True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theaters Announce Winners of 9th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition
True Colors Theatre Company (Kenny Leon, Co-Founding Artistic Director) and Jujamcyn Theaters (Jordan Roth, President) are proud to announce the winners of the 9th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition that was held last night, on Monday, May 1st at 7:00 p.m. at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street). In first place, Sarah Rodriguez from New York, in second place, Ryan Lewis from Atlanta, and the honorable mention went to Alexis Cannard from Portland.
The evening was hosted by Tony Award Winner Kenny Leon with special musical guest Guy Davis. The panel of celebrity judges included: Tony Award Winning scenic designer David Gallo (Holler If Ya Hear Me, Radio Golf), Obie Award and Lortel Award winner Roslyn Ruff (All the Way, "The Help"), Broadway actor, playwright and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Stick-fly, ABC's "Castle"), Broadway actor Brandon J. Dirden (Jitney, Netflix's "The Get Down") and Pauletta Washington (Beloved). There was a special performance by American Blues musician and actor, Guy Davis and a tribute to legendary actor Bill Nunn (Do the Right Thing, Fences).
The annual event, which is free and open to the public, features high school students from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland and Seattle performing monologues by the late, legendary American playwright.
The top three contestants from the national competition received 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.
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 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 Denzel Washington and Daniel Radcliffe.
This year's competition afforded students from these cities around the country the opportunity to attend two Broadway shows, Groundhog Day and Sweat, 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 on the August Wilson Stage on Monday evening, May 1st.
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.
ABOUT True Colors Theatre COMPANY
True Colors Theatre Company is based in Atlanta, GA and lead by Artistic Director Kenny Leon, and Managing Director Jennifer Dwyer McEwen. True Colors' mission is grounded and centered in the rich canon of African American classics with a strong commitment to diverse new voices. True Colors strives to be an important voice in the American discussion of diversity including plays and playwrights from various times, cultures and perspectives. True Colors' next shows are Stephen Adly Guirgis' 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner Between Riverside and Crazy in July 2017 and the regional premiere of the Tupac Shakur musical Holler If You Hear Me in September 2017.
ABOUT Jujamcyn Theaters
Jujamcyn Theaters, founded in 1956, is widely recognized as a Broadway innovator, championing shows that push theatrical boundaries and delivering service and hospitality that redefines both the theatergoing and theatre-making experiences. The company owns and operates five Broadway theatres including the St. James, Al Hirschfeld, August Wilson, Eugene O'Neill, and Walter Kerr. The dynamic leadership team is led by Jordan Roth, Paul Libin and Jack Viertel, the company's President, Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President, respectively. Jujamcyn presents some of the most influential and successful musicals and plays on Broadway today. Current productions include The Book of Mormon, Groundhog Day, Amélie, Kinky Boots, and Present Laughter. Past productions include Jersey Boys, Something Rotten!, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, American Idiot, Angels in America, Big River, Caroline or Change, Clybourne Park, Fela!, Grey Gardens, Guys & Dolls, Hair, How to Succeed in Business, Into the Woods, M. Butterfly, The Producers, Proof, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Spring Awakening and 6 plays by August Wilson. In addition to its core theatre business, Jujamcyn operates Givenik.com and Red Awning. Givenik.com is a unique service allowing theatergoers to buy discounted tickets and give 5% of their ticket price to the charity of their choice. The program currently supports over 500 charitable organizations from major national agencies to local PTA groups. Red Awning provides executive producing services and creative consulting to a variety of Broadway and touring productions.
For more information, visit www.AugustWilsonMonologue.com.
Photo credit: Gustavo Monroy