“That Wonder Boy,” an autobiographical show written by Twin Cities performer Bob Stromberg, won three awards Sunday at the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York.
Stromberg won for “Best One-Man Show” and Risa Brainin was honored as best director. The piece also won the Backstage Audience Award — an online poll sponsored by Backstage Magazine. Both Stromberg and Brainin were in New York for the ceremony and Stromberg said they had to wait through 30 awards before their names were called. Then, they won three of the final five honors.
“It’s the first award that I’ve won since I won for playing the accordion when I was 7,” Stromberg said Monday morning.
“We had no clue,” said producer Dennis Babcock, who mounted an Indiegogo campaign to get Stromberg to New York for two sold-out performances at the end of October. “But we got an email last week encouraging us to have someone at the awards.”
That usually means something is afoot. The festival, in its sixth year, chose 150 shows from six continents out of 800 applications.
Babcock said he’s been working with Theater Mogul, the company that sends out “Defending the Caveman” and other small shows, for getting both “That Wonder Boy,” and “Triple Espresso” (which Stromberg helped create) on a national circuit.
“It could not be better timing,” Babcck said.
Stromberg’s show is one man’s ruminations about what makes art and whether it comes from great suffering or great joy. He strings together beautifully crafted and poignant stories from his own life. He opened the show several years ago at the Music Box Theater in Minneapolis.
“Even my sixth-grade valentine came out to see the show – and my mom and dad were able to attend,” Stromberg said Monday. “This is really a wonderful validation.”