The Drama League, Drama Desk and Tony-honored BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop held its biannual showcase of new songs from Workshop writers June 12 at the Jerry Orbach Theatre. The showcase, which highlighted 11 new musicals and 23 Workshop writers, was made possible by a generous grant from the Cameron Mackintosh Foundation.
The evening began with composer Brad Alexander and book writer/lyricist Adam Mathias’s See Rock City & Other Destinations, winner of the 2008 Richard Rodgers Award and 2007 BMI Foundation Jerry Bock Award. Anthony Rapp (Rent) and Jill Abramovitz (Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me) performed two songs from the show, followed by Jenifer Foote, currently in the Broadway revival of a Chorus Line, who performed the title song from BMI Foundation Harrington Award-winning writer Stephen Sislen and Ben H. Winters’ Room 16.
The showcase continued with selections from The Dirty Hippie Jam Band Project, with a performances from Sandie Rosa and Bret Carr; Pleasantville, an adaptation from the film of the same title; The Kid, based on the book by Village Voice columnist Dan Savage; The Thing About Joe, with a performance of “Some Girls” by Kevin B. McGlynn; Shall We Dance, featuring an ensemble performance of “He Needs Me”; Drive, created by composer/lyricist Andy Monroe; China Doll Overdrive, with a performance from Workshop composer Adam Overett and Mick Bleyer; My Blue Heaven, created by composer Andy Karl and lyricist Diane Daltner; National Geographic, spawned from author Chris Boal and Grammy Award-winning composer Andrew Sherman; and The Suicide, with a performance of “Hold the Pity Pudding.”
Pat Cook, artistic coordinator of the Workshop, presented an award to Richard Engquist on his retirement as the moderator of the Advanced Workshop. Engquist has been moderating the Second Year and Advanced classes for 25 years.
The finale of the showcase featured Anthony Rapp, star of the original cast of Rent, singing the title song from the BMI Foundation Jerry Bock Award-winning musical See Rock City.
Writers previously showcased include Best Musical Tony winners Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Avenue Q); Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Edward Kleban (A Chorus Line); triple Tony Award winner Maury Yeston, (Nine, Titanic, Grand Hotel); eight-time Oscar-winner and nine-time Grammy-winner Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Little Shop of Horrors); Drama Desk winner Carol Hall (Best Little Whorehouse in Texas); Tony Award recipients Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Seussical); Tony and Grammy winners Judd Woldin and Robert Brittan (Raisin); Tony nominees Michael Korie and Scott Frankel (Grey Gardens; and Tony nominee Jeff Blumenkrantz (Urban Cowboy).