The Poet’s Den Theatre: ‘The Bard of Stratford’ in Harlem

The Poet’s Den Theatre

Founder Ji Soo Lee

Magnolia Mansion

309 E. 108th St

New York, NY 10029

(212) 427-1445

Thursday, May 21, New York City students competed in the 7th Annual Public High School Shakespearean Monologue Contest. The setting exudes theatrical mood, beautiful, elegant little theatre with a deep stage, framed tapestries, white molding and carved plaster, burgundy velvet wooden seats, burgundy all around. Host Juan Villegas delivers an introduction that boosts pride, confidence and ease, and the performances begin.

Shevonne Henry

Excellence. One after another, the students presented their interpretations so well that it was the minor slipups that determined the winners. During one student’s exceptional presentation, the way an ice skater in the middle of a great rendition stumbles, Barry Givens-Paige found himself saddled with the old “Pregnant Pause” to then continue pouring out heart and energy for an outstanding delivery.

Barry GivensPaige


Shevonne Henry (Franklin K. Lane H.S.) Juliet – 1st Place

Michelle Li (New Design) Gertrude (from Hamlet) – 2nd Place

Manny Minaya (New Design) Hamlet – 3rd Place

Miraque Hicks (New Design) Lady Macbeth – Honorable Mention

Barry Givens-Paige (New School for Arts and Sciences) Macbeth – Best Body Language

Tatyana Vega (New Design) Calpurnia (Julius Caesar)- Best Enunciation

Amanda Bermudez (New Design) The Jailer’s Daughter (Two Noble Kinsmen) – Best Memorization

Contestants with Teachers and support staff

Judges: Ian Gordon & Nicholasa Mohr

“This event helps establish a valuable tradition of opportunity for inner-city students to stretch their minds and engage in enriching educational and artistic challenges.”

Congratulations to all the participants, teachers, schools and staff.

Special Gratitude to The Puffin Foundation for the Arts for their generosity and continued support.

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David Pambianchi is a New York writer, who loves to tell stories about the city, the people, the entertainment, the sport and the businesses that catch his attention.

Novel: Carrots & Apples: Parenthood, Divorce and Public Corruption