BMI has announced that the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Librettists Workshop is now accepting applications for membership. This unique writing program, one of the four musical theatre educational opportunities sponsored by BMI, is dedicated to the development and discovery of bookwriters for the musical theatre. The deadline for applicants is May 15. The application and requirements can be accessed here.
Now in its fourth decade of working with musical theatre writers, the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop was recently celebrated with Drama League, Drama Desk, and Tony™Honors awards for its contribution to the theatre community. The Librettists Workshop was created by the late Lehman Engel as an essential complement to the original songwriters’ workshops that Engel led from 1961 until 1982. Engel was fond of Oscar Hammerstein’s statement that “the song is the servant of the play.” BMI’s Librettist Workshop was founded to foster the new scripts which allow the American musical theatre to keep on singing.
The Workshop’s goal is to clarify the special techniques of writing for the musical stage. BMI fully sponsors the Workshop; there is no cost to participating writers. Most members of the Librettists Workshop are accomplished playwrights, but some join the Workshop after experience in screenwriting, journalism, or other literary disciplines. The Workshop has become a springboard for new works, a resource for new collaborations, and a talent pool known throughout the theatrical industry.
Broadway Literary Manager and scriptwriter Nancy Golladay serves as Librettist Workshop Moderator. Members meet weekly to present work in progress and to participate in peer discussion. Golladay has also created a number of innovative programs where Librettist members work on short-term projects with members of BMI’s songwriting workshops to promote collaboration and networking among the groups. Occasional guest lecturers visit the Workshop to discuss other aspects of the theatre business. Participants learn musical theatre skills both through moderated critiques and from the examples shown by the group’s senior members.
The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop is made up of approximately 250 composers, lyricists, and bookwriters working in the musical theatre. Alumni include Edward Kleban (A Chorus Line), Maury Yeston (Titanic, Grand Hotel, Nine), Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors), Michael John LaChiusa (Hello Again, Marie Christine, The Wild Party), Linda Klein (A Class Act), Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Once on This Island, Ragtime, Dessa Rose, Seussical), and Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q).
To apply to the Librettists Workshop, writers must submit samples of their work with a résumé and completed application form by May 15. In addition to bmi.com, application forms and information may be obtained by contacting:
Jean Banks, Senior Director, Musical Theatre, BMI
320 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019