Jazmin Rhodes
Education, Local News

H-F junior Jazmin Rhodes in national August Wilson New Voices competition

Homewood-Flossmoor High School junior Jazmin Rhodes will perform a monologue from an August Wilson play at a national competition hosted by August Wilson New Voices and the League of Chicago Theatres. 

Jazmin Rhodes
Jazmin Rhodes

The organizers said the competition is designed to give students “an opportunity to explore and share the richness of August Wilson’s Century Cycle,” a collection of his 10 plays that document African American experiences in the 20th century.

Rhodes is one of three Chicago area high school students to be selected in a regional competition that started with 600 entrants in a preliminary round, then 215 in the semi-final round with 20 moving to a final round. Rhodes and the other two Chicago winners were selected from the finalists. 

The national competition, April 29 through May 2 at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, will include winners from the Chicago competition and seven regional competitions. Students were asked to select from August Wilson play monologues posted on the competition website. 

This is the 13th annual August Wilson New Voices competition. The national winners are eligible for master classes and college scholarships. Rhodes said she learned of the competition from H-F teacher J.R. Willard-Rose.

Rhodes will perform a monologue by the character Ruby from Wilson’s “King Hedley II” play. It’s the same monologue that won her a spot at the regional competition.

“I have to recite it word for word. They take points off if you don’t give it back exactly what’s on the page,” Rhodes said. “This monologue deals a lot with her grief and a little bit of betrayal, too. The current man she’s with, he shot down the guy she was with at the time, so she had to come look at the body and speaking about seeing the body, and it’s really traumatizing. But the man she’s with is also the father of her son, but he doesn’t know that yet.”

She will perform for a panel of Chicago theater professionals and be judged on her preparedness, understanding of the text, emotional connection to the material, and commitment to the performance.

This is the second honor this school year for Rhodes. She took third place in the IHSA speech competition in January for oratorical declamation, and seventh place in dramatic acting with partner Stella Hoyt.

For the IHSA competition, Rhodes trimmed a TED talk on generational trauma within the Black community to the required eight minutes for her oratorical declamation presentation.

As a sophomore, Rhodes competed for H-F in the IHSA speech competition for original oratory. 

This weekend Rhodes will have a leading role in the H-F Theatre production of “Tuck Everlasting.” She is also a member of Viking Choir and performs outside of school with Six of Spades, a singing group made up of H-F friends.

This summer Rhodes will be busy preparing college and scholarship applications. She plans to major in musical theater. She is the daughter of Linda and Warren Rhodes of Homewood.

Community Calendar


News by email

Subscribe to The Latest (daily headlines email)

* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

Free weekly newsletter

Subscribe to The Weeks (weekly newsletter)

* indicates required