I'd love to hear your thoughts on your favorite monologues for men.

Hello Ken!

Wow! Your blog is such a great reference to have and, of course, provides invaluable insight into someone I've admired for so long.
As I was reading your past entries, I saw that someone inquired about your favorite monologues from your works, particularly "Leading Ladies". You also provided your favorite Shakespearean comedic monologues for women.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on your favorite monologues both from your works as well as others for men.


Ken replies:

Dear Adolpho,

I'm so glad to hear you've enjoyed reading the blog. I'd be happy to suggest a few monologues for men from my plays as well as some of my favorite monologues from Shakespeare.

From my plays, there are three monologues that might be of interest:
1. From Lend Me A Tenor, I would recommend Saunders' monologue towards the end of Act I, just after he's discovered that Tito Merelli is unconscious and possibly dead. I've included this monologue below, since it requires putting three speeches together.

2. From Leading Ladies, I'd suggest Doc Meyer's monologue at the beginning of the Act I, Scene 2 (page 11-12 of the Samuel French edition);

3. And from Shakespeare in Hollywood, I would suggest the short monologue by the character Max Reinhardt in Act I, Scene I, page 17 of the Samuel French edition.

As for monologues from other sources, I couldn't tell from your email if you were looking for specifically comic pieces, so I've included a range of my favorite monologues from Shakespeare's plays:

From Much Ado About Nothing, there are two great monologues by Benedick. Both are from Act II, Scene 3: The first one is at the beginning of the act and begins, "I do much wonder that one man..." and the second one is towards the end of Act II and begins, "This can be no trick..."

From Henry IV, Part 1, I'd suggest Falstaff's speech in Act II, Scene 4, that begins, "If sack and sugar be a fault, God help the wicked."

From Midsummer I'd look at Oberon's monologue from Act II, Scene 1, "My gentle Puck, come hither..." or from Act IV, Scene 1, Nick Bottom's monologue that begins, "I have had a most rare vision..."

From As you Like It, Act II, Scene 1, there's the Duke's speech that begins, "Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile..."

And of course, everyone's favorite, "Our revels now are ended" from the Tempest, Act IV, Scene 1.

If you're looking specifically for tragedy, you might look at Hamlet or Macbeth. Here are a few of my favorite speeches from those plays:

From Hamlet: Act II Sc 2: "Oh what a rouge and peasant slave am I!" and Act I, Scene 2: "Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt..."

And from Macbeth, I'd look at Act II Scene 1: "Is this a dagger which I see before me?"

I hope this is helpful. Thanks so much for writing and all the best for your future in acting!



From Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me A Tenor, Act I, Scene 2:

SAUNDERS has just discovered that world-famous opera star, Tito Merell, whom patrons of Cleveland Grand Opera have paid large sums of money see perform the role of Otello that evening, is either unconscious or dead. MAX, his assistant, suggests that the performance go on as scheduled, with the understudy playing the starring role instead.

Well, I guess that wraps it up. End of the road. Arriverderci. I’ll have to make an announcement of course. A few brief words, nothing elaborate. Ladies and gentlemen — Mr. Tito Merelli killed himself this afternoon, thereby depriving many of…a great pleasure. It was universally acknowledged that he sang like a angel, but apparently he wanted to prove it. In short, our star for the evening has departed this world in a final gesture of selfishness and deceit unrivaled in the history of comic opera!

What? Still do the performance? Oh oh oh absolutely. We can prop him up and play a record. Add a few lines about how he was wounded in the Battle of Cyprus, then carry him around the stage on a stretcher.

What’s that? Use the understudy? The understudy. Of course! My God you’ve solved the whole problem! Skip the announcement, stick a note in the programme —“The role of Otello will be sung by Albert Rupp.” And then if there is anyone still in the audience when he takes his bow, they can stone him to death? The ultimate operatic experience! One thundering orgasm of insane violence! Make Salome look like The Merry Widow!

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