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 for the August Wilson Monologue Competition will open on January 4, 2019.

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

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

For more info, click here.

2018 Chicago Finals

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

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 2018 National Finals!

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

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 email

The August Wilson Monologue Competition is sponsored by Allstate Insurance Company.