Representing Los Angeles and Center Theatre Group, Tyler Edwards, a senior at the Orange County High School of the Arts, placed third at the National Finals of the fourth annual August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) on Monday, May 7, 2012, at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre in New York City.
"I am thrilled…I'm so glad that I took it for L.A. the first time we got up…that's what we're talking about!" said an elated Edwards following the competition. Edwards, an aspiring actor, describes the soaring, lyrical monologues found in the plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson as "very inspirational," and said prior to the Los Angeles Regional Finals of the AWMC, "I would love to share a bit of that inspiration with any audience, in hopes that they leave with more appreciation than they walked in with."
Edwards was joined by Christopher Smith (Fullerton) who also competed in the National Finals and Jasmine Hogan (SAN JACINTO) who competed in the National Semi-Finals also in New York. These three Southern California national finalists were chosen after competing at the Los Angeles Regional Finals hosted by Center Theatre Group (CTG) at the Mark Taper Forum on March 26.
Each student performed a monologue from August Wilson's 10-play "Century Cycle," a singular achievement in American theatre that dramatizes the African-American experience in the 20th century. The annual competition is designed to help students from all backgrounds connect with a significant part of American history and to gain theatre and performance skills.
This year marked the first time that Southern California participated in the AWMC as CTG joined the national competition with theatres from Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Pittsburgh. CTG's inaugural August Wilson program includes participation in the competition as well as an annual in-school residency program.
CTG's Education and Community Partnerships department, led by Leslie K. Johnson, is currently one of the most active theatre education programs in the country, having reached 18,886 students, teachers and community members from 118 schools throughout Southern California in the 2010-2011 season. The department is dedicated to the development of artists, educators and young people's skills and creativity through the exploration of theatre, its literature, art and imagination.
CTG maintained a long relationship with August Wilson, presenting seven of his plays. In addition to "Jitney," "King Hedley II" (Tony Award nomination for Best Play), "Gem of the Ocean" and "Radio Golf" at the Mark Taper Forum, CTG presented the Tony Award-nominated "Seven Guitars" at the Ahmanson Theatre and "Two Trains Running" and "The Piano Lesson" (1990 Pulitzer Prize) at the Doolittle Theatre in Hollywood.
More information on CTG's August Wilson program can be found at www.centertheatregroup.org/AugustWilson.