August Wilson Program

On May 1, 2017 LEAP high school senior Sarah Rodriguez (pictured far right) won first place in the National  August Wilson Monologue Competition!  

 A theater student at Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood, Brooklyn, Sarah is part of  LEAP’s August Wilson Program in which served over 500 high school students and  introduced them to the life and work of renowned playwright August Wilson. 
The year-long  program is facilitated by theater professionals who help students explore Wilson’s Century  Cycle, a series of plays that chronicle the African-American experience in the 20th Century,  with particular focus on character monologues. Sarah came in first place at LEAP’s NYC  August Wilson Competition and went on to compete against students from eight other  cities at the national competition at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.

 Sarah performed a monologue in the character of Rose from Wilson’s award-winning play  and movie Fences. After graduating high school, Sarah plans to work towards a BFA in  Acting.

The National August Wilson Monologue Competition took place at the August Wilson Theatre and was produced by Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theaters.
LEAP’s highly regarded August Wilson Monologue Program introduces high school students to the life and work of renowned playwright August Wilson. In this year-long program, led by LEAP’s skilled theater professionals, students explore Wilson’s 10-play Century Cycle, a dramatic chronicle of the 20th-Century African-American experience. With guidance, the students examine and explore important social issues and historical events that relate to who they are as individuals. Students strengthen their acting skills and performance techniques while entering the world of monologues from all of Wilson’s works. As part of the program, students meet with Broadway actors, directors, writers and designers.

  • Students learn about the life and legacy of August Wilson and his Century Cycle.
  • Students choose one character to inhabit and select a monologue to perform at their own school-wide competition.
  • Winners from each school participate in LEAP’s New York City August Wilson Monologue Competition.
  • Finalists advance to the National August Wilson Monologue Competition at Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre in (now home to Jersey Boys) to compete against students from 10 cities.

August Wilson Program

“The residency enhanced the Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum through understanding African American life and literature analysis.”
     -LEAP participating classroom teacher