Boston High School Student Wins National Champion Title In Next Narrative Monologue Competition

After winning the Boston regional competition, Sakura Rosenthal of Boston Arts Academy, and participant in The Huntington's after-school workshops, wins nationals.

By: Jun. 08, 2023
Boston High School Student Wins National Champion Title In Next Narrative Monologue Competition

The Huntington Education Department has announced Boston Regional Champion Sakura Rosenthal, a junior at Boston Arts Academy, was named the 2023 Next Narrative Monologue Competition (NNMC) National Champion on stage at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, NYC on May 8, 2023. She competed with students from all over the country, including fellow Boston regional finalist and Boston Arts Academy student Seine Young.


Now in its second year, NNMC was conceived by True Colors Theatre Company's Artistic Director Jamil Jude to expose students to today's leading contemporary Black playwrights while instilling confidence in all to find their voices. The competition takes place regionally in twelve cities across the country, serving students grades 9-12. The Huntington's Education Department runs NNMC as a free after-school workshop series culminating in the regional competition. The top two winners from each region participate in the National Finals, receiving an all-expense paid trip to New York City that includes workshops with theatre professionals, the opportunity to perform on stage in NYC, tickets to a Broadway show, and a cash prize for the top three winners. This year saw 16 student finalists and 31 contributing playwrights participate in the program.


Huntington Resident Teaching Artist Naheem Garcia and Education Programs Associate Latasha Snider have run the Boston workshops for the last two years, working with Sakura and other students every step of the way. Sakura has participated in The Huntington Education Department's NNMC after-school workshops both years the program has existed. At the Apollo Theatre, each national finalist was awarded $250, and Sakura took home an additional $3,000 award as national champion.


“I am so deeply proud of Sakura, Naheem, and Tasha,” says Huntington Director of Education Meg O'Brien. Sakura's performance of 'Happiness' by Rachel Lynett was deeply nuanced, grounded in authenticity, and took her audiences on a journey of self-discovery, love, joy, yearning, and hope. When you watch Sakura perform, you forget for a few minutes that she is still a high school student.”


O'Brien continues: “Naheem and Tasha's work as educators guides their students in newly written monologues to find the truth in their pieces, connect them to their own lived experiences, and then bring those performances to such big stages – all while providing our students a safe space toto exist, to grapple with this world, and to create. They are an extraordinary teaching duo, and I am honored they are a part of our department and this community.”



True Colors' Next Narrative Monologue Competition features True Colors-commissioned works from America's leading contemporary Black playwrights that engage students in artful exploration of 21st century themes, while instilling confidence in all to find their voices. This program is free and open to all young people in grades 9-12.


The objectives of the Next Narrative Monologue Competition are to introduce students to today's leading contemporary Black writers, expose students to acting techniques that enhance their knowledge of the art and skill of performance, utilize the arts to support students in making co-curricular connections, investigate how history and culture influence personal perspective through artful exploration, and embolden students to use their voices to inspire social action.


Celebrating 40 years of outstanding theatre, The Huntington is Boston's theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, The Huntington provides life-changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Managing Director Michael Maso, The Huntington reopened the historic Huntington Theatre this fall after its transformational renovation. A storied venue with a bold vision for the future, the renovation and building project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit


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