National August Wilson Monologue Competition

The National August Wilson Monologue Competition is a celebration of the words of the playwright August Wilson, inspiring high school students to find and express themselves through theatre:

“Theatre can do that. It can disseminate ideas, it can educate even the miseducated, because it is art – and all art reaches across that divide that makes order our of chaos, and embraces the truth that overwhelms with its presence, and connects man to something larger than himself and his imagination.”
– August Wilson, “The Ground on Which I Stand”

2021 Winners

14TH ANNUAL AUGUST WILSON MONOLOGUE COMPETITION NATIONAL FINALS

HELD VIRTUALLY ON MAY 3, 2021

Taloria Merricks: 2021 AWMC National Finals Winner

Tayloria Merricks

First Place
Atlanta, GA

Taylor Jackson: 2021 AWMC National Finals Runner Up

Taylor Jackson

Second Place
Atlanta, GA

Tyla Uzo: 2021 AWMC National Finals Third Place

Tyla Uzo

Third Place
Los Angeles, CA

2021 Judges

14TH ANNUAL AUGUST WILSON MONOLOGUE COMPETITION NATIONAL FINALS

Tony Award-winner Joaquina Kalukango, who won the first annual August Wilson Monologue competition in 2007
Jason Dirden, known for his work in Greenleaf and in Robin Roberts presents: Mahalia
Five-time AWMC judge James A. Williams
Tony Award-winner Tonya Pinkins, the writer, director, producer and star of award-winning feature film Red Pill
Seret Scott, accomplished director, playwright and actress, appearing in regional theatres, on Broadway, and on television

About the 2021 National Finals

Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company held its 14th Annual August Wilson Monologue Competition National Finals, virtually on Monday, May 3, 2021 at 7pm ET at truecolorstheatre.org. The first place winner was Taloria Merricks from Atlanta; second place, Taylor Jackson from Atlanta; and third place, Tyla Uzo from Los Angeles.

All 13 participating regions held virtual regional competitions to select this year’s winners. The top 2 winners from each region advanced to the national semifinal round, from which 16 national finalists were selected. In past years, the first-, second- and third-place winners received scholarships of $3000, $2000 and $1000, respectively. This year, judge Tonya Pinkins was so moved by the power of the students that she made a gift to fund scholarships for six additional finalists. Upon hearing the live announcement, Stefaniyemiya Ingram, a long-time True Colors donor, made an additional gift to ensure that the remaining seven national finalists received scholarships.

Founded in 2007 by True Colors’ Artistic Director Emeritus Kenny Leon and former Associate Artistic Director Todd Kreidler, the August Wilson Monologue Competition is held annually by True Colors Theatre Company to foster a new generation of creative minds, including exposing them to the life’s work and artistic legacy of seminal American playwright August Wilson. Program participants in cities across the country have historically encountered Wilson’s ten-play cycle and received coaching from teaching artists as they prepared their monologues for local, citywide and national competitions.

Download the AWMC Finals Program
Read More About the 2021 National Finals

2021 Virtual Panels

The weekend before the competition, regional finalists attended virtual panel discussions and workshops with industry professionals and award-winning playwrights, actors and designers, including Tony Award-winners Clint Ramos, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Phylicia Rashad, and esteemed designers David Gallo, Xavier Pierce, Allen Lee Hughes and Dwight Andrews.

Virtual Panel: August Wilson in the 21st Century

August Wilson in the 21st Century

Ms. Phylicia Rashad, Mr. Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Dr. Sandra Shannon

Digital Playmaking: Theatre in the Time of COVID

Robert Barry Fleming, Steven Sapp, Amelia Acosta Powell, Weyni Mengesha, Lindsay Allbaugh

Virtual Panel: Wilson Designers: Creating Wilson’s World

Wilson Designers: Creating Wilson’s World

Allen Lee Hughes, David Gallo, Xavier Pierce, Dwight Andrews

Playwriting for the 21st Century

Addae Moon, Gethsemane Herron-Coward, Kirsten Greenidge

AWMC History

Dr. Shondrika Moss-Bouldin, Todd Kreidler

Art as Activism

Jhanaë Bonnick, Sasha Maya Ada Davis, Deborah Wagnon, Susy PetchEam

Choosing a College

Benard Cummings, Leayne Dempsey, Miller Lucky, Tyler Bey, Clint Ramos, Trajan Clayton, Sydney Oshuna, Cassidy Huff

About the August Wilson Monologue Competition

About AWMC

ARTS EDUCATION PROGRAM

National August Wilson Monologue Competition was founded in 2007 by True Colors’ then-Artistic Director Kenny Leon and then-Associate Artistic Director Todd Kreidler. Kenny and Todd, both of whom worked very closely with August Wilson, conceived of the program to honor his legacy and to ensure that his work remained alive across the generations. Since its introduction in one school in Atlanta, the program has grown to include nineteen regions, including Atlanta (GA), Boston (MA), Buffalo (NY), Chicago (IL), Dallas (TX), E. Lansing (MI)*, Greensboro (NC), Hampton Roads (VA), Las Vegas (NV), Los Angeles (CA), Maryland*, Milwaukee (WI), New Haven (CT), New York (NY), Pittsburgh (PA), Portland (OR), San Diego (CA), Seattle (WA), and Urbana-Champaign (IL)*.

*indicates regions in program development phase

More Info

August Wilson was an American playwright. His literary legacy is a series of ten plays, The American Century Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Each is set in a different decade, depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the 20th century.

The top two winners from each regional competition participate in the National Finals, an all-expense paid trip to New York City* that includes:

      • Workshops with theatre professionals
      • Performance on Jujamcyn’s August Wilson Theatre on Broadway*
      • Ticket to a Broadway show*
      • Cash prizes for the top three winners

Interest in the August Wilson Monologue Competition continues to expand around the country. Our “shadow city” program is a two-year incubation period designed to help new regions design and test their programs. Currently, DC Metro (Washington, DC), Detroit/East Lansing (MI),and Urbana-Champaign (IL) are in the “shadow city” program. Our expansion plans are currently on hold as we navigate the implications of the pandemic on regional and National program implementation. However, if you would like information about bringing the August Wilson Monologue Competition to your city, please contact True Colors’ Managing Director Chandra Stephens-Albright at csa@truecolorstheatre.org.

About AWMC

ARTS EDUCATION PROGRAM

National August Wilson Monologue Competition was founded in 2007 by True Colors’ then-Artistic Director Kenny Leon and then-Associate Artistic Director Todd Kreidler. Kenny and Todd, both of whom worked very closely with August Wilson, conceived of the program to honor his legacy and to ensure that his work remained alive across the generations. Since its introduction in one school in Atlanta, the program has grown to include nineteen regions, including Atlanta (GA), Boston (MA), Buffalo (NY), Chicago (IL), Dallas (TX), E. Lansing (MI)*, Greensboro (NC), Hampton Roads (VA), Las Vegas (NV), Los Angeles (CA), Maryland*, Milwaukee (WI), New Haven (CT), New York (NY), Pittsburgh (PA), Portland (OR), San Diego (CA), Seattle (WA), and Urbana-Champaign (IL)*.

*indicates regions in program development phase

Get Tickets

More Info

August Wilson was an American playwright. His literary legacy is a series of ten plays, The American Century Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama. Each is set in a different decade, depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the African-American experience in the 20th century.

The top two winners from each regional competition participate in the National Finals, an all-expense paid trip to New York City* that includes:

      • Workshops with theatre professionals
      • Performance on Jujamcyn’s August Wilson Theatre on Broadway*
      • Ticket to a Broadway show*
      • Cash prizes for the top three winners

Interest in the August Wilson Monologue Competition continues to expand around the country. Our “shadow city” program is a two-year incubation period designed to help new regions design and test their programs. Currently, DC Metro (Washington, DC), Detroit/East Lansing (MI),and Urbana-Champaign (IL) are in the “shadow city” program. Our expansion plans are currently on hold as we navigate the implications of the pandemic on regional and National program implementation. However, if you would like information about bringing the August Wilson Monologue Competition to your city, please contact True Colors’ Managing Director Chandra Stephens-Albright at csa@truecolorstheatre.org.