Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theaters presented the fourth annual August Wilson Monologue Competition National finals Monday, May 3 at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre (245 W. 52nd Street). The finals featured performances of monologues from August Wilson's Century Cycle by twelve regional finalists from Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Chicago and New York. The evening also included performances by Blues musician Guy Davis (Finian's Rainbow), Chris Chalk (Fences), LaTanya Richardson (Joe Turner's Come and Gone), Keith Randolph Smith (Fences, King Hedley II), Heather Alicia Simms (Gem of the Ocean, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) and Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Gem of the Ocean, Tony Award winner for Seven Guitars). The competition was judged by celebrity judges playwright ReGina Taylor (Crowns and Drowning Crow), costume designer Constanza Romero (Fences, Gem of the Ocean, Seven Guitars, The Piano Lesson), and actors Russell Hornsby (Fences, Jitney), Mykelti Williamson (Fences, "Forrest Gump," "24") and Phylicia Rashad.
To compete in the August Wilson Monologue Competition, high school students grades 10-12 were asked to perform a 2-3 minute monologue of their choice from one of the ten plays in August Wilson's Century Cycle. Regional competitions took place earlier this year in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Chicago and New York, where contestants were judged by a panel of celebrity judges.
The national finalists were: Phallon Boyd (Chicago), Meleana Felton (Pittsburgh), Jared Findlay (New York), Lawnyae Irwin (Pittsburgh), Ayisat Ishola (New York), Dasha McKisic (Atlanta), Brandon Nails (Atlanta), Derrick Starks (New York), Jaiyde S. Walters-Smith (Chicago), Julia Warren (Atlanta), Aeriel Williams (Chicago), and two-time Pittsburgh regional winner Carter Redwood.
The New York City Finalists
The Chicago Finalists
The Atlanta Finalists
Phylicia Rashad, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and LaTanya Richardson
Phylicia Rashad and Keith Randolph Smith
Mykelti Williamson, Kenny Leon and Chris Chalk
Mykelti Williamson, Kenny Leon, Chris Chalk and Russell Hornsby
Mykelti Williamson and Chris Chalk
Heather Alicia Simms
The Pittsburgh Finalists