Photo: The winners of the Monmouth County Branch of the English-Speaking Union’s Shakespeare Competition shared their winning performances with members at the recent Ice Cream Social. Left to right: Nicholas Napoli, Howell HS, Michaela Farrell, Red Bank Catholic HS, and Madelyn Monghan, Red Bank Regional High School.
RUMSON, NJ - The Officers and Directors of the Monmouth County Branch Of the English Speaking Union welcomed the winners of the annual Shakespeare Competition to historic Bingham Hall in Rumson for an old fashioned ice cream social in order to showcase the talent of these dedicated young actors. The students were asked to present their performances of a Shakespearean monologue and a sonnet for the ESU members. The ESU’s 23rd annual Shakespeare Competition was held on March 2nd at Brookdale’s Performing Arts Center, and students from eleven high schools each had won a competition at their respective schools before reaching this county level event. Beyond the prizes awarded was the opportunity for the winner to take part in the National ESU Shakespeare Competition to take place at Lincoln Center in New York City on April 22, just about on Shakespeare’s birthday. The national winner will be awarded a scholarship to study at the Young Actors Summer School of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
The winner of the competition was Madelyn Monghan, a senior from Red Bank Regional High School. Madelyn’s monologue was Ophelia’s mad scene from Hamlet, and she did it so well that ESU members in attendance began to have serious hopes that she will become the next national champion. Madelyn’s teacher at RBR is Joe Russo, who studied in England as one of the chapter’s teacher scholars. In second place was Nicholas Napoli, a senior at Howell High School. He took the role of Benedick in a scene from Much Ado About Nothing. Nick’s teacher at Howell HS is Amy Accione Meyers, who also was sponsored by the Monmouth County Branch to attend an ESU summer program for teachers at The Globe Theatre in London. Our third place winner was Michaela Farrell, a junior at Red Bank Catholic High School. Michaela acted the part of Julia from Two Gentlemen of Verona. She was coached by Keith Gissubei, and he came through the RBR program taught by Joe Russo. It was notable that all of the winning students were taught by teachers who have benefited from the English Speaking Union’s teacher scholarships for study in the United Kingdom and returned with enhanced skills for teaching Shakespeare.
Madelyn Monghan will represent the Monmouth County Branch of the English-Speaking Union in the national level competition on April 23rd, and many members will be there to cheer her on. She is a strong contender, and many hopes are going to New York with her.