The best monologue competition for high school students, in our opinion, has set a date for its 10th anniversary. The August Wilson Monologue Competition, founded by Kenny Leon & Todd Kreidler 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. It will take place on Monday, May 7, 2018, 7 pm, at where else?, The August Wilson Theater (245 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019). The event is free & open to the public.
Produced in collaboration between Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theaters. The program is now in twelve cities nationwide, including Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Haven, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, Seattle, Dallas and Greensboro, North Carolina.
“The 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 encounter Wilson’s 10-play cycle and receive coaching from teaching artists as they prepare monologues for local, citywide, and national competitions.”
The first place winner will receive a $3,000 cash prize, the runner-up a $2,000 cash prize, and third place a $1,000 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.
A panel of celebrity judges will evaluate the competitors and select a winner. The evening will also include 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, 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.
Nicolette Robinson, Leslie Odom Jr., & Cynthia Erivo Sign On to Produce Witness Uganda
It’s official! Tony Award winners Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Hamilton), along with his wife Nicolette Robinson (Waitress) have joined on as producers for the biographical contemporary musical Witness Uganda. Abigail Spencer of Hulu’s Timeless has also joined this list of new producers
Formerly Insivible Thread, Witness Uganda has currently extended its West Coast premiere until March 3rd at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Creators Griffin Matthews and Matt Gould take on the roles of director and musical director respectively. The show has added new material and musical numbers since it’s Off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theater.
Based on a true story, Witness Uganda follows Griffin, a New York City-based American volunteer, as he arrives in Uganda to help build a village school and escape his church’s condemnation of his sexuality. When he falls into a complicated relationship with a group of destitute, orphaned teenagers, he finds himself driven by a mission that will change his and their lives forever. From the rolling hills of the Ugandan countryside to a stifling apartment in New York City, from a joyous celebration of African youth to a terrifying abduction 8,000 miles away, Witness Uganda explores the question, “is changing the world even possible?”
The musical stars twelve-time Grammy nominee, Ledisi as Rain Lady/Church Lady, Hamilton alum & Off Book Podcast co-host Amber Iman as Joy, and original cast member of Invisible Thread Jamar Williams now takes on the role of Griffin.
The cast also features Emma Hunton (Ryan), Kameron Richardson (Jacob), Naärai (Grace), Sha’leah Nikole (Eden), Dexter Darden (Ibrahim), Jordan Barrow (Ronny), Jai’len Josey (Vocalist/Understudy for Rain Lady/Church Lady) and Antwone Barnes, Kennan D Washington and Thurzday holding down the ensemble.
The creative team is rounded out with choreography by Abdur-Rahim Jackson, music supervision by Remy Kurs, sets by Connor MacPhee, lighting by David Hernandez, costumes by Carlton Jones, and sound design by Martin Carrillo.
For more info visit Witness Uganda
Iconic Entertainer Gregory Hines Honored With a Black Heritage Series Stamp
The U.S. Postal Service honored iconic entertainer Gregory Hines with a Black Heritage Series stamp in a ceremony on January 28th. As the 42nd entry in the series, the stamp featuring a 1988 photo of a smiling Hines is now available at Post Offices and usps.com.
At the ceremony Tony Award winner Savion Glover talked about the role Hines played in elevating tap into an art form and the value of his work. Joining him in the celebration were Maurice Hines, actor, dancer, choreographer, and Hines’ brother; Daria Hines, actress, costume designer, and Hines’ daughter; dancers Chloe and Maud Arnold; Tony Waag, the American Tap Dance Foundation’s artistic director, and tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith.
“I don’t exist without this man,” said Glover, “These young people that you see, they aren’t born without this. We are not here today without this.”
The Chief Postal Inspector, Gary Barksdale, who led the ceremony, said “Gregory Hines was an extraordinary artist in every sense of the word. This Forever stamp pays tribute to his life and career as an actor, singer and most importantly, as a performer whose unique style of tap dancing injected new artistry and excitement into a traditional American form.”
Gregory Hines’ Broadway credits include Eubie!, Sophisticated Ladies, & Comin’ Uptown, all of which garnered him Tony Award nominations. He became a Tony Award winner for his starring role in “Jelly’s Last Jam” in 1992. In 2003 he passed away at 57 years old from cancer.
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