The Pulitzer Prize-winning works of the late playwright August Wilson are considered literary legacies for their stark and moving portrayal of the African American experience throughout the 20th century. On April 12, 15 New York City high school students filed into the PS 163 auditorium, each vying to capture that experience-sometimes comic, sometimes tragic-in a two- to three-minute monologue of their choosing from one of the 10 plays in Wilson's Century Cycle.
Competitors in the 3rd Annual NYC August Wilson Monologue Competition, an annual celebration of Wilson's life and work presented by the LeAp arts-in-education organization, hailed from all five boroughs and were selected from a preliminary round of competitions in March. After all students performed for a panel of theater professionals, the winners of the citywide round were as follows: Cheyene Van Dyke from Curtis High School in Staten Island (first place); Chasity Tuck from Fordham High School in the Bronx (second place); Tyronickah Buckmire from Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School in Brooklyn (third place); and Jajerin Jones from Curtis High School in Staten Island (alternate).
The top three NYC winners will compete against winners from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburg, and Seattle in the National August Wilson Monologue Competition on May 9 at 7pm at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway; the competition is free and open to the public. The national winner will receive a $500 college scholarship, runner-up will receive a $250 scholarship, and third place will receive a $100 scholarship.