Named in honor of Mary Poppins and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" composer Robert Sherman, the $1,000 scholarship is awarded annually to a young composer studying musical theatre. A graduate student at Columbia University where he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in the Theatre Management and Producing Program, composer Simno plans to one day establish a large-scale regional theatre in his hometown of New Orleans. The theatre, Simno hopes, could be a testing ground for Broadway-aimed musicals.
The non-profit BMI Foundation is dedicated to providing financial resources to music writers, through scholarships, awards, commissions and grants.
The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop is a program of the BMI foundation, whose notable alumni and members include Maury Yeston (Titanic, Grand Hotel, Nine), Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), Edward Kleban (A Chorus Line), Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island, Dessa Rose), Gerard Alessandrini (Forbidden Broadway) and Michael John LaChiusa (Hello Again, Marie Christine, The Wild Party).