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HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF BOSTON REGIONAL FINALS AUGUST WILSON MONOLOGUE COMPETITION

(BOSTON, MA) – Staceyanne Burrell of Boston Arts Academy took first place on Monday, February 1, 2016 with her performance as Tonya from King Hedley II at the Boston Regional Finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition, held for the sixth year by the Huntington Theatre Company, the playwright’s longtime artistic home. Victoria Omoregie of Snowden International School at Copley was named first runner-up and also portrayed Tonya from King Hedley IICarolina Alcantara (Aunt Ester, Gem of the Ocean) of Fenway High School was named second runner-up. The three will receive a total of $850 in prize money, and the top two winners will be awarded an all-expense-paid trip to New York City where they will perform their monologues at Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre in the National Competition on May 2, 2016. Airfare, hotel accommodations, workshops, and performance tickets will be provided in collaboration with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theatres. The national competition is free and open to the public.

The August Wilson Monologue Competition celebrates the writing of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright. Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company (Atlanta, GA) inaugurated the competition in 2007, and this year marks the 6th year that the Huntington has hosted the regional finals in Boston. Over 400 high school students from 17 Boston area schools participated in the program this school year; the winner of each school competition competed on Monday, February 1, 2016 at the Huntington’s Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.

Boston University Summer Theatre Institute (BUSTI) provides a full scholarship to one of the Boston Regional finalists. This year’s recipient is Laury Constantin (Rose, Fences), a sophomore from the Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School. BUSTI is a five-week conservatory experience for motivated high school theatre artists where students learn how to tell a dynamic story through the theatrical medium. The scholarship recipient is selected through one-on-one interviews and is separate from the results of the monologue competition. For more information, visit www.bu.edu/cfa/busti.   

The Huntington’s Education Department staff and teaching artists visited 11 residency schools weekly from October to January to introduce Wilson and the 10 plays of his Century Cycle centering on the 20th century African American experience to participating students. The Education Department also offers support with script analysis, character development, and coach’s students in their performances in preparation for the competition.

Due to popular demand from area high schools this year, the Huntington’s Education Department expanded the August Wilson Monologue Competition program beyond the residency schools for the first time and participation was open to any interested school in the Boston or Greater Boston area. These schools were provided with all materials necessary to educate students on the life and work of August Wilson and the schools coach students for in-school competitions and the Boston Regional Finals.   

The following schools are participants in this year’s August Wilson Monologue Competition: Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School, Another Course to College, Boston Adult Technical Academy, Boston Arts Academy, Boston Day & Evening Academy, Brighton High School, Brockton High School, City on a Hill Charter Public School, Codman Academy Charter Public School, Community Academy of Science and Health, Dorchester Academy, Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers, English High School, Fenway High School, John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science,  McKinley South End Academy, and Snowden International School at Copley. Judges at the Boston competition included Milk Like Sugar actress Ramona Lisa Alexander, Boston actor Johnny Lee Davenport, the Huntington’s Dramaturg Charles Haugland, and Boston’s Arts and Culture Chief Julie Burros. The accuracy judge was Paul Sedgwick, Theatre Content Specialist for Boston Public Schools.

“We’re proud to celebrate six years of impacting students with August Wilson’s poetic works, and we are especially pleased to expand the competition beyond Boston this year,” says Donna Glick, Director of Education at the Huntington. “The opportunity to perform powerful monologues from dynamic characters invites students to explore different parts of their personalities in a safe environment. More and more students participate in the competition each year, and we are hopeful that next year’s competition will include a semi-final round.”

August Wilson’s Century Cycle is a singular achievement in American theatre. Each of the 10 plays is set in a different decade of the 20th century. The Huntington had a special relationship with August Wilson and his work, beginning in 1986 with a production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, his third play in the Century Cycle. For 25 years, the Huntington served as an artistic home to Wilson, developing and premiering 8 of the 10 plays of his Century Cycle before they went on to Broadway. The Huntington completed Wilson’s Century Cycle in 2012 with Wilson’s first Broadway hit, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

The competition was created by two of August Wilson’s closest collaborators: Kenny Leon (director of Stick Fly, Gem of the Ocean, and Fences at the Huntington and on Broadway) and Todd Kreidler (adapter of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at the Huntington). Leon worked closely with Wilson and directed many of the Century Cycle plays on Broadway and at major regional theatres, including the Huntington. True Colors Associate Artistic Director Todd Kreidler served as dramaturg for Wilson’s Radio Golf, and this March he will direct the Huntington’s production of August Wilson’s powerful theatrical memoir and final play How I Learned What I Learned, featuring another longtime Wilson collaborator, Eugene Lee.

Major funding for the Boston regional August Wilson Monologue Competition is provided by EdVestors Boston Public Schools Arts Expansion Fund. Funding for the national competition is provided by Macy’s and Delta Airlines. 

For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org/education/august-wilson/ and augustwilsonmonologue.com/.

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ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON

Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 and 2014 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

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