Photo Flash: Winners of the AUGUST WILSON MONOLOGUE COMPETITION Announced
True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theaters announce the winners of the 11th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition National Finals. The event was held on Monday, May 6th at 7:00 p.m. at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street). The first place winner was Trajan Clayton from Atlanta; second place, Katara Willis from Buffalo; and third place, Abad Viquez from Chicago.
The evening was hosted by Tony Award®Winner Kenny Leon with special musical guest Guy Davis. The panel of celebrity judges included Narda E. Alcorn (Production Stage Manager: Choir Boy, The Iceman Cometh), Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Marys Seacole), Danielle Brooks (Tony Award® Nominee: The Color Purple, "Orange is the New Black"), Roslyn Ruff (Fairview, X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation) and Pauletta Washington(Beloved).
The event featured high school students from Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Buffalo, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, California; New Haven, Connecticut; New York, New York; Greensboro, North Carolina; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Seattle, Washington performing monologues by the late, legendary American playwright.
The top three contestants from the national competition received monetary awards. The first place winner received a $3000 cash prize; second place, a $2000 cash prize; and third place, a $1000 cash prize. Each of the winners will also become eligible for college scholarship opportunities, and all finalists received the gift of TCG's Century Cycle collection.
Founded in 2007, the 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 encountered Wilson's ten-play cycle and received coaching from teaching artists as they prepared their monologues for local, city-wide and national competitions.
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 Kerry Washington and Daniel Radcliffe.
This year's competition afforded students from these cities around the country the opportunity to attend a Broadway show, The Prom, work closely with one of Wilson's closest collaborators - director Kenny Leon - and explore popular Manhattan attractions before making their Broadway stage debuts. The two finalists from each regional city competed in national semifinals, with 15 students advancing to the finals on the August Wilson Stage on Monday evening, May 6th.
The August Wilson 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.
Photo Credit: Gustavo Monroy
Katara Willis, Trajan Clayton, Kenny Leon and Abad Viquez