Awards were announced at the Gala held on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at Theatre Row in New York, following the festival's conclusion. Many artists were recognized with awards for their achievements in the art of solo performance. Details and the full list of award recipients can be found here.
During its ten-week run, the festival offered 120 stage productions representing six continents. This past season, the festival presented productions created by new talents and show business veterans.
Justin Lemieux presented Warm Soda during a sold-out, one-night-only performance at Dallas' Theatre Three Theatre Too space on September 10, 2017, and again on September 20, 2017 at Theatre Row in New York. Lemieux received news of the award on November 20, 2017, following the close of the festival.
"I'm just so happy people came to the show. I'm honored to receive any sort of recognition and thank the United Solo Academy and panel for giving me this honor," says Lemieux.
Justin Lemieux is currently developing two new monologues. He is a Dallas-based actor, writer, and monologist. Warm Soda is a memory piece, which Lemieux calls, " A cross between The Wonder Years and Annie Hall," and encapsulates the thrill of new friendship all the way through the grief and confusion that comes when those deep connections are severed, or rather, frayed. A love story about coming of age, Warm Soda wants to know, "Were you the kid with the good snacks in your house, or did you gaze longingly into the bounty of your best friend's overflowing pantry?"
This production, a nostalgic examination of friendship, is an original work by Lemieux; a thoughtful reflection on a childhood friendship. Bonded by a shared love of video games and junk food, Justin and his best friend Joey grow together, and apart, in the niche, technological boom of the 1990s.
Warm Soda was created during Lemieux's time at Southern Methodist University as a graduate student in the MFA Acting Program, under the guidance of Rhonda Blair, where director Jake Nice first saw the performance. The production was revived as part of House Party Theatre's 2016 evening of solo shows, HP3. Though Jake and Justin grew up in different generations, and different parts of the country, Jake immediately felt connected to the story. This re-worked version of the performance is a true collaboration of writer and director, each bringing valuable insight to the performance. Justin was accepted into the 2017 United Solo Festival in New York City and performed the piece there in September. Justin continues to tighten and develop this work under the mentorship of celebrated playwright and actor Tom Dugan, whose original solo piece Wiesenthal is currently on a national tour.
Original post on BroadwayWorld.com