Overdone Men’s Monologues

The following list has evolved out of surveys of industry and educational professionals since 2005. Please note that the majority of these monologues are overdone because they are great, and that “overdoneness” should not trump great writing when it comes to choosing material. However, please notice the dates next to each entry, and know that many of these monologues are so well known, that some auditors could recite them along with you. Some auditors have no problem with over-and-often-done material, and some do. For a detailed survey of auditors on what they do and don’t want to see in the audition room, and when you should and should not consider doing overdone material, please see my book, How to Choose a Monologue for Any Audition. —Karen Kohlhaas

Playwright/Year first produced/Character/Identifying line or topic
ALBEE/Zoo Story/1959/JERRY/Jerry and the dog
ANDERSON/I Never Sang for my Father/1967/GENE/That night I left my father’s house
ANDERSON/I Never Sang for my Father/1967/ALL OTHERS
ANDERSON/Tea and Sympathy/1953/Tom
BAITZ/Ten Unknowns/2001/Judd/Speeches to Malcolm
BAITZ/Other Desert Cities/2012/TRIP/Revelations about his life to his sister
BAITZ/Substance of Fire/1992/MARTIN/I spent most of my 16th year getting chemotherapy
BAITZ/Substance of Fire/1991/MARTIN/Publish Hustler or publish Proust
BOGOSIAN/The Fan, from Pounding Nails in the Ground with My Forehead/1993
BOGOSIAN/Suburbia/1994/JEFF/about moving to New York City
CRISTOFER/Shadow Box/1977/MARK/We’re dying here lady…
CRISTOFER/Shadow Box/1977/MARK/When I met Brian…
CRISTOFER/Lady and the Clarinet/1989/JACK/Swimming in the toilet bowl
DAVIS/Mass Appeal/1981/MARK/Dead goldfish speechx
DRESSER/Rounding Third/2002/Coach speaking to kids
DURANG/The Actor’s Nightmare/1981/GEORGE SPELVIN/Any of it
DURANG/Baby with the Bathwater/1983/DAISY/…I looked more like a boy than a girl
DURANG/Laughing Wild/1987/MAN/Tunafish monologue
DURANG/The Marriage of Bette & Boo/1973/ALL
FEIFFER/Feiffer’s People/1968/ALL
FEIFFER/Hold Me!/1977/ALL
FODOR/100 Saints You Should Know/2007/MATTHEW/These are the pictures…
GESNER/LIPPA/You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown/1967/ALL
GREENBERG/The American Plan/1990/NICK/I’m a rambling wreck
GREENBERG/Take Me Out/2002/MASON/Baseball convert speech
GREENBERG/Three Days of Rain/1998/Walker/ALL
GUARE/House of Blue Leaves/1986/Ronnie/ALL
GUARE/Six Degrees of Separation/1990/RICK/ Rainbow Room night
GUIRGIS/Jesus Hopped the A Train/2001/Angel/Skiing in Aspen
HERZOG/4000 Miles/2012/LEO/Chicken crash monologue
HOROVITZ/It’s Called the Sugar Plum/1968/ZUCKERMAN/Strudel-dee
HOROWITZ/It’s Called the Sugarplum/1968/ZUCKERMAN/Cellar door
IIZUKA/Aloha Say the Pretty Girls/1999/ALL
JOHNSON/Brilliant Traces/1988/HENRY HARRY/ALL
KATIMS/The Man Who Couldn’t Dance/2009/MAN/All versions
KAUFMAN & TECTONIC/Laramie Project/2000/ZEBEDIAH/Monologue competition
KORDER/Boys’ Life/1988/ALL
KORDER/Search and Destroy/1992/RON/ Baseball bat night at Shea stadium
KRAMER/Wall of Water/1998/ALL
LABUTE/Fat Pig/2004/ALL
LABUTE/Shape of Things/2002/Monologue at end about “This isn’t art”
LINDSAY-ABAIRE/Rabbit Hole/2005/JASON/Dear Mr. and Mrs. Corbett
LOGAN/Red/2011/KEN/…”try working for you for a living”
LONERGAN/This is Our Youth/1996/ALL
LONERGAN/Lobby Hero/2001/ALL
MAMET/American Buffalo/1992/TEACH/ALL
MAMET/Glengarry Glen Ross/1983/ALL
MAMET/Sexual Perversity in Chicago/1974/BERNIE/Girl in the flak suit speech
MAMET/Speed the Plow/1988/ALL
MARGULIES/Dinner with Friends/1998/ALL
MARTIN/Jack and Jill/1996/JACK/Nice, right?
McCLURE/Lone Star/1980/ALL
McDonagh/The Pillowman/2003/ALL
MEE/Big Love/1999/Giuliano and Nikos monologues
MEE/True Love/2000/All Male
MOSES/The Four of Us/2008/All
PAPE/Say Goodnight Gracie/1978/JERRY/Chunky turkey soup speech
RAPP/Red Light Winter/2005/ALL
REBECK/Dead Accounts/2012/JACK/Cheese Coney-New York food monologue
RIDLEY/The Pitchfork Disney/1991/PRESLEY/Frying the little green snake
RUDNICK/I Hate Hamlet/1991/ANDREW/Acting ‘To be or not to be’
SCHULNER/Infinite Ache/2005/CHARLES/Monologue about love
SHANLEY/Danny and the Deep Blue Sea/1983/DANNY/ALL
SHANLEY/Italian-American Reconciliation/1989/ALL
SHANLEY/Beggars in the House of Plenty/1991/JOHN/ALL
SHEPARD/A Lie of the Mind/1985/JAKE/She was going to these goddamn rehearsals
SHERMAN/Women and Wallace/1996/WALLACE/ALL
SILVER/Free Will and Wanton Lust/1994/PHILIP/I don’t find my sex organs attractive
SILVER/Pterodactyls/1993/TODD/Dinosaur speech
SILVER/Raised in Captivity/1995/SEBASTIAN/Mr. Giggles the Clown
SIMON/Any/Virtually any young man’s monologue from Neil Simon’s major plays
SIMON/Biloxi Blues/1984/EUGENE/I was in the latrine…
SIMON/Jake’s Women/1992/JAKE/ALL
SONDHEIM/Assassins/1990/SAM BYCK/Speech about hijacking airplane
STOPPARD/Rosencrantz and Guildenstern…/1966/ROSENCRANTZ/Lying in a box
TAYLOR&BOLOGNA/Lovers and Other Strangers/1968/ALL
TESICH/Division Street/1980/ALL MEN’S/(orgasm, boat people, etc.)
WELLER/Loose Ends/1979/PAUL/Happy Birthday. Do you like it? (abortion speech)
WILLIAMS/The Glass Menagerie/1944/TOM/ALL
WILSON/Burn This/1987/PALE/1st Monologue
WILSON/Fifth of July/1980/ALL
WRIGHT/The Pavillion/2005/PETER/ALL


There are a finite number of Shakespeare monologues, so the most accessible roles for actors in their 20’s tend to be overdone. Some auditors urge actors to find classical monologues from writers other than Shakespeare. However, others would rather see actors do something very well known, than a piece that is not as good, or too difficult for the actor. Choose carefully!

As You Like It/ORLANDO/ As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion
As You Like It/JAQUES/All the world’s a stage
Hamlet/HAMLET/To be or not to be
Hamlet/HAMLET/O what a rogue and peasant slave am I
Hamlet/HAMLET/Speak the speech
Hamlet/HAMLET/Alas poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio
Henry IV Pt 1/HOTSPUR/My liege I did deny no prisoners
Henry V/CHORUS/All prologues
Henry V/Henry/Once more into the breach dear friends once more
Henry V/Henry/This day is called the feast of Crispian
Julius Caesar/ANTONY/Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears
King Lear/EDMUND/Thou, Nature, art my goddess
Macbeth/MACBETH/If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well
Macbeth/MACBETH/Is this a dagger I see before me
Macbeth/MACBETH/Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Measure for Measure/ANGELO/Who will believe thee Isabel
A Midsummer Night’s Dream/PUCK/ My mistress with a monster is in love
Othello/IAGO/Thus do I ever make my fool, my purse
Othello/IAGO/And what’s he then that says I play the villain?
Richard III/RICHARD/Now is the winter of our discontent
Romeo and Juliet/MERCUTIO/Then I see Queen Mab hath been with you
Romeo and Juliet/ROMEO/But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
Twelfth Night/SEBASTIAN/This is the air, that is the glorious sun
Two Gentlemen of Verona/LAUNCE/When a man’s servant shall play the cur
Two Gentlemen of Verona/PROTEUS/Even as one heat another heat expels