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 sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the competition gives students an opportunity to explore and share the richness of August Wilson’s Century Cycle.

2013 Chicago Finals

Congratulations to all the 2013 finalists! The 2013 finals were held on March 11, 2013 at the Goodman Theatre. Morgan Brown of Southland College Prep placed first, Branndin Laramore of Gallery 37 placed second, and John Carter of Chicago High School for the Arts placed third.

The twenty-two students who advanced to the Chicago Finals were: Taylir Brown-Williamson, Barton Fitzpatrick, Khamya Johnson, Antionette Lancaster, and Jessica Smith of Kenwood Academy; Monique Lewis of Hyde Park High School; Morgan Brown, Josha Silk, and Aronna Wynne of Southland College Prep; Branndin Laramore, Lia Miller, and Ernesto Moreta of Gallery 37; Danyelle Monson of King College Prep, Aniqua Chatman and Anthony McCoy of Wirt-Emerson Academy; Julio Munoz of Schurz High School; John Carter, Martin Downs and Monet Felton of Chicago High School for the Arts; Sophia Menendian of Lincoln Park High School; Chandler Browne of American Theater Company Youth Ensemble; and Jonathan Schaffer of Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

Esteemed judges for the Chicago Finals included celebrated actress and playwright Regina Taylor; Eamonn Walker, currently starring as “Battalion Chief Wallace Boden” in NBC's hit drama "Chicago Fire"; Narda E. Alcorn, frequent stage manager for August Wilson productions on Broadway; and Christine Mary Dunford, Associate Chair of the Department of Theatre and Music at University of Illinois at Chicago and a Lookingglass Ensemble Member.

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.    

The top three finalists participated in the national finals on May 5th and 6th 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 in May 2013.

2014 Application and Dates

Download the 2014 FAQ and Application here! The 2014 compendium will be available soon.

2014 Preliminary Auditions:
January 28th at Court Theatre, 10am - 4pm
January 29th at Victory Gardens Theater, 10am - 4pm

2014 Semi-Finals:
February 10th at University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Theatre and Music, 1 - 6pm

2014 Finals:
March 10th at Goodman Theatre, 6pm

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 Neal McCollam at 312.996.3991.

From the preliminary round of competition, 10 finalists will be chosen. These students will receive coaching on their monologues from Chicago theatre professionals before competing in the finals at the Goodman Theatre. From that round the top three finalists receive a scholarship and an expenses-paid trip to New York City to compete in the national finals on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre in May.