Renée Taylor's autobiographical solo show My Life on a Diet, which played an extended Off-Broadway run this past summer at the Theatre at St. Clement’s, won the annual The United Solo Special Award, which recognizes artists who have made significant contributions to solo theatre during the year.
Best known for her role on the hit sitcom The Nanny, Taylor looks back on a lifetime of memorable roles in Hollywood and on Broadway in the solo comedy.
Also nominated this year were Derek DelGaudio (In & Of Itself), Alison S. M. Kobayashi (Say Something Bunny!), John Lithgow (Stories By Heart), Chita Rivera (An Evening with Chita Rivera), and Bruce Springsteen (Springsteen on Broadway).
“I’m so surprised. I came here thinking I was going to present flowers to Bruce Springsteen," Taylor said. "When you are onstage by yourself, you have to be very brave. During my run this past summer, I was afraid every single night right before I went on. Then I would say to myself, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?! They can throw things at me! … So? I’ll just duck.’ It’s good to be afraid. And when you face your fear, the response just may be a lot of love. Just like this wonderful award.”
Previous recipients of the United Solo Special Award are Anna Deavere Smith (2010 – Let Me Down Easy), Patti LuPone (2011 – The Gypsy in My Soul), John Leguizamo (2012 – Ghetto Klown), Fiona Shaw (2013 – The Testament of Mary), Billy Crystal (2014 – 700 Sundays), James Lecesne (2015 - The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey), Staceyann Chin and Cynthia Nixon (2016 - MotherStruck!), and Michael Moore (2017 – The Terms of My Surrender).
The award was presented at the November 18 closing night gala for the ninth season of United Solo, the largest festival of its kind in the world. United Solo presented 130 productions during its September 13–18 run.