Actors duke it out tournament-style in ‘Monologue Madness’ at Woolly Mammoth

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Monologue Madness' (Part 1)

Get ready for actors to duke it out in a March Madness-style tournament bracket.

“Monologue Madness” hits Woolly Mammoth Theatre this coming Monday at 7 p.m.

“This is the ninth year,” Producer Edward Daniels told WTOP. “We’re very excited to be back, especially coming out of COVID to give our actors a chance to get back in the audition room and back on stage … we’re showcasing the open call audition process, so an audience gets to see what happens before they see their favorite actor on film or on stage.”

The tournament will feature 32 actors selected from 200 auditions last weekend.

“We put them in a single-elimination bracket and they’ve got one minute to perform their best monologue,” Daniels said. “The rounds are different genres: comedy, drama, classical.”

What types of monologues do the contestants typically perform?

“The range is very vast,” Daniels said. “We have actors come in presenting theater monologues from plays, we have actors who have transformed musical numbers into monologues, we have lots of screenplays, so many of the audience members will be familiar with some of the monologues … everything is memorized, everything is off-book, everything is to be in their head.”

The Final Four will compete in a “cold read” battle.

“They’re given a monologue they’ve never seen before, they go offstage for five minutes, and then they come right back out and perform for the audience,” Daniels said.

The last two actors standing compete in the championship round.

“The panel of judges, which are six casting directors, give them the final call as to what they want to see,” Daniels said. “The last actor standing, the winner of the evening, takes home $1,000.”

He hopes the winner will eventually compete against winners from other cities.

“This is the first year that I’m taking ‘Monologue Madness’ out of D.C.,” Daniels said. “We’re taking the show to Atlanta in November, then taking it Los Angeles in January … at some point, if I can get more sponsors on board and grant funding, I would love to do a national tournament with the winners from each of these cities … but the goal right now is to get the event up and running.”

Created in 2011, this annual acting competition has awarded over $15,000 to deserving actors. If you like what you see at this month’s contest, feel free to apply for next year’s competition.

“We usually do our ‘Monologue Madness’ in March, usually right around the time of March Madness basketball, but due to COVID we had to shift things,” Daniels said. “We’ll be back in D.C. in March. That’ll be the next go-round for actors locally … (until then), we’re looking forward to the show this Monday evening at Woolly Mammoth. Tickets are $20. It’s a great show.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews 'Monologue Madness' (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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