August Wilson Monologue Competition

Goodman Theatre and Derrick Sanders, in collaboration with the Department of Performing Arts at The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the League of Chicago Theatres, and True Colors Theatre Company are proud to partner in presenting Chicago's August Wilson Monologue Competition.

Open to Chicago area high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the competition gives students an opportunity to explore and share the richness of August Wilson’s Century Cycle.

2015 Chicago Finals

Congratulations to all the 2015 finalists! The 2015 finals were held on March 10, 2015 at the Goodman Theatre. Lawren Carter of Senn High School placed first, Casey Edwards of Chicago High School for the Arts placed second, and Booker Vance of Kenwood Academy High School placed third.

The 20 Chicago finalists for 2015 were Myesha Hopkins and Kynesia Hughlett of Harper High School; Lawren Carter, Olivia Shine, Joseph Vargas, Ireon Reach and Tevion Lanier of Senn High School; Airelle Haynes, Booker Vance and Omari Ferrell of Kenwood Academy High School; Erik Thomas, Janessa Colquitt and Charnnia Jones of Southland College Prep; Shimonique Davis of Wendell Philips High School; Ariana Burks, Karla Corona and Casey Edwards of Chicago High School for the Arts; Samantha Guzman of Lincoln Park High School; Briana Williams of Oak Park River Forest High School; and Ziare Paul-Emile of Morton West High Schoool.

Students were asked to perform a 2-3 minute monologue of their choosing from one of the ten plays in August Wilson’s Century Cycle. Esteemed judges for the 2015 Chicago Finals included Sakina Ansari Wilson, Regina Taylor, Narda Alcorn, and Ron OJ Parson. 20 finalists selected from more than 230 participants across 25 Chicago area schools advanced to the Chicago finals and competed for the top three spots in the National finals.

The top three finalists participated in the National Finals on May 4, 2015 at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre in New York City. The finals included a weekend of activities around the competition. National prizes included scholarships of $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for honorable mention.

About the Competition

To be considered, students must complete the application form and register for a time during the preliminary round. Students are asked to perform a 2-3 minute monologue of their choosing from one of the ten plays in August Wilson's Century Cycle.

They are adjudicated by a panel of Chicago theatre professionals on the basis of preparedness, understanding of the text, emotional connection to the material, and commitment to the performance.

The top three participants in Chicago receive $500, $250, and $100 scholarships, respectively and the opportunity to compete in the national finals in New York City.

2016 Application and Dates

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2016 August Wilson Monologue Competition.

2016 Preliminary Auditions:

Monday, February 8th at Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Tuesday, February 9th at Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago
Wednesday, February 10th at Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago

2016 Semi-Finals:
Monday, February 22nd at University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Theatre and Music

2016 Finals:
Monday, March 7th at Goodman Theatre

August Wilson Compendium

1 - Gem of the Ocean
2 - Joe Turner's Come and Gone
3 - Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
4 - The Piano Lesson
5 - Seven Guitars
6 - Fences
7 - Two Trains Running
8 - Jitney
9 - King Hedley II
10 - Radio Golf

About the Century Cycle

August Wilson’s Century Cycle is a singular achievement in American theatre. Each of the ten world-class plays is set in a different decade of the twentieth century. At the plays’ core are soaring, lyrical monologues that take the rich song, laughter, and pain of the African American experience and place it in the mouths of the most varied ensemble of characters written since Shakespeare. The plays of the Century Cycle are:

Gem of the Ocean
Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
The Piano Lesson
Seven Guitars
Two Trains Running
King Hedley II
Radio Golf

For more about the Century Cycle, click here. For more information about this competition, please contact Ana Velazquez at 773.484.0474.