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Pittsburgh Student Wins August Wilson Monologue Competition

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Pittsburgh Student Wins August Wilson Monologue Competition
Photo Source: Gustavo Monroy

A Pittsburgh high school student took the top honors at this year’s August Wilson Monologue Competition, Jujamcyn Theaters and True Colors Theatre Company announced Tuesday.

Thembisile Gxuluwe, from West Mifflin Area High School near Pittsburgh, was crowned the winner with a monologue from "King Hedley II" after the competition’s final round at the August Wilson Theatre May 6. Pablo Lopez from Los Angeles was the runner-up, and an honorable mention went to Chicago’s Branndin Phillips-Laramore.

The competition, which is in its fifth year, featured high school students from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, and Seattle performing monologues from plays by the late African-American playwright.

Gxuluwe received a $1,500 cash prize, while Lopez and Phillips-Laramore took home $750 and $500, respectively. Each of the winners are also eligible for college scholarship opportunities. Moreover, all the finalists received copies of Wilson’s “Century Cycle” collection. The finalists also got the chance to work with director Kenny Leon and dramaturge Todd Kreidler, who were two of Wilson’s closest collaborators.

Judges for the 2013 competition included actors Pauletta Washington, Crystal Dickinson, Brandon J. Dirden, James A. Williams and scenic designer David Gallo. The May 6 event featured a performance from musician Guy Davis and a scene from Wilson’s “Two Trains Running” performed by Roslyn Ruff and Billy Eugene Jones.  

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