August Wilson Monologue Competition
LOUIS GOSSETT JR.
JUDGES INCLUDE DENNIS HAYSBERT, LOUIS GOSSETT, JR. AND OTHERS It is the inspiration of the soaring, lyrical monologues found in the plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson that will bring 15 Southern California high school students together on Monday, March 26 at 6 p.m. at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum to compete in the August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) regional finals.
Each student will perform a monologue from August Wilson’s 10-play “Century Cycle,” a singular achievement in American theatre that dramatizes the African-American experience in the 20th century. The competition is designed to help students from all backgrounds connect with a significant part of American history and to gain theatre and performance skills.
Judging the competition will be Paris Barlcay, John Beasley, Louis Gossett, Jr., Dennis Haysbert, Stan Latham and Charlayne Woodard.
The students who are competing are Marcus Arellanes (from Los Angeles), Keanu Beausier (Alhambra), E.J. Cabasal (West Covina), Tyler Edwards (Tustin), Jake Foulkes (Mira Loma), Jasmine Hogan (San Jacinto), Nicole Julian (Los Angeles), Pablo Lopez (Los Angeles), Kayla Matthews (Los Angeles), Christie Owens (Fullerton), Kara Royster (Toluca Lake), Jeffery Sims (Fontana), Christopher Smith (Fullerton), Dominique Thompson (Los Angeles) and Rhyver White (Hawthorne). This is the first time that Southern California is participating in the AWMC as CTG joins the national competition with theatres from Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Pittsburgh.
The top three regional finalists from each participating city will receive $500, $250, and $100 scholarships, respectively, and a trip to New York with the opportunity to compete in the fifth annual AWMC national finals, to be held at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.
While all first place regional finalists will be guaranteed a spot to compete in the national finals, all second and third place winners will compete in a semi-final round in New York before 15 students move on to participate in the finals on May 7 on Broadway.
The 15 Southern California regional finalists were chosen after competing at the California Educational Theatre Association High School Theatre Festival January 14 in Anaheim. All finalists are in grades 10-12 and have participated in master classes lead by CTG to help refine their performance skills in preparation for the regional finals.
The AWMC is part of CTG’s inaugural August Wilson program, which includes an in-school residency with four local schools. Students from participating residency classrooms will attend the AWMC regional finals at the Taper.
CTG’s Education and Community Partnerships department, led by Leslie K. Johnson, is currently one of the most active theatre education programs in the country, having reached 18,886 students, teachers and community members from 118 schools throughout Southern California in the 2010-2011 season. The department is dedicated to the development of artists, educators and young people’s skills and creativity through the exploration of theatre, its literature, art and imagination.
CTG maintained a long relationship with August Wilson, presenting seven of his plays. In addition to “Jitney,” “King Hedley II” (Tony Award nomination for Best Play), “Gem of the Ocean” and “Radio Golf” at the Mark Taper Forum, CTG presented the Tony Award-nominated “Seven Guitars” at the Ahmanson Theatre and “Two Trains Running” and “The Piano Lesson” (1990 Pulitzer Prize) at the Doolittle Theatre in Hollywood.
Funding for the national AWMC comes from Publix Supermarket Charities, Massey Charitable Trust, Bank of America, The Imlay Foundation, Kathleen Rios, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Regional funding for the AWMC is provided by CAA Foundation, Center Theatre
Group Affiliates, The Dream Fund at UCLA Donor Advised Fund, Chase, Southern California Gas Company and Wells Fargo.
More information on CTG’s August Wilson program can be found at www.centertheatregroup.org/AugustWilson.