Atlantans take top honors in 7th August Wilson Competition in N.Y.

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Atlantan Moyè Light at the 7th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition. CONTRIBUTED BY JORGE J. ABOUYOUN / AWMC
Atlantan Moyè Light at the 7th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition. CONTRIBUTED BY JORGE J. ABOUYOUN / AWMC

Atlantan Moyè Light at the 7th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition. PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY JORGE J. ABOUYOUN / AWMC

Two promising Atlanta high school performers topped the recent 7th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition held earlier this month at the August Wilson Theatre in New York.

Moyè Light, a junior at McEachern High School in Cobb County, won first place, and Cameron Southerland, a senior at Meadowcreek High School in Gwinnett County, was the runner-up.

Players in the 7th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition finals: Pauletta Washington (from left), Hilda Willis, winner Moyè Light, Kenny Leon, runner-up Cameron Southerland, honorable mention Jonathan German, David Gallo, Crystal Dickinson and Brandon Dirden.

Leaders and participants in the 7th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition finals: Pauletta Washington (from left), Hilda Willis, winner Moyè Light, Kenny Leon, runner-up Cameron Southerland, honorable mention Jonathan German, David Gallo, Crystal Dickinson and Brandon Dirden.

The victory was especially meaningful for Light, whose mother and biggest supporter passed away from breast cancer in late January. During her mother’s illness, the actress found comfort in writing monologues and poems. Preparing to compete in New York, she drew on the support of family and friends.

“Even though I’ve been through more than most,” she said, “I still can stand on my own feet and say, I’m happy to be alive”

Southerland, who has been acting and singing since age 6, is a member of the Mustang Players, Meadowcreek’s theater group.

Presented by Atlanta’s True Colors Theatre Company and Broadway theater owner-operators Jujamcyn Theaters, the May 4 event featured high school students from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland and Seattle performing monologues by the late American playwright.

Judges included Crystal Dickinson (actress), Brandon J. Dirden (actor), David Gallo (scenic designer) and Pauletta Washington (actress).

First place winner Light received a $3,000 cash prize, and runner-up Southerland came home with $2,000. Each winner also becomes eligible for college scholarships.

All of the competitors attended the Broadway musical “Something Rotten!,” engaged in a discussion on August Wilson with Atlanta director Kenny Leon and actress Condola Rashad and visited Manhattan attractions before making their Broadway stage debuts.

Founded in 2007, the August Wilson Monologue Competition aims to expose an emerging generation of creative minds to the life’s work and artistic legacy of the Pittsburgh playwright. Program participants encounter Wilson’s 10-play cycle and receive coaching from teaching artists as they prepare their monologues for city-wide and national competitions.

Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company hosts an annual Celebrity Golf Tournament & Gala to raise funds for its education programs including the National August Wilson Monologue Competition.

In fact, this year’s event will be held Saturday. The golf tournament (“Greens in the Day”) starts at 9 a.m. at Bear’s Best Atlanta, with the gala (“Blues in the Night”) from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Millennium Gate Museum.

Celebrity guests include Samuel L. Jackson, Ahmad Rashad, Peabo Bryson, Glynn Turman, Flex Alexander, Anna Maria Horsford, Phaedra Parks, Ryan Cameron, LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Malik Yoba.

Details: www.truecolorstheatre.org.


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