Pablo Lopez*Pablo Lopez, a senior at the Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, placed second at the sixth annual national finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) on Monday, May 6, 2013, at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.  Lopez had participated in the Southern California AWMC regional finals hosted by Center Theatre Group on March 4 at the Mark Taper Forum.  Lopez, who placed first in the regional finals, has become an avid fan of Wilson’s work. Earlier this year he said, “I want people to know… that it’s worth fighting for your voice. I’ve been around people who have not been able to share their voices. At the corner of my street … there are like 10 homeless people who nobody knows. And I’m grateful for August Wilson to show that everyone’s voice is important.”

This is the second year that CTG has been the Southern California home for the national program, which includes theatres from Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Pittsburgh. Each city runs the program differently, but the goal is the same: to introduce high school students to August Wilson’s works, and to help students of all backgrounds explore their own creativity.Among the 84 total Southern California AWMC participants, 31 schools and 29 different cities were represented. The program was open to students in grades 10-12 in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.  In addition to its leadership in the AWMC, CTG also spearheads the August Wilson In-School Residency Program that involves semester-long residencies at four local schools. Each residency partners a CTG teaching artist with a 9th grade English teacher and allows for students to explore all 10 plays of Wilson’s Century Cycle. Students from participating residency classrooms also attended the Los Angeles Regional Finals.

CTG’s AWMC participation and its Wilson in-school residencies are programs of CTG’s Education and Community Partnerships department, led by Leslie K. Johnson. Currently one of the most active theatre education programs in the country, CTG’s Education and Community Partnerships Department reached 23,847 students, teachers and community members from 294 schools and community organizations throughout Southern California in the 2011-2012 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.   Regional funding for the August Wilson Monologue Competition was provided by the Dream Fund at UCLA Donor Advised Fund, Center Theatre Group Affiliates, Center Theatre Group Corporate Circle, Friars Charitable Foundation and Wells Fargo.  Funding for the national August Wilson Monologue Competition comes from Delta Airlines, Macy’s, Publix Supermarket Charities, Massey Charitable Trust, Bank of America, The Imlay Foundation, Kathleen Rios and the National Endowment for the Arts.

In a long relationship with August Wilson plays, CTG is currently producing Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at the Mark Taper Forum, where “Jitney,”King Hedley II” (Tony Award nomination for Best Play), “Gem of the Ocean” and “Radio Golf” were previously seen. CTG also 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

For more information about “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at the Mark Taper Forum (currently running through June 9, 2013), visit www.CenterTheatreGroup.org/JoeTurner.

source: Center Theatre Group