"Students Celebrate August Wilson in the Third Annual NYC August Wilson Monologue Competition"
New York – High school students from five schools in all five boroughs will celebrate August Wilson’s life and work in the third annual NYC August Wilson Monologue Competition on April 12, 2011. The top three winners of the New York City competition will compete against winners from six other participating cities in the national finals on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre on May 9, 2011. The NYC competition is presented by LeAp, one of New York City’s leading arts-in education organizations in collaboration with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theaters. The National and local finals are free and open to the public.
At the citywide competition, fifteen students will perform 2-3 minute monologues of their choosing from one of the ten plays in August Wilson’s Century Cycle. Contestants will be judged by a panel of theater professionals. Honored guests will include Adriane Lenox, a Tony Award-winning actress for Doubt, and Chris Chalk, who performed the role of Corey in the Broadway revival of Fences. The program will be hosted by Jack Viertel, Creative director of Jujamcyn Theaters and the Artistic Director of New York City Center’s Encores! who was instrumental in bringing six of August Wilson’s plays to Broadway.
“The goal of the competition is to build partnerships with schools and theaters across the United States, and to create educational materials about August Wilson that allow students to connect these important theater works with educational curricula like history, social studies and literature,” said Todd Kreidler, Associate Artistic Director, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company. “This monologue competition offers students of all races the opportunity to inhabit the lives and speak the words of these vital, lively characters.”
August Wilson’s Century Cycle is a singular achievement in American theater. Each of the ten world-class plays is set in a different decade of the twentieth century. At the plays’ core are soaring, lyrical monologues that take the song, laughter, pain, and rich content of African American life and place it in the mouths of the most varied ensemble of characters written since Shakespeare. The inspiration for the competition was sparked by two of August Wilson’s closest living collaborators, Kenny Leon and Todd Kreidler. Kenny worked closely with Wilson directing many of the Century Cycle plays on Broadway and at major regional theaters and True Colors Associate Artistic Director Todd was Dramaturge for Wilson’s last play and Director of his one-man show.
Funding for the NYC August Wilson Monologue Competition comes from the New York City Department of Education and the Leon Lowenstein Foundation.
Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp) is committed to improving the quality of public education through a unique hands-on, arts-based approach to teaching the core curriculum. For 34 years, LeAp has provided more than two million NYC students in grades K through 12 with nationally recognized music, dance, theater, and visual arts programs that are integrated into academic instruction. LeAp offers in-school residencies, afterschool activities, teacher trainings, parent workshops, and assembly programs to schools citywide, conducts programs in hospitals, shelters. and cultural institutions and develops educational materials. LeAp empowers students to reach their full potential.