The BMI Foundation has announced seven members of the Tony-honored BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop as the winners of its annual Musical Theatre Awards, encompassing the Jerry Harrington Awards for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Musical Theatre, the Jean Banks Award, and the Ellen Schwartz Award for Outstanding Literary Merit in Lyric Writing. The awards were presented by BMI Director of Musical Theatre and BMI Foundation Board Member Pat Cook during a ceremony held on June 12 at BMI’s New York office.
The 2017 Musical Theatre Award winners are:
Alex Ratner - Second Year Workshop, Jean Banks Award for “Salad Days”
Laura Kleinbaum - Ellen Schwartz Award for Outstanding Literary Merit in Lyric Writing
Kevin Hammonds - Librettists Workshop, Jerry Harrington Award
Joanna Burns - First Year Workshop, Jerry Harrington Award
Brandon Lambert - Second Year Workshop, Jerry Harrington Award
Laurel Haines - Advanced Workshop, Jerry Harrington Award
Stephanie Singer - Advanced Workshop, Jerry Harrington Award
The Jerry Harrington Awards were established in 2000 by BMI Foundation Board Member Evelyn Buckstein in honor of her late friend and colleague Jerry Harrington, who was an avid supporter of musical theatre. Awards totaling $2,600 are presented annually for the works judged “most outstanding” in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, a program that is widely regarded as the premiere training ground for emerging musical theatre composers, lyricists, and librettists.
The Jean Banks Award was created by the BMI Foundation in 2012 to honor the legacy of former BMI Senior Director of Jazz and Musical Theatre and BMI Foundation Secretary Jean Banks. A $500 prize is presented each year for the best ten-minute musical written in the Musical Theatre Workshop.
The Ellen Schwartz Award commemorates the life and career of the late songwriter, Ellen Schwartz, and was established by her husband Michael in 2015. A $1,000 award is given annually to a Second or Third Year Workshop participant whose lyric writing demonstrates exceptional literary merit.