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.

2016 Chicago Finals

Congratulations to all the 2016 finalists! The 2016 Finals were held on March 7, 2016 at the Goodman Theatre. Ireon Roach of Senn High School placed first, Danielle Chmielewski of Lincoln Park High School placed second, and Tevion Lanier of Senn High School placed third.

The 21 Chicago finalists for 2016 were Clayton Harris of Harper High School; Lucas Zumann, Jauhara Sanders, Ireon Roach and Tevion Lanier of Senn High School; Starlet Windham, Kwaku Abankwa and Leojae Payton of Kenwood Academy High School; Jordan Wallace, Ava Saunders and Jana Baylor of Chicago Academy for the Arts; Myah Seay, Jahi Parham and Chloe Johnson of Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy; Christin Lucas of Wendell Philips High School; Joshlyn Lomax, Karla Corona and Tyia Morgan of Chicago High School for the Arts; Danielle Chmielewski of Lincoln Park High School; Jailine Hernandez of Kelly High School; and Connie Legghette of Carl Schurz High School.

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 2016 Chicago Finals included Narda Alcorn, Lydia Diamond, Allen Gilmore, and Eamonn Walker. 21 finalists selected from more than 400 participants across 25 Chicago area schools advanced to the Chicago Finals and competed for the top three spots in the National Finals.

The top two finalists participate in the National Finals on May 2, 2016 at Broadway's August Wilson Theatre in New York City. The Finals will include a weekend of activities around the competition. National prizes include 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.

2017 Application

Applications for 2017 August Wilson Monologue Competition are now closed.
Thank you to all that applied!

Important Dates

Preliminary Auditions
Monday, February 6th | Logan Center for the Arts
Tuesday, February 7th | Logan Center for the Arts
Wednesday, February 8th | Victory Gardens Theater

Tuesday, February 21st | Steppenwolf Theatre 

Monday, March 6th | 6:00pm | 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.

The August Wilson Monologue Competition is sponsored by: