Ryan Lewis, a Discovery High School student, has qualified to compete at the 2017 National August Wilson Monologue Competition in New York after finishing 2nd in the state competition. Lewis was the only Gwinnett County student to advance to the state competition.
The 8th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition will take place on Monday, May 1, at 7 p.m. at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street). The event features high school students from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Dallas, and elsewhere performing monologues by the late legendary American Playwright. A panel of celebrity judges will evaluate the competitors and select a winner. The top three contestants from the national competition receive college scholarship opportunities in addition to monetary awards and the gift of TCG’s Century Cycle collection. The first place winner will receive a $1,500 cash prize, the runner-up a $750 cash prize, and a $500 cash prize goes to the honorable mention honoree. Each of the winners also will receive college scholarships of $1,500, $1,000, $500, respectively.
Participating students receive the following:
- Free workshops with theatre professionals
- Opportunity to perform on Broadway
- Opportunity to win all-expense paid trip to New York
- Opportunity to attend a Broadway show
- Chance to win cash scholarships for college
The National August Wilson Monologue Competition is a free arts education program, a celebration of the words of the playwright August Wilson, inspiring high school students to find and express themselves through theatre. August Wilson was an American playwright. His literary legacy is a series of 10 plays, The American Century Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Each is set in a different decade, depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the 20th century.
The evening also includes performances by well-known Wilsonian veterans and special musical guests. 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, Lynda Gravatt, Keith Randolph Smith, Tamara Tunie, Katori Hall, Maurice Hines, 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.
The National August Wilson Monologue Competition was founded in 2007 by Kenny Leon and Todd Kreidler at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta. The national program is produced in collaboration between Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theaters.