LeAp Hosts 1st August Wilson Monologue Competition Tonight At Washington Irving

Learning through an Expanded Arts Program, LeAp, presents the first ever NYC August Wilson Monologue Competition. The 16 winners from the preliminary rounds at Hillcrest High School, Curtis High School, Fordham High School for the Arts, and Gramercy Arts High School will perform soaring, lyrical monologues from revered playwright August Wilson's Century Cycle plays on April 6 at the Washington Irving High School Auditorium from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Three finalists will be chosen to move forward to the Inaugural National August Wilson Monologue Competition at the August Wilson Theatre on May 27, August Wilson's birthday, to compete against six finalists from Atlanta, where the program began, and Pittsburgh for cash prizes, scholarships, and a trip to Broadway's revival of August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson, a Tony Award winning actor for August Wilson's Seven Guitars and Emmy Award nominee for Lackawanna Blues, is one of the accomplished guest speakers at the event. Judging the event will be Frankie Faison, actor from HBO's "The Wire", and Lou Myers, a NAACP Image Award winner for his role in August Wilson's King Hedley II, and many more professionals from the theater world.

"We decided that a way to keep August Wilson alive as a theater artist is to bring these plays to young folks and have them compete, work on diction, confidence, and perseverance," said Kenny Leon, one of August Wilson's closest living collaborators and Co-Founder and Artistic Director of True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta, on the impetus behind the program.

August Wilson's works are a singular achievement in the American Theater. At the plays' core are monologues that take the song, laughter, pain, and rich content of African American life and place it in the mouths of the greatest and varied ensemble of characters written since Shakespeare.

For over 30 years, LeAp, an educational service organization, has been teaching the academic curriculum through the arts and developing programs designed to help students with social issues. Today, LeAp continues to grow and expand, and is currently also pioneering an innovative Global Cultural Literacy curriculum. LeAp works in over 300 public schools, community-based organizations, shelters and cultural institutions throughout the New York metropolitan area, serving over 220,000 students and 8,500 teachers. LeAp's Executive Director is Ila Lane Gross and its Associate Executive Director is Alice Krieger. For more information, please visit www.leapnyc.org.


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