August Wilson Monologue Competition

New to Milwaukee, the National August Wilson Monologue Competition connects high school students to one of the most prolific American playwrights. Students perform a monologue from Wilson’s Century Cycle and will compete for the chance to win cash prizes and the opportunity to perform in New York City on a Broadway stage.

The National August Wilson Monologue Competition is a free arts education program celebrating the words of playwright August Wilson, inspiring high school students to express themselves through theater. Founded in 2007 by Kenny Leon and Todd Kreidler at Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company in Atlanta, the program is produced in collaboration with the national presenting partners True Colors Theatre Company and Jujamcyn Theaters.

As a part of the competition in the 2019/20 Season, students will perform monologues from August Wilson’s century cycle of plays and be adjudicated by guest artists. Two to three students will be selected from five semi-finals rounds to move on to the regional competition. Of those students, two regional winners will be selected and receive a $400 cash prize; one runner up will receive $100.

Beginning in the 2020/21 Season, if Milwaukee is selected as a host city for the national competition, the top two regional winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York City where they will compete nationally for cash scholarships on a Broadway stage.


In order to compete, students must:

1) Be in high school during the time of the competition.
2) Choose and memorize an approved monologue for the competition. To find a monologue, go to Approved AWMC Monologues.
3) Register for the competition and be available for an informational meeting, one of the semi-finals, and the regional finals.


Registration for the 2019/20 Season Competition is now closed. If you are interested in participating in 2020/21, please complete the interest form!

2020/21 Interest Form
Competition Dates

+ Tuesday, January 28, 7pm – Carmen High School
+ Monday, February 3 - Milwaukee Academy of Science, Boys & Girls Club at 4:30pm
+ Monday, February 10 - MPS Central office location at 4:30pm
+ Thursday, February 13, 6pm – UW-Milwaukee Kenilworth 508

Monday, April 13, 7pm - Stackner Cabaret Milwaukee Rep


Students registered for the competition must choose a monologue from the approved list below. Monologues cannot be cut or changed in any way.

This competition is open to any ethnicity, age, or gender. Choose a monologue that piques your interest and speaks to you personally. The chosen character does not need to be representative of your age, gender, or ethnicity. We recommend that you read the whole play from which your chosen monologue comes. August Wilson’s entire collection can be found at Milwaukee Public Library.

Gem of the Ocean (PDF)

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (PDF)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (PDF)

The Piano Lesson (PDF)

Seven Guitars (PDF)

Fences (PDF)

Two Trains Running (PDF)

Jitney (PDF)

King Hedley II (PDF)

Radio Golf (PDF)


AWMC Workshops Workshops are available to book for your school or community center. You can book individual workshops or a six-part workshop series that would include: an introduction to August Wilson, choosing a monologue, character development, performance essentials, auditioning, and monologue coaching.

We are currently in our shadow year for this competition and are open to exploring partnerships with schools and community organizations to co-create workshops and programming that best serves the needs of your students.