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.

2019 Application

The online application is now available! Click here to apply.

2019 Dates

Preliminary Auditions
Monday, February 11 | Steppenwolf Theatre
Tuesday, February 12 | Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
Wednesday, February 13 | Victory Gardens Theater
Thursday, February 14 | Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

Semi-Finals
Tuesday, February 19 | University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

Chicago Finals
Monday, March 4 | 6:00pm | Goodman Theatre

National Finals
Monday, May 6 | 7:00pm | August Wilson Theatre, New York

More Info

About the Competition

Chicago’s August Wilson Monologue Competition is sponsored by Allstate Insurance Company.

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 top two participants receive the opportunity to compete in the national finals in New York City.

(Pictured left to right: Nia Sarfo, Chisom Chima, and Evan Simpson)

Congratulations to all the 2018 finalists! The 2018 Chicago Finals of the 9th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition were held on Monday, February 26, 2018 at the Broadway Playhouse. Nia Sarfo of Chicago High School for the Performing Arts placed first, Chisom Chima of Nicholas Senn High School placed second, and Evan Simpson of Chicago High School for the Performing Arts placed third.

The top two winning students received expenses paid to travel to New York City for the National Finals, where they competed on May 7, 2018. Chicago’s Nia Sarfo placed second at the National Finals!

More than 600 students from across the city participated in the preliminary rounds. The judges throughout all qualifying rounds included: Alana ArenasE. Faye ButlerVeronda CareySydney ChatmanShanèsia DavisWendell EtherlyAllen GilmoreAnthony IronsDaniel Kyri MadisonDerrick Sanders, Regina Taylor and Willa Taylor. The 21 competitors in the Chicago Finals included students from Nicholas Senn High School, Wendell Phillips Academy, Chicago High School for the Performing Arts, the Advanced Arts Program at Gallery 37, Lincoln Park High School, Southland College Prep, Simeon Career Academy High School and Perspectives Charter School.

The three Chicago finalists received cash scholarships and the first and second place winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York to compete in the finals. The winner of the Chicago finals is also awarded a partial scholarship to attend the University of Illinois Chicago’s School of Theatre and Music. The top two finalists will receive additional coaching before competing in the national competition in New York, where they will participate in a weekend of activities around the competition and national prizes including monetary awards and scholarship opportunities.

In seven of the nine years, Chicago has had a student place in the top three national finalists.

August Wilson Compendium

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

More information about the Century Cycle. For more information about this competition, please email augustwilsoncompete@gmail.com.

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