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Washington High School Students Compete at Seattle Rep

Over 60 Seattle-area high school students representing 22 schools are preparing to compete in the fourth annual Seattle semi-finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) at Seattle Repertory Theatre in February. The participants will perform a three-minute monologue from one of August Wilson’s plays during a competition taking place on February 1-2, 2014, and 10 finalists will compete in the public finals on Tuesday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Three winners of the Seattle competition will receive cash prizes ($500, $250 and $100) and a trip to New York City to participate in the National Finals on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre in May 2014.

The judges for this year’s semi-finals are Seattle Rep Casting Director Erin Kraft, Director of Education Programs Scott Koh, and Book-It Repertory Theatre’s Casting Director Gavin Reub.

The inspiration for the AWMC was sparked in 2007 in Atlanta by Wilson’s longtime collaborators Kenny Leon and Todd Kreidler of True Colors Theatre Company. Each year since its inception, the competition has spread across America, with regional competitions in Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Antonio and Seattle, with a national competition culminating in New York City. The program is now in its eighth year.

“The goal of the competition is to build partnerships with schools and theaters across the United States and to create educational materials about August Wilson that allow students to connect these important theatre works with educational curricula like history, social studies and literature,” said Todd Kreidler, associate artistic director of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company.

Kreidler was dramaturg for Wilson’s last three plays, and he worked with him at Seattle Rep.

Seattle Repertory Theatre is proud to serve as a regional host of the AWMC for a fourth year. Last year Seattle Rep hosted more than 50 semi-finalists from high schools throughout the Seattle-Tacoma metro area. Three young women advanced to the national competition, the first all-girl group to represent the city.

“I believe that working with a monologue is one of the most difficult and rewarding challenges that any actor can encounter,” commented Zenobia Taylor, last year’s first place Seattle finalist. “It teaches you so much about character analysis—you learn how to empathize with your character, find commonalities and discover how to tell their story. The August Wilson Monologue Competition was such a gratifying experience, and getting to work with Wilson's words was nothing short of an honor.”

Seattle is the city that August Wilson called home and in which did much of his writing. Seattle Rep is the only theatre in the world to have produced all of Wilson's work, including every play in his 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle, as well as his one-man show How I Learned What I Learned.

More information about the competition is available online at Though Wilson’s plays chronicle African American experiences in the United States throughout the 20th Century, this competition is open to students of any race.

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