Leguizamo to host poetry-reading contest

April 26, 2010 at 9:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- Actor, writer and comedian John Leguizamo is to serve as a host of the national finals of the 2010 Poetry Out Loud Competition in Washington, organizers said.

The "Moulin Rouge!" and "William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet" star is to join National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman and President of The Poetry Foundation John Barr in presiding over Tuesday's event at Lisner Auditorium on the George Washington University Campus, the NEA said Monday.

No tickets or reservations are required for the event, in which nine high-school finalists will compete in the poetry recitation contest to become the 2010 Poetry Out Loud National Champion. A total of $50,000 in awards and school stipends for the purchase of poetry books are to be given out Tuesday night.

National finals guest judges include Leguizamo; author Garrison Keillor; actress and activist Alfre Woodard; poets Valerie Martinez and Jane Shore; poet and critic Adam Kirsch; and Arlington, Va., native William Farley, who was named the 2009 Poetry Out Loud National Champion.

In addition to his film work and stand-up comedy, Leguizamo has also written and starred in several Broadway and off-Broadway productions, including "Mambo Mouth" and "Freak."

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