The dynamic actor, dancer, singer, creator (but mostly actor) Sonal Shah has more to offer than what meets the eye. She was one of the first Indian-American females to appear in a major 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. Sonal’s voice and singing can be heard as a bumbling bandit on Disney’s upcoming Mira Royal Detective. She also voices on Cartoon Network’s The Powerpuff Girls and Amazon’s Costume Quest. She recently shot the title role in short film The Amazing Annabelle and a supporting role in feature film Definition Please. Sonal starred in The Blank Theatre’s critically acclaimed docudrama play “Unopened,” where her performance was praised as “honest, captivating, impeccably present, and nuanced.” She performed as one of the leads in musical theatre workshop The Future Perfect for Broadway’s Kristin Hanggi. Sonal teaches acting at the acclaimed John Rosenfeld Studios in Los Angeles. She is also an active member of Women in Film and an alumnus of Second City Chicago.
Always a performer, Sonal hails from Wheaton, Illinois and earned her BA in Theater from Loyola University of Chicago where she delivered the commencement address at graduation whilst being cum laude with a major in theatre, and a concentration in pre-medicine. A vocal arts and human rights advocate, Sonal is often the guest comedian host for events. Most notably, Sonal hosted the Asian American Institute for Congressional Studies 22nd Annual Gala in Washington DC and welcomed keynote speaker, President Barack Obama. She has also hosted galas for NBC Universal and the American India Foundation on Wall Street where she helped raise 2.1 million for education in India. Just last month, Sonal hosted Aiden’s Red Envelope Foundation Benefit to help children with disabilities.
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 at Harvard University, The Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade, The Lonestar Ensemble, Artwallah, CAPE, and I.O. Chicago. Sonal has studied under legendary acting teachers such as Lesly Kahn, Margie Haber and John Rosenfeld. She was selected to perform in NBC’s Diversity Showcase and 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 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.
Sonal is way more than what she’s done. She does comedy. She does drama. She dances, sings, writes, and directs. From broad to straight to charactery to naturally grounded, the multi-talented Sonal can be trusted with literally any role. By the way, she’s also funny-with-heart, kind, smart, and has been a bridesmaid 23 times.