So You Wanna Write Musicals? Application Deadline for BMI Workshop Is Aug. 1

News   So You Wanna Write Musicals? Application Deadline for BMI Workshop Is Aug. 1
Are you the next Jeff Marx? The next Robert Lopez? The next Maury Yeston? The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop is now accepting applications for its first year composer/lyricist class.

The deadline for submissions is Aug. 1, 2006. Auditions for those invited to move on are after Labor Day. The first year classes begin in fall.

The first year class is co-moderated by Workshop Artistic Coordinator Patrick Cook (Captains Courageous, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) and Workshop alumnus Frederick Freyer (Captains Courageous, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), both Drama Desk nominees. The class explores the basics of writing for the musical theatre through a series of assignments and culminates in the creation of a 10-minute musical presented at the end of the year.

Qualified first year writers are invited into the second year.

The Workshop consists of approximately 250 composers, lyricists and bookwriters, most of whom are actively writing new works for the musical theatre.

Other noted alumni include Tony Award winners Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), Edward Kleban (A Chorus Line), Maury Yeston (Titanic, Grand Hotel, Nine), Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors) and Michael John LaChiusa (Hello Again, Marie Christine, The Wild Party). BMI fully sponsors the Workshop; there is no cost to participating writers. The purpose of the Workshop is "to bring writers together to work under the guidance and supervision of experienced professionals in order to develop new creative talent in the American musical theatre."

The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop "provides a learning environment where members are encouraged to experiment and take risks. Participants have opportunities to learn about musical theatre style from both the moderators and other members. The Workshop has become a springboard for new works, a resource for new collaborations, and one of the most respected workshops in the theatre industry."

Applicants for the first year composer/lyricist class are asked to submit three contrasting samples of their work along with a completed application form, which can also be obtained by email at or by writing to: Jean Banks, Senior Director, Musical Theatre BMI, 320 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019.


One of the major tuition-free crucibles of craft in the industry, the BMI Workshop was dubbed "the Harvard of musical theatre" by The New York Times. The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop was founded in 1961 by the late Lehman Engel, dean of American musical theatre, to create a setting where new writers could learn their craft. The Workshop received a special 2006 Drama Desk Award "for nurturing, developing and promoting new talent for the musical theatre" and the 2005 Drama League Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre.

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