The first year class is co-moderated by Workshop Artistic Coordinator Patrick Cook (Captains Courageous, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) and Workshop alumni Frederick Freyer (Captains Courageous), 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 so 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 MusicalTheatre@bmi.com or by writing to:
Senior Director, Musical Theatre
320 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
Deemed "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. Included among the prestigious honors the Workshop has received are a special 2006 Drama Desk Award "for nurturing, developing and promoting new talent for the musical theater" and the 2005 Drama League Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre.