Patrick Cook, artistic coordinator of the workshop, presented certificates and cash prizes during a cocktail reception June 13 at BMI's New York office.
The 2005 recipients of the Jerry Harrington Musical Theatre Awards are First Year Workshop member lyricist Phoebe Kreutz; Second Year Workshop member lyricist Jill Abramovitz; Librettist Workshop member Adam B Matthias; and Advanced Workshop member composer-lyricist Sean Hartley.
Established by Harrington's longtime friend and colleague, BMI executive Evelyn Buckstein, the awards are given each year in Harrington's honor to celebrate the late attorney's lifelong love of musical theatre.
According to the BMI announcement, "In only six years, these awards have already given early recognition to some of the most talented and promising young musical theatre composers and librettists working in the field today, including Tony Award winners Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Avenue Q) who received the first Harrington awards in 2000."
The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop was established in 1961 by the late Lehman Engel, the Broadway conductor and musical director, to create a setting where new writers could learn their craft by working on exercises and presenting works in progress for critiques by peers. Consisting of approximately 200 members, the Workshop is a highly competitive and selective teaching environment (entrance is by audition of material) "designed to provide hands on opportunities for theatre composers and lyricists."
The tuition-free, not-for-profit Workshop is considered one of the major training grounds for new writing voices in American musical theatre. In addition to Marx and Lopez, other successful Workshop alumni include Edward Kleban (A Chorus Line), Maury Yeston (Nine), Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast), Susan Birkenhead (Jelly's Last Jam) and Gerard Allesandrini (Forbidden Broadway).
The BMI Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1985 to support the creation, performance, and study of music through awards, scholarships, commissions and grants. Tax-deductible donations to the Foundation come primarily from songwriters, composers and publishers, BMI employees and members of the public with a special interest in music. Because both the Foundation staff and the distinguished members of the Advisory Panel serve without compensation, over 97 percent of all donations and income are used for charitable grants.