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Winners for 2018 August Wilson Monologue Competition Announced

The event was hosted by Kenny Leon, whose True Colors Theatre Company copresented the celebration of the seminal American playwright.

Gerardo Navarro, Nia Sarfo, and Teslyne Junior, winners of the 10th annual August Wilson Monologue Competition
(© Gustavo Monroy)

True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theaters have announced the winners of last night's 10th annual August Wilson Monologue Competition, which featured high school students from all over the US performing monologues by the late American playwright. Los Angeles's Gerardo Navarro took first place, with Chicago's Nia Sarfo placing second, and New York City's Teslyne Junior third.

The evening was hosted by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, who is the artistic director of True Colors. Tony nominee Lauren Ridloff and Joshua Jackson of Children of a Lesser God — which Leon directs — both appeared to congratulate the student competitors.

The panel of celebrity judges included Kamilah Forbes (Apollo Theater executive producer), David Gallo (Tony Award-winning set designer), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Between Riverside and Crazy), Roslyn Ruff (X: or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation), and Pauletta Washington (Beloved), with Shariffa Ali (Detroit '67), Nehassaiu deGannes (Is God Is), and Russell Hornsby (Fences) judging the semifinals.

Founded in 2007, the competition aims to expose a new generation of creative minds to the life's work and artistic legacy of this seminal American playwright. Program participants in cities across the country encounter Wilson's 10-play cycle and receive coaching from teaching artists as they prepare monologues for local, citywide, and national competitions.

The winner received a $3,000 cash prize, the runner-up a $2,000 prize, and the third place finalist $1,000. All finalists will also become eligible for college scholarship opportunities and receive a boxed set of Wilson's Century Cycle collection.