Kravis Center announces 2016 Lebow Award winners

The Seventh Annual Alan Lebow Award for Excellence in Shakespearean Performance was presented on February 13 in the Kravis Center’s Khoury Family Dance Rehearsal Hall to ten Palm Beach County students from three local high schools.

Created by Kids’ Dreams, Inc., in memory of its co-founder, Alan Lebow, the award honors students from Title I high schools who had performed short selections from William Shakespeare’s works before a panel of distinguished judges.
Kids’ Dreams co-founder Patricia Lebow (third from left) with the 2016 Top 10 Lebow Award for Excellence in Shakespearean Performance winners and honored guests.

Kids’ Dreams co-founder Patricia Lebow (third from left) with the 2016 Top 10 Lebow Award for Excellence in Shakespearean Performance winners and honored guests. (Ryan Stone Photography)

This year’s Top Winner, earning a $1,000 cash prize, was Marcella Marques, a senior at Royal Palm Beach Community High School, who performed a selection from Titus Andronicus. Two other Top Winners, Ryan Gosling, a junior at of Royal Palm Beach Community High School and Jephthelee Jordonne, a senior at Boynton Beach Community High School, were awarded $750 each. Gosling performed a monologue from  Twelfth Night, while Jordonne performed a selection from Julius Caesar. A total of $5,000 was given to the top 10 winners.

Honorable Mention awards and $500 each went to Schlay Nicholas, a senior at Boynton Beach Community High School, Claudia Torres, a junior at Royal Palm Beach Community High School and Kathie Torres, a sophomore at Royal Palm Beach Community High School.
Judy Mitchell, CEO of the Kravis Center, welcomed guests to the Lebow Award ceremony and recognized Patricia Lebow, president and co-founder of Kids’ Dreams, for her commitment to providing arts opportunities for children in the community. Last fall, Kids’ Dreams made a gift to the Kravis Center to permanently endow the Lebow Award.
“The Alan Lebow Award for Excellence in Shakespearean Performance is such a fantastic program and we have been thrilled to partner with Kids’ Dreams over the past seven years to present this competitive program for our community’s high school students,” said Mitchell. “We are deeply grateful for the gift and very proud of the program.”
The students performed their selections during an audition on January 16. They were evaluated and scored by the judges in five categories of performance, which included concentration, emotional commitment, energy, evidence of understanding and overall performance.
2016 Lebow Award for Excellence in Shakespearean Performance Top Winner Marcella Marques, a senior at Royal Palm Beach Community High School, performs her winning selection from Titus Andronicus. (Ryan Stone Photography)

2016 Lebow Award for Excellence in Shakespearean Performance Top Winner Marcella Marques, a senior at Royal Palm Beach Community High School, performs her winning selection from Titus Andronicus. (Ryan Stone Photography)

Former NBA star Otis Lee Birdsong gave the keynote address, and Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor presented the awards, followed by performances by the top six winners. After the ceremony, all the students who had participated in the Lebow Award were invited to attend a performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, produced by Aquila Theatre Company, in the Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse.

The Alan Lebow Award for Excellence in Shakespearean Performance is intended to assist students attending Palm Beach County Title I high schools students while honoring Lebow, a man whose passion for poetry, drama, film and literature began when he was a very young boy. Alan Lebow was taught by his father to recite the works of Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Service and John Keats, among others, to the various clothing customers of his family business. He had memorized a great portion of the soliloquies and sonnets of Shakespeare and regularly recited, with incomparable dramatic flair, at dinners and gatherings of friends.
Established as a leading force in the social fabric of the community, the Kravis Center’s many outreach programs are as broad and varied as the community itself.  For more information on education programming at the Kravis Center, please call the Kravis Center Education Department at 561-651-4251 or visit kravis.org/education.