esu shakespeare contest

esu shakespeare contestRepeat performance at Bingham Hall in Rumson, on May 15th at 3 pm

PHOTO:   Winners John Gnazzo (3rd), Kaylee Defreitas (first), and Shea Grant (second), with competition chair Janet Smuga.

LINCROFT, NJ – On March 5th, students from thirteen New Jersey high schools assembled on the stage at Brookdale Community College’s elegant theater for a competition that challenged their intellects and acting skills, the 26th annual Shakespeare Competition for high school students sponsored by the Monmouth County Branch of the English-Speaking Union.  The winner will go on to a national competition at Lincoln Center in New York on April 26 – 28, where the top prize will include an all-expenses paid trip to study acting in England.

 Each teen performed a sonnet and a speech from one of Shakespeare’s plays, without costumes or props.  Their audience included teachers, parents, and members of the ESU, as well as four theater professionals who served as expert judges.

Third place went to John Gnazzo from Red Bank Catholic for his moving Antony from the play Julius Caesar.  Second place was taken by Shea Grant from Red Bank Regional, with a delightful performance of Phoebe from As You Like It.  Also among the finalists were Miranda Sapoznik from Colts Neck High School, Karoline Winzer from Communications High School, and Caroline Kinley from Glen Ridge.


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First place went to Kaylee Defreitas from Howell High School, whose Viola from Twelfth Night expresses wonder at the unplanned effects of her disguise, tender pity for the woman she has unwittingly deceived, and bafflement as to how the tangled situation can ever be sorted out.

Kaylee will enter the National competition at Lincoln Center in May, but you needn’t go so far see her.  She, John, and Shea will repeat their performances at Bingham Hall in Rumson, on May 15th at 3 pm, when the ESU will host a Spring Tea, open to the public.  Join us there for refreshments and to see these excellent young people act!  For details call 732 747-6813.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...