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Chicago High School August Wilson Monologue Competition Will Be Held at The Goodman Theatre

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Twenty-one Chicago high school students will compete in the finals of the 11th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition for a chance to represent Chicago in the National Competition at the August Wilson Theatre in New York City. Hundreds of students competed across the city in preliminary rounds. The finals will be held at The Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn on Monday, March 9, 2020 at 6:00 pm. The August Wilson Monologue Competition is free and open to the public.

The top two winners of the Chicago finals will compete in the National Finals at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway on Monday, May 4, 2020.

Competitors in the Finals include: Harmony Palmore of The Chicago High School for the Performing Arts; Zianis Gomez of CICS ChicagoQuest; Dalencia Brown and Diane Texas of DRW College Prep; Brea Howard, Mena Sharkey and Cherish Ray of Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts; Maral Chinbat of the Advanced Arts Program at Gallery 37; Anthony Hightower of Kenwood Academy High School; Demi Davis, Diniah Harris, Angel Rhone, and Ada Roberts of Nicholas Senn High School; Mia Mack Neal of Perspectives Leadership Charter High School; Julissa Contreras of Prosser Career Academy High School; Island Washington of Simeon Career Academy High School; Nyah Ware and Bri'Yon Watts of Southland College Prep; Yurithi Zavala of Thomas Kelly High School; and Zakkiyah Stweard and Travion O'neil of William Rainey Harper High School.

Judges for the Chicago finals are Kelvin Roston Jr., James Vincent Meredith, Sydney Chatman, Pemon Rami and Rebecca Rugg.

The August Wilson Monologue Competition is presented by Goodman Theatre and Derrick Sanders, in collaboration with the Department of Performing Arts at The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the League of Chicago Theatres, and True Colors Theatre Company. Open to Chicago area high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the competition gives students an opportunity to explore and share the richness of August Wilson's Century Cycle and incorporating the plays into the standard high school curriculum. Coordinator Derrick Sanders hopes to continue building robust partnerships with schools across Chicago, creating educational opportunities that allow students to connect to August Wilson and his work through the study of history, social studies and literature.

For the Chicago and National competition, students perform a 2-3-minute monologue of their choosing from one of the ten plays in August Wilson's Century Cycle. They are adjudicated by a panel of Chicago theatre professionals based on preparedness, understanding of the text, emotional connection to the material, and commitment to the performance. Event sponsor, Goodman Theatre, was the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in Wilson's acclaimed Century Cycle-including world premiere productions of Seven Guitars (1995) and Gem of the Ocean (2003).

Three Chicago finalists will receive cash scholarships and the first and second place winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York to compete in the finals. The winner of the Chicago finals is also awarded a partial scholarship to attend the University of Illinois Chicago's School of Theatre and Music. The top two finalists will receive additional coaching before competing in the national competition in New York, where they will participate in a weekend of activities around the competition and national prizes including monetary awards and scholarship opportunities. In eight of the ten years, Chicago has had a student place in the top three national finalists.

Now in its eleventh year, most students come to the competition through programs at their schools, after-school programs and education programs at local professional theatres. The work of AWMC Outreach this year includedteacher/coach training sessions and six in-school residency programs for students. These programs were guided by Sanders and taught by several AWMC Alumni (Tiffany Fulson, Christian Helem and Angelica Masson) and master teachers of Wilson's work. Through the ten-week residency, students were led through all of the essential skills and objective criteria for performing his work. The students acquired an increased competence and confidence in analyzing and presenting Wilson's texts. Through this type of specific work, the AWMC can expand the scope of students by reaching schools not currently being served by theatres in Chicago. This year's AWMC Outreach Residencies were located at Young Women's Leadership Charter School, DRW College Prep, Perspectives Leadership Charter School, CICS ChicagoQuest, Westinghouse College Prep High School and Michelle Clark Academic Prep.

The 2020 AWMC Chicago Preliminaries were held at Victory Gardens Theatre on February 10, the Black Ensemble Theatre on February 11, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts on February 13. The Semi-final competition was hosted by The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) on February 24, 2020. Regional competitions take place in twelve cities nationwide, including Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Greensboro, Los Angeles, New Haven, New York, Norfolk, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, and Seattle.

Chicago's August Wilson Monologue Competition is sponsored by Allstate Insurance Company and the Chadwick Boseman Foundation

For more information about the Chicago competition, visit:

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