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THE HUNTINGTON PRESENTS THE AUGUST WILSON MONOLOGUE COMPETITION BOSTON REGIONAL FINALS ON JAN. 30

HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY, LONGTIME ARTISTIC HOME OF PLAYWRIGHT AUGUST WILSON, HOLDS SEVENTH ANNUAL REGIONAL FINALS OF “AUGUST WILSON MONOLOGUE COMPETITION” ON JANUARY 30

WHAT: August Wilson Monologue Competition Boston Regional Finals
WHEN: Monday, January 30 at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
WHERE: South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont Street, Boston
TICKETS: Free and open to the public. RSVP

(BOSTON, MA) – Huntington Theatre Company’s Department of Education presents the 7th annual Boston regional finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition, celebrating the writing of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright. Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company (Atlanta, GA) inaugurated the competition in 2009, and this year marks the 7th year that the Huntington’s education department has hosted the competition in Boston. Over 550 high school students from 13 Boston area public schools have participated in the program this school year; the winner of each school competition will compete on Monday, January 30 at the Huntington’s Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The competition is free and open to the public.

The Huntington’s Education Department staff and teaching artists have been visiting 10 schools in the August Wilson Monologue Competition residency program weekly since October. During their school visits they introduce participating students to August Wilson and the 10 plays of his American Century Cycle centering on the 20th century African American experience. The residency curriculum includes work on text analysis and characterization and one-on-one coaching with students in their performances in preparation for the competition. Teachers are also provided biographical materials on August Wilson and his history with the Huntington Theatre Company.

Due to popular demand from area high schools, the Huntington’s Education Department expanded the August Wilson Monologue Competition program beyond the residency schools in 2015 and participation is open to any interested high school in the Boston or Greater Boston area. These schools are 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. This year six schools registered to participate and three of those schools will send their school winner to the Boston Regional Finals.

In competitions at the school level and at the Boston finals, students perform a two to three-minute monologue of their choosing from one of Wilson’s ten plays. A panel of judges assess contestants on the basis of preparedness, understanding of the text, emotional connection to the material, and commitment to the performance.

The top two winners from Boston 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 1, 2017. Airfare, hotel accommodations, workshops, and tickets to attend a Broadway production will be provided in collaboration with Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theatres. The national competition is also free and open to the public.

“The release of the film Fences has helped move August Wilson into the American mainstream, providing young people across the country with access to an essential American story,” says the Huntington’s Director of Education Donna Glick. “The Huntington is especially proud to be the home of the August Wilson Monologue Competition in Boston, one of 10 cities in this national program. The opportunity to study and perform powerful monologues from dynamic characters invites young people to explore different parts of their personalities in a safe environment.”

The following schools will be represented at the 2017 Boston Regional August Wilson Monologue Competition: Academy of the Pacific Rim, Another Course to College, Boston Day & Evening Academy, 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, Lexington Christian Academy, McKinley South End Academy, and Snowden International School at Copley. Judges at the Boston competition will be Boston actors Elle Borders and Damon Singletary and local director and assistant professor at Northeastern University Jonathan Carr. The accuracy judge is Allyssa Jones, program director for performing arts at Boston Public Schools, and the prompter is Justin Samoy, producing apprentice at the Huntington Theatre Company.

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 American Century Cycle. For 25 years, the Huntington served as an artistic home to Wilson, developing and premiering eight of the ten plays of his American 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. In 2016, the Huntington produced August Wilson’s memoir and final play How I Learned What I Learned, directed by August Wilson’s longtime collaborator Todd Kreidler.

The competition was created by Kenny Leon (director of Stick Fly, Gem of the Ocean, and Fences at the Huntington and on Broadway and The Wiz Live! and Hairspray Live! on NBC) and Todd Kreidler (adapter of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at the Huntington), two of August Wilson’s closest collaborators. Leon worked closely with Wilson and directed many of the American Century Cycle plays on Broadway and at major regional theatres, including the Huntington. True Colors Associate Artistic Director Kreidler served as dramaturg for Wilson’s Radio Golf.

“The competition offers students an interactive way to learn about Wilson’s work and how his plays connect with each decade in the 20th century,” says Kreidler. “Students learn about history, social studies, and literature through performing monologues from Wilson’s plays and studying his American Century Cycle.”

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, Delta Airlines, and Time Warner Foundation.

For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org/awmc and truecolorstheatre.org/august-wilson-monologue-competition.

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ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
Celebrating its 35th season, the Huntington Theatre Company is Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. The Huntington is the recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and was named Best of Boston 2013 and 2014 by Boston magazine. 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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