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Pittsburgh Public Theater's Shakespeare contest gives students chance to experience the Bard

Suellen Fitzsimmons - Maggie Brooks, Baldwin High School, tied with DeVaughn Robinson, of Woodland High School, as winners of the Upper Division Monologue award at the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s 19th annual Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest in March.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Suellen Fitzsimmons</em></div>Maggie Brooks, Baldwin High School, tied with DeVaughn Robinson, of Woodland High School, as winners of the Upper Division Monologue award at the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s 19th annual Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest in March.
Suellen Fitzsimmons - DeVaughn Robinson, of Woodland High School, tied with Maggie Brooks, Baldwin High School, as winners of the Upper Division Monologue award at the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s 19th annual Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest in March.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Suellen Fitzsimmons</em></div>DeVaughn Robinson, of Woodland High School, tied with Maggie Brooks, Baldwin High School, as winners of the Upper Division Monologue award at the Pittsburgh Public Theater’s 19th annual Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest in March.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Scenes from “The Comedy of Errors” earned prizes in upper and lower divisions of the Pittsburgh Public Theater's 19th annual Shakespeare Monologue & Scene Contest, on March 25 at the O'Reilly Theater, Downtown.

• Tanner Schmitt, Joey Belanger, Ryan Showalter, students at Highcliff Elementary School, won the Lower Division (grades 4 to 7) Scene award with their performances as the Second Merchant, Antipholus and Angelo from “The Comedy of Errors.”

• J.D. Galloway and Zack Bowman, from Trinity Christian School, won the Upper Division (grades 8 to 12) Scene award as Dromio and Antipholus in “The Comedy of Errors.”

Also winning awards:

• Julia Coblin, a student at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School, who won the Lower Division Monologue award by portraying Sir John Falstaff from “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

• Maggie Brooks of Baldwin High School tied with DeVaughn Robinson of Woodland High School as winners of the Upper Division Monologue award. Brooks delivered a monologue as the Jailor's Daughter in “The Two Noble Kinsmen,” and Robinson performed one of Hamlet's monologues from “Hamlet.”

More than 1,000 students took part in this year's competition at the Pittsburgh Public Theater's home at the O'Reilly Theater.

Although only eight received prizes — a copy of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” — all participants took something home from the competition, says Rob Zellers, the Pittsburgh Public Theater's director of education and outreach.

“We are not training future performers, although some Shakespeare contest kids from over the last 19 years have gone on to nice acting careers,” Zellers says.

“We are simply providing an opportunity — most likely the only such opportunity many will ever have — to perform this exciting, challenging material. Many of these students read a play or two by William Shakespeare during their high-school years. We provide another way into these works, hopefully, solidifying a life-long appreciation.”

Alice T. Carter can be reached at acarter@tribweb.com.

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