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August Wilson Monologue Competition

Milwaukee Student Finishes in Top Six

On May 3, Milwaukee Rep finalist Yexuanj Rivera Melendez, from Milwaukee High School of the Arts, finished in the top six in the National August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) winning a $500 scholarship. Melendez performed a monologue from Jitney virtually, competing against 33 students from across the country. 2021 is the first year Milwaukee Rep is an official AWMC partner, which makes Melendez and fellow Milwaukee Rep finalist Fardowso Shidad the very first students to represent Milwaukee in the National finals. Congratulations to all the Milwaukee regional student competitors and the Milwaukee Rep education team on a successful first year participating in AWMC.

Two Students Selected for Finals

On March 29 the August Wilson Monologue Competition Milwaukee Regional Finals were held virtually and the panel of judges selected two winners, Yexuanj Rivera Melendez from Milwaukee High School of the Arts and Fardowso Shidad from Rufus King High School, with alternate Kamani Graham from Pius XI High School. Rivera Melendez and Shidad will be the first students representing the greater Milwaukee area to compete in the National Finals on May 3, 2021.

Milwaukee Rep has selected 10 local high school students who participated in the regional finals of the 2021 August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) on Monday, March 29, 2021. Learn more about our participants here.


The August Wilson Monologue Competition empowers high school students with the legendary playwright’s language. Students will take the stage with a lens on the Black American experience throughout the 20th Century.  With the assistance from Milwaukee Rep’s professional Teaching Artists, high school students will select a monologue, prepare for the competition, and have the chance to win cash prizes. This competition is open to all high school students from all backgrounds and ethnicities.

There are three rounds of competition with Milwaukee’s two regional winners receiving a $400 cash prize and one runner-up receiving a $100 cash prize. Regional winner will move on to compete at the national level.

For 2021 the competition will be held virtually.


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 in the Monologues tab below.
3) Register for the competition and be available for audition and regional/semi-final round dates.


Our finalists have been selected for the 2020/21. If you are interested in participating in 2021/22, please complete the following interest form to be notified of upcoming free training and audition information.

Interest Form
Competition Dates

Zoom Drop in Workshop
January 13, 20, 27 at 4pm
February 4, 10, 17 at 4pm

Virtual Auditions
Saturday, February 27 (deadline to register Feb 18)

Virtual Regionals Finals
Monday March 29

Virtual National Finals
May 1 – May 3

August Wilson Monologues

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)

About the Competition

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. For 2021 the competition will be held virtually.

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.

Milwaukee Rep’s August Wilson Monologue Competition participation is sponsored in part by:

Milwaukee Rep’s Spotlight Members