Sonal Shah is an actress, writer, and comedienne who was one of the first Indian-American females to appear in a large role on a network comedy (Scrubs). She has also worked on Superstore (NBC), New Girl (Fox), Spaced Out (NBC), Better Things (FX), PTA (ABC Family), Transparent (Amazon) and countless theater productions in Chicago and Los Angeles. An alumnus of Second City Chicago, Sonal’s voice can currently be heard as a bumbling bandit on Disney’s Mira The Royal Detective. She also voices for Cartoon Network’s The Powerpuff Girls and Amazon’s Costume Quest. She recently shot the lead role in a film The Amazing Annabelle and a supporting role in Definition Please. When she is not on set, Sonal teaches acting at the acclaimed John Rosenfeld Studios in Los Angeles.
Always a performer, Sonal hails from Wheaton, Illinois and earned her BA in Theater from Loyola University of Chicago where she graduated cum laude with a major in theatre and a concentration in pre-medicine. A vocal arts and human rights advocate, Sonal (along with actor Parvesh Cheena) hosted the Asian American Institute for Congressional Studies 22nd Annual Gala in Washington DC and welcomed keynote speaker, President Barack Obama. Frequently collaborating together, Sonal and Parvesh have hosted events such as NBC Universal’s Diwali Gala and the American India Foundation’s gala on Wall Street where they raised 2.1 million for education in India. Most recently, Sonal hosted Aiden’s Red Envelope Foundation Benefit to help children with disabilities.
In addition to the acting on screen, Sonal has performed at such theaters as the Tony Award winning Goodman Theatre, Collaboraction, Running With Scissors, and Stir Friday Night. She has also supplemented her acting education by studying and performing at such prestigious institutions as The Moscow Art Theatre School, The Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, The Lonestar Ensemble, Artwallah, CAPE, and I.O. Chicago. Sonal has also studied under legendary acting teachers such as Lesly Kahn, Margie Haber and John Rosenfeld. She frequently performs in readings and was selected to perform in the NBC Diversity Showcase. Sonal is performing the lead in a powerful play in the upcoming Young Playwrights Festival. In addition, she has tested for 6 network pilots.
Sonal’s work has been highlighted by multiple outlets, including Anokhi Magazine where she was listed as one of the top 10 Fascinating South Asians of the year. Critics highlighted Sonal’s performance in award-winning “The First Date,” a short film by Janella Lacson. “The First Date” would go on to win the Audience Award at Outfest Film Festival, and named as one of the finalists for the Iris Prize. Sonal has also been honored and invited to speak by such academic instructions as Harvard University chapter of S.A.S.A., the Alpha Gamma Sigma Scholastic Honor Society Leadership Conference and the Indo-American Community Services who praised her “Outstanding Dedication and Support for the Community’. She has also spoken at events for the South Asian Network, the North American South Asian Bar Association, and the Chicago Foundation for Women: Asian American Leadership Council Achievement Awards.
Aside from acting in tv, film, animation, and commercials, you can find Sonal around Los Angeles dancing (she is a professional Bollywood dancer), doing standup, writing, and directing. Instagram/@thesonaloption, Twitter/@thesonalshah, Facebook/Sonal Shah.