21 Dramatic Monologues for Actors

Article Image
Photo Source: Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a great dramatic monologue, it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many choices out there that deciding what’s a good fit can be difficult and it’s never fun to be struggling to choose a monologue with auditions right around the corner. Never fear, actors! With pieces from stage to screen, our Backstage Experts have rounded up some great dramatic monologues for you to consider.

JUMP TO

Dramatic Monologues for Women

Backstage Expert and actor Mallory Fuccella knows how important it is to find a dramatic monologue with the right tone. This might sound hard but don’t worry, Fuccella has rounded up some excellent dramatic monologues for women with varying tones that you can consider for your next audition. 

1. “Curse of the Starving Class” by Sam Shepard – Emma
“If you’re new to acting or play an age range between 14–18, I highly suggest reading through Sam Shepard’s ‘Curse of the Starving Class.’ Shepard’s dexterity with language and character arcs make each moment of this play an entertaining and heart-wrenching read.” 

2. “Succession” (Season 1, Episode 10) – Shiv
“What makes the monologue so engaging and gripping is Shiv’s view on family, power and wealth, and love. If you’re a dramatic actor who enjoys dialogue and multi-layered characters, check out this monologue at the end of Season 1.”

3. “Ramy” (Season 1, Episode 6) – Fatima
“This is a great monologue to dive into if you tend to be an actor that leads more toward comedic parts since ‘Ramy’ is considered a dramedy.”

4. “Atlanta” (Season 1, Episode 6) –  Jayde
“Jayde is a sophisticated and polished woman in her early 30s who believes that her way of living is the ‘correct’ way of living...This scene has some dialogue back and forth. For this monologue, you can cut the other lines and it will still read as a complete piece!” 

5. “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” by John Patrick Shanley – Roberta
“There are three strong monologues in the piece. If you enjoy sinking your teeth into the psychology of a character with a dark past, this play is for you!” 

You can learn more about these monologues here!

Dramatic Monologues for Men

Backstage Expert and acting coach Joanne Baron knows that “monologues should showcase an actor’s strengths and talents,” but finding the right piece isn’t always easy. But there’s no reason to fear! Baron has rounded up some great dramatic monologues for men to get you started.

1. “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” by John Patrick Shanley
“Danny has a brilliant, funny, fresh monologue where he says he has always wanted to be a bride. It’s a terrific dramatic monologue that is surprising and memorable.”

2. “Our Lady Of 121st Street” by Stephen Adly Guirgis
“The character Edwin has a powerful monologue where he brutally chastises his brain-damaged brother, Pinky, for interfering with Edwin’s tentative attempt to strike up a romance with a shy but lovely girl. Edwin profoundly regrets lashing out at his heartbroken brother and ends up calling a caretaker to ensure Pinky gets home safely.” 

3. “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller
“Biff has a powerful, dramatic monologue confiding to his brother Happy. In it, he says he wants to be on a ranch outside with his shirt off but that he can’t ever find happiness knowing his father will disapprove if he isn’t a powerful and wealthy businessman.” 

4. “Ben Is Back” by Peter Hedges
“Ben has a powerful monologue where he tells his mother he’s responsible for the death of his friend who overdosed. He is desperately but unsuccessfully trying to get her to reject and abandon him and to stop trying to save him.”

5. “Lobby Hero” by Kenneth Lonergan
“William is suffering with the profound moral conflict of whether to protect his brother by giving a false alibi to the police, or to leave his brother’s fate to a racist and unjust criminal system. William has a powerful monologue where he seeks advice from the clueless young security guard, Jeff.”

Dramatic Monologues for Kids

Backstage Expert and acting coach Denise Simon says that great dramatic monologues can be “hard to come by for kids under age 12.” To help, she has some suggestions for fantastic dramatic monologues for child actors.

1. “A Little Princess”
“I love this monologue because of its sincerity. Sara’s optimism, cheerfulness, and genuine heart shine through in every word, and those are qualities that many young girls already possess and celebrate.” 

2. “The Member of the Wedding”
“Frankie’s universally shared desire to find her place makes the monologue both relatable and entertaining as she comes to terms with her desires in unique, childish ways.” 

3. “Irreconcilable Differences”
“The monologue is essentially a plea for attention, respect, and understanding, and that’s something kids can understand in a world where their voices are often overlooked. Casey must articulate her desire for independence to a room full of adults who still see her as naive and incapable, and that’s a conflict young girls can understand.” 

4. “Nine Months”
“The need for attention isn’t a foreign struggle for young boys, making this the perfect monologue for them to add to their repertoire.”

5. “Runaways”
“The musical ‘Runaways’ features a cast of about 20 teens and children, each one having a song, scene, or monologue about why they ran away from home. It’s a great source of material because of its dynamic writing. Each monologue has a unique voice, yet they all have the same lingering sense of uncertainty that’ll have the audience on the edge of their seats.” 

You can learn more about these monologues here!

Dramatic Monologues for Teens

Backstage Expert and acting coach Denise Simon has spent “countless hours searching for engaging material” for teens. Who better to help you in your monologue search? Here are some great dramatic monologues for teens that can help you nail your next audition! 

1. “A Bright New Boise” by Samuel D. Hunter
“Hunter doesn’t sugarcoat his language, making the characters difficult to support at times but still unwaveringly human. While the language is dynamic, it can be crude, so I always suggest changing it to fit the young actor’s age.”

2. “Class Action” by Brad Slaight
“The dialogue is engaging, funny, heartfelt, and occasionally hormonal, much like adolescence itself.”

3. “Fences” by August Wilson
“I love the way this monologue builds to allow Cory his moment of triumph. The character’s growth and arc in this one-minute monologue is enough to give any young actor room to develop their own character and find their own moments of triumph.” 

4. “Everything Will Be Different” by Marc Schultz
“The monologue is easily relatable to teenage girls, who themselves are constantly bombarded with demands to mirror society’s standards of beauty. Beyond this, it offers an engaging character in Charlotte, whose naiveté creates a heartfelt confession as she tries to comprehend her personal tragedy.”

5. “Laramie Project” by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project
“A high school favorite to produce, this deeply moving play tells the true story of Matthew Shepard, a young, gay man who was the victim of a hate crime and has since become a symbol for America’s struggle against intolerance. Zubaida Ula’s monologue, in particular, stands out as a rallying cry against ignorance, while she herself struggles to comprehend the tragedy that she sees unfolding around her.”

6. “Push” by George Cameron Grant
“ ‘Push’ grapples with heavy subject matter, exploring the life of a boy named Chris after he faces bullying and eventually takes his life. I find it to be a rich source of material for any teen willing to confront these difficult topics.” 

Learn more about these monologues here!

Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

More From Backstage Experts

Recommended

More From Actors + Performers

Now Trending