8th Annual National August Wilson Monologue Competition Held Tonight
The event, which is free and open to the public, features high school students from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Seattle performing monologues by the late, legendary American playwright. There will be a special performance by American Blues musician and actor, Guy Davis.
Founded in 2007, the Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition aims to expose a new generation of creative minds to the life's work and artistic legacy of this seminal American playwright. Program participants in cities across the country encounter Wilson's ten-play cycle and receive coaching from teaching artists as they prepare their monologues for local, city-wide and national competitions.
A panel of celebrity judges will evaluate the competitors and select a winner. The evening will also include performances by well-known Wilsonian veterans and special musical guests.
Among those who have previously lent their support as performers, judges and guests are Phylicia Rashad, Russell Hornsby, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Scott Rudin, Guy Davis, Lynn Nottage, Lynda Gravatt, Keith Randolph Smith, Tamara Tunie, Katori Hall, Maurice Hines, Roslyn Ruff, Crystal Dickinson, Brandon J. Dirden, Chris Chalk, LaTanya Richardson, Heather Alicia Simms, Pauletta Washington, and Mykelti Williamson, among others. In the past, students have had the opportunity to spend time with other prominent Broadway performers over the course of the weekend, including Denzel Washington and Daniel Radcliffe.
This year's competition will afford students from these cities around the country the opportunity to attend two Broadway shows, Hamilton and The Color Purple, work closely with two of Wilson's closest collaborators: director Kenny Leon and dramaturg Todd Kreidler, and explore popular Manhattan attractions before making their Broadway stage debuts. The two finalists from each regional city will compete on the August Wilson Stage on Monday evening, May 2nd.
The top three contestants from the national competition receive monetary awards. The first place winner will receive a $1500 cash prize, the runner-up a $1000 cash prize and the honorable mention a $500 cash prize. Each of the winners will also become eligible for college scholarship opportunities and all finalists receive the gift of TCG's Century Cycle collection.
The Monologue Competition is also featured in "The Start of Dreams", a documentary directed by The Horne Brothers. Featuring A-list actors like Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and Phylicia Rashad, "The Start of Dreams" is packed with Hollywood's elite weighing in on this important art form and what it means to the United States. The documentary has been screened at 9 festivals across the country including the Atlanta Film Festival, the Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the UrbanWorld Festival in New York. A trailer for the film is available at the link listed below.
The national August Wilson Monologue Competition is presented by Delta Air Lines and Time Warner with additional funding support from Publix Supermarket Charities, Bank of America, and Macy's.