What Style of Solo Artist Are You?

Watch the work of other solo artists.
Watch the work of other solo artists.

One of the most amazing aspects of creating a one-person play is that you get to create your solo show however you choose. However, you can learn how to create solo theatre if you watch the work of other solo artists. What style of solo artist are you?

“Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?”  
-Voltaire

The whole point of this genre is to tap into your unique, authentic voice. It is your solo creation and no one can tell your story better than you!

That said, the very best way to learn how to create solo theatre is to watch the work of other solo artists. 

Whether you love someone else’s solo show or detest it, you will learn a tremendous amount about your own style as a solo artist simply based upon what does and does not resonate with you in other solo shows.

Today’s blog will focus on a couple of successful solo artists who may inspire and inform your own solo art and continue moving you toward your solo show goals.

Sarah Jones

Watch the work of other solo artists.
Sarah Jones.

When I was living in New York City over a decade ago, I had the privilege of seeing the goddess of Solo Theatre perform on Broadway, Sarah Jones. At that time she was performing her One Woman Show, Bridge & Tunnel which was originally produced by Oscar winner Meryl Streep. The show examines the lives of a diverse group of immigrants from various backgrounds framed by one event: an annual poetry reading.

Since moving to Los Angeles, I have since had the honor of watching Sarah perform her newest solo work Sell Buy Date at the Geffen Playhouse, as well as the Bing Theatre, accompanied by several of my students. We were so thrilled to get to meet her after the show and robust question & answer segment. I continue to be astounded by her polished and profound artistry. Sell Buy Date is a solo show that is inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the sex industry yet set in a futuristic classroom with multiple fantasy elements throughout.

Watch the Work of Other Solo Artists.
Sarah Jones, Me and My Students.

If you are a gifted character actor who loves to explore the full range of human emotion and leave your audience laughing, crying, and thinking deeply, then Sarah’s work is not to be missed. 

The New York Times has named Sarah “a master of the genre.” Sarah is also a Tony and Obie Award-winning Solo Artist. 

If you have TED Talk aspirations, then you will also want to check out Sarah’s multiple main-stage TED Talks which obtained almost six million views! 

And if you want to create solo art that raises awareness about issues you care about, then you will be inspired by Sarah’s messages which shed light on ethnic, racial, and economic disparities in the United States and do a great deal to empower women as well.

John Leguizamo

Watch the work of other solo artists.
The very best way to learn how to create solo theatre is to watch the work of other solo artists.

A couple of my students and I continued to enjoy the excellent Los Angeles theatre scene and had the honor of watching John Leguizamo perform one of his many extraordinary solo shows, Latin History for Morons.

If you want to see how to deliver true edutainment (education plus entertainment) to your audience, then you will not want to miss the work of John Leguizamo.

In his one-man Broadway show, John powerfully utilizes both humor and heartbreak to explore 3,000 years of Latin history while also incorporating the troubling story of his son being bullied at school. 

John’s solo art also infuses magnificent multimedia, dynamic dance, captivating characters, and is always an athletic extravaganza as John energetically uses every inch of the stage in his performances.

If you aspire to be a solo artist who is charismatic, socially impactful, and absolutely hysterical then John’s solo art will be a game changer for your creative process.

Watch the work of other solo artists.
John Leguizamo -Watch the work of other solo artists.

And don’t stop with just John and Sarah’s work! 

There are so many other inspiring and diverse Solo Artists in this genre for you to familiarize yourself with. 

Click on these names below to explore the solo work of these other exceptional artists…

ANNA DEAVERE SMITH

WHOOPI GOLDBERG

BO BURNHAM

SPALDING GRAY

PHOEBE WALLER BRIDGE

DANNY HOCH

MIKE BIRBIGLIA

And the list goes on! 

I also encourage you to watch the work of your peers. Whether the solo theatre you see is performed by a professional or a novice, you will surely continue to observe what makes or breaks the theatrical experience for you. 

As you expose yourself to the artistry of other solo performers, pay attention to the technical design in their shows. Do you enjoy technically heavy shows or do you prefer simpler design?

Notice how clear the character distinctions are in another artist’s play. Are you confused by who is who, or do you forget you are watching one person because their portrayals are so spot on?

Ask yourself if you are engaged and invested in the story that they are telling, or do you find yourself bored counting down the minutes until they bow and you can leave? Why were you drawn in, or why were you disconnected? 

All of these questions and more will be things to keep in mind as you examine the world of solo theatre.

Hopefully, the Solo Artists mentioned today will illuminate new possibilities for your solo creation and continue to guide you along your own solo journey.

Jessica Lynn Johnson
Founder & CEO of Soaring Solo LLC
SoaringSoloArtist@gmail.com
www.SoaringSoloStudios.com

Enjoy these Solo Theatre Resources to further guide you on your solo journey!

Tune in and support the Soaring Solo community in the LARGEST streaming festival in the country, SOLOFEST 2021 as Whitefire celebrates the ENCORES selected from this year’s participants!

Award winning director and developer, Jessica Lynn Johnson, directs a slew of powerful solo shows addressing various impactful and inspiring topics.

This enticing lineup can be found by CLICKING HERE FOR MORE INFO.

Start writing your own solo show one freewrite at a time with “FREEWrite Friday!”

Join BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST WINNER Jessica Lynn Johnson for FREEWrite Friday!

Utilizing thought-provoking writing prompts, Jessica will lead you in writing exercises that are sure to assist you in the development of your Solo Show.

A one-person play is not typically written in one fell swoop. Rather, the Soaring Solo Methodology teaches that the creation of solo art is much like that of creating a Mosaic…one beautiful piece at a time.

All that is required to attend this inspiring event is a willingness to explore, having a pen, paper, or some other means of capturing your thoughts, the ability to access Zoom, and signing up on this page as your official RSVP.

We look forward to having you join the Soaring Solo Community in this event because your story matters!

CLICK HERE TO RSVP and obtain the Zoom link and password.

Attend the Soaring Solo FREE One-Person Play Development class ONLINE!

No matter where you are in the creation of your solo show, idea phase, curiosity phase, full draft written, touring the festival and college market, BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST and founder of Soaring Solo, Jessica Lynn Johnson, will meet you where you are at and take you to the next level! All that is required to attend is a willingness to explore, a pen, and some paper. No previous writing or performance experience necessary, and no need to have written anything to bring to class. Each week Jessica will guide you in exercises to help generate and stage NEW material! So come and meet other creatives in a supportive space for expression and exploration! The class is ongoing and so you may pop in and out as you please as long as you RSVP by clicking here for this FREE ONE PERSON PLAY CLASS.

Schedule an Online Coaching Consultation with Jessica Lynn Johnson to discuss the possibilities for your solo show!

Jessica brings her 15+ years of solo theatre expertise to work privately with solo artists from all over the world on an as needed basis.

A 1 on 1 Consultation is for you if…

-You are curious about creating a solo show, but you need writing prompts to help you generate material.
– You are tossing around ideas for your solo show, but you need some accountability and encouragement to commit those ideas to the page.
-You have already written some material, but you need expert feedback on editing, story structure and play formatting.
-You have a great first draft, but need guidance on how to utilize multimedia and solo theatre technique in order to make your show a dynamic piece of solo theatre.
-You already premiered your solo show and now you want some tips on how to tour colleges and festivals, and garner accolades and great reviews!
-You have heard great things about Jessica’s work and you’re curious about hiring her as a Director & Developer for your solo show, but first you want to feel her out and see if she is the right fit for you and your project.

Wherever you may find yourself on your solo journey, Jessica will help you overcome whatever immediate obstacle stands between you and your solo success.  

If you resonate with many of the things on this list, then take the next step by emailing SoaringSoloArtist@gmail.com for more information.

Jessica Lynn Johnson
Author: Jessica Lynn Johnson

Jessica Lynn Johnson (Director and Developer) is a published playwright, recipient of BEST NATIONAL SOLO ARTIST AWARD, Advisory Board Member of the LA Women's Theatre Festival, and Founder and CEO of Soaring Solo LLC. Jessica has aided in the development of over 150 solo shows (and is still going strong)! As a performer, Jessica has “edu-tained” international audiences touring her own one person shows ZE and OBLIVIOUS TO EVERYONE for over 15 years. Jessica's projects have taken home awards such as TOP OF FRINGE, HFF ENCORE PRODUCER AWARDS, TVOLUTION BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE, LARRY CORNWALL AWARD FOR MUSICAL EXCELLENCE & several other accolades! Jessica was also nominated for the Female Director of Distinction in Theatre by Girl Trip LLC at the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival.