recognizes solo performances of all kinds. The festival honors luminaries in the field by presenting the United Solo Special Award, whose recipients include Billy Crystal, John Leguizamo, Patti LuPone, Michael Moore, and Anna Deavere Smith, among others. Since 2017, United Solo offers a series of Master Classes, giving solo performers a new tool to develop their talents. This educational program has included classes led by Allan Corduner, Pau Aran Gimeno, James Lecesne, Fiona Shaw, and Austin Pendleton. More about the festival and United Solo’s offerings can be found at www.unitedsolo.org.