Over 450 writers applied for membership in this year's Workshop, with 150 invited to the live auditions held in September. The new members are Craig Baldwin, Adam Bloom, Katherine Burger, Michael Capobianco, Jonathan Comisar, Matt Corriel, John J. Craven, Michael L. Cooper, Diane Daltner, Carl Danielsen, Christine Denniston, Linda Dowdell, Marlon Feld, Craig Fols, Drew Fornarola, Dan Furman, Bob Gutowski, Matthew Hardy, Andy Karl, Hyeyoung Kim, Mark Janas, Sara Levine, Kathy Lombardi, Kristin Maloney, Mary Liz McNamara, Robert Maggio, Robert Rokicki, Selda Sahin, Tracy Sallows, Brett Sawyer, Fred Thaler, Webb Wilcoxen and Robert Yarnel. Auditors are Matt Corriel, Kiara Duran, Kit Goldstein and Jennifer Scheer.
Hailed by The New York Times as "the Harvard of musical theatre," the Workshop has been operated by BMI free of cost to participants since its inception more than 40 years ago; admission is based on merit. It is the first organization to formalize the teaching of the craft of writing for the musical theatre and it is also the most successful, having produced such award-winning musicals as A Chorus Line, Little Shop of Horrors, Nine and Avenue Q.
This year's incoming members come from across the globe and from diverse backgrounds. From students who have relocated from Great Britain, to theatre professionals including established New York actors and musical directors; from college seniors who have lightened their course loads to participate in the Workshop, to students who have established non-Broadway careers but have always had a passion to write for the musical theatre.
As part of the Workshop, members are advised on a weekly basis by co-moderators Patrick Cook and Frederick Freyer, writers of the Outer Critics Circle nominated musical Captain's Courageous. Members of the class begin by writing individual song assignments and complete the year by writing and presenting 10 minute musicals over a five week period in the spring.
The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, recently honored with the 2005 Drama League Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre, 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.