(West Palm Beach, FL – February 7, 2015) For the sixth consecutive year, talented Palm Beach County students were honored for their outstanding performances of Shakespearean scenes at the Alan Lebow Award for Excellence in Shakespearean Performance, hosted by Kids’ Dreams at the Kravis Center. The program, which was created by Kids’ Dreams in memory of its late co-founder Alan Lebow, supports high school students from Title I schools in their love of poetry, drama, film and literature. Grants totaling $5,000 were awarded to the following 2015 Lebow Award winners:
Top Winner: $1,500 each
- Jephthelee Jordonne, a sophomore at Boynton Beach High School
Second Place Winners: $1,000 each
- Elize Jadimene, a junior at Boynton Beach High School
- Kandyce Kennedy, a junior at Boynton Beach High School
Honorable Mention: $500 each
- Majesty Smith, a junior at Inlet Grove Community High School
- Brittany Gardner, a senior at Boynton Beach High School
Distinguished Participation: $250 each
- Jasmine Ellis, a senior at Royal Palm Beach High School
- Marina Gasparini, a senior at Royal Palm Beach High School
The students competed at the Kravis Center in December 2014 for the honor of receiving a Lebow Award. Judges included Beverly Blanchette, Desmond Gallant and Karen Stephens. Each participant was required to recite from memory and act out a two-minute selection from a Shakespearean play.
Lebow’s daughter, Amanda Lebow, Director of Film Strategy for Bond Strategy & Influence in New York City and a former Town of Palm Beach resident, presented the awards at a recent ceremony held at the Kravis Center. She was joined by Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, Commissioner Priscilla Taylor and Kravis Center CEO Judith Mitchell.
“We are here tonight to honor two amazing men, my father and William Shakespeare. On the surface, these two men could not be more different. One was a giant of his time, celebrated for his incredible wit, impeccable wardrobe and fashion and looks, and the other was William Shakespeare. Surely though, the namesakes of tonight’s award surprisingly have a lot in common. Most importantly, I know that both men truly believed that all the world’s a stage. Shakespeare because, well, he said it, and my father because he actually put that idea into practice. As some of you may know, my Dad would quote sonnets at the dinner table, perform soliloquies on family trips, and write all of my camp letters in iambic pentameter. Really, who knew you could rhyme something with instructional swim? During his performances, he had an uncanny ability to transform into characters we all know and love. Puck, Hamlet, Julius Caesar and, by far, the most impressive, Lady Macbeth. His affection for Shakespeare was infectious, and I was hooked at a young age. As family, we avidly attended theatre and annually travelled to Cedar City, Utah for the Shakespeare Festival. I saw how much my Dad lit up watching his favorite plays and shows performed right in front of him – often in open air. He would be so proud to see his love of the bard and passion for the stage is still being carried on today by all of you amazing students. Your hard work and dedication have proven Shakespeare and my father correct: all the world is a stage.” -Amanda Lebow
Otis Birdsong, a four-time NBA All-Star and Chairman of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, delivered the keynote presentation to the participating students.
The top five Lebow Award recipients performed Shakespearean excerpts for the more than 100 community leaders, Kids’ Dreams board members, and friends and family members in attendance. Performers were: Brittany Gardner, Majesty Smith, Kandyce Kennedy, Elize Jadimene and Jephthelee Jordonne.