Broadway’s Best to Honor BMI Composer Lehman Engel

Posted in News on March 5, 2001
Some of Broadway's top composers and lyricists will pay homage to legendary composer and teacher Lehman Engel, the founder of BMI’s Musical Theater Workshop, on Monday, April 2 at 8PM at Merkin Concert Hall in a grand celebration of his life and work entitled Lehman’s Children: The Legacy of Broadway’s Greatest Teacher. The evening will include an array of Engel’s former students, including Alan Menken, Oscar-winning composer of Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast; Maury Yeston, Tony-winning writer of Titanic, Nine and Grand Hotel; Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, partners in creating Ragtime, Once on This Island and Seussical; Carol Hall, best known for The Best Little Whore House in Texas; Michael-John LaChiusa, composer of Hello Again, Marie Christine and The Wild Party; and Gerard Alessandrini, author of the acclaimed Forbidden Broadway series. The evening will be hosted by Engel’s close personal friend, Broadway musical star Sally Ann Howes. Filled with performances and reminiscences by the composers and guest artists, this unique event will give audience members an insight into the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop experience.  

Lehman Engel

Maury Yeston

Michael-John LaChiusa
  This performance will inaugurate the new Merkin Concert Hall series entitled "Broadway Close Up," which continues on Monday, May 7 at 8PM with Comden and Green: The Art of Collaboration and then on Monday, June 18 at 8PM with Bound for Broadway.

Merkin Concert Hall is located in the Abraham Goodman House at 129 West 67th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam. Single tickets to this event are $20 and a 3-concert subscription to the entire "Broadway Close Up" series is $35. All tickets can be purchased at the Merkin Hall Box Office or by calling the concert line at (212) 501-3330.

About the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop
Musical Theatre is America’s natural treasure, and BMI’s support for this cherished form is but one more example of its commitment to the writers and publishers of all genres of music. More than three decades ago, BMI and the late Lehman Engel, Dean of American Musical Theatre, joined forces to create a setting where new writers for the musical theatre could learn their craft. An innovative program at its inception, the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop continues to flourish and is considered to be the foremost training ground for new writing voices. The Workshop has brought forth many musical milestones in writing and production.

Maury Yeston, longtime member of the Workshop serves on its steering committee and teaches the advanced composer-lyricist class. “[Lehman] provided loving attention to writers who otherwise would be separate and alone and without the foggiest idea how to get ahead or how to pursue their craft. He was really one of a kind. He created a forum for friendly criticism - and he offered it in the most avuncular and giving way. He brought into being a marvelous thing. And we refused to let it die with him.” After Engel’s memorial service at the Shubert Theater in New York in August of 1982, several of the BMI Workshop members got together and concluded that nothing would honor this master of the theater more than keeping the workshop alive in his honor. Now, 20 years after Engel’s death, "Broadway Close Up" provides a unique opportunity to pay tribute to his life and work.

About Merkin Concert Hall
Merkin Concert Hall is a division of the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center, which also includes the Lucy Moses School for Music and Dance and the Special Music School of America. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1952, the Kaufman Center occupies its own facility, the award-winning Abraham Goodman House, located in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Through its three divisions, the Center is an unsurpassed cultural resource where people of all ages experience the joy of artistic creation, expression and appreciation.


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