BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop

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The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop is a workshop in New York for musical theatre composers, lyricists and librettists.


The BMI Workshop was founded in 1961 by Lehman Engel and the performing rights organization BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.).[1]

Moderators, who lead the individual groups, include Patrick Cook, Richard Engquist, Frederick Freyer, Nancy Golladay, and David Spencer.

Notable participants have included Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Clark Gesner, Amanda Green, Gerard Alessandrini, Bobb Goldsteinn, Edward Kleban, Michael John LaChiusa, Ethan Mordden, Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Jeff Marx, Alan Menken, Maury Yeston, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey.

Participation in the Workshop[edit]

Composers and lyricists participate in three discrete phases of the Workshop. In the First Year Workshop, participants collaborate (and some composer-lyricists work independently) on specific, varied assignments. In the Second Year Workshop, individuals and established teams present pieces of a larger work in process as assigned. Some participants are then invited to join the Advanced Workshop, in which they present new work in progress.

There is an open competition for admission to the Workshop, which is operated by BMI at no cost to participants. Applications for admission to the first-year group of composers and lyricists are accepted until August 1 of each year. The application includes an application form and tapes or lyrics, as appropriate; auditions take place after the applications are screened. Applicants for the librettists' portion of the workshop must submit excerpts from their works by May 1 of each year. Writers need not be affiliated with BMI.


On May 21, 2006, the Drama Desk awarded the BMI Workshop a Special Award "for nurturing, developing and promoting new talent for the musical theater."

On September 22, 2006, it was announced that the BMI Workshop was one of the recipients of the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre.[2]

References to the BMI Workshop in Musical Theatre Works[edit]

Portions of the 2000 Broadway musical A Class Act take place in the BMI Workshop. Edward Kleban, who is the subject of the show, was a member of the Workshop.


In 2008, a songbook was released containing 20 songs by members of the workshop, including Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Tom Kitt and Amanda Green, Michael John LaChiusa, Maury Yeston, Kim Oler and Alison Hubbard, Joy Son, Jill Abramovitz and Jeff Blumenkrantz. Jeff Blumenkrantz hosted a weekly podcast to showcase the songbook, in which he interviewed the writers of each song and had a guest artist perform the song, followed by an interview with the performer. Artists who appeared on the podcast include Brian d'Arcy James, Liz Callaway, Hunter Foster, Emily Skinner, Ann Harada and Neil Patrick Harris.


  1. ^ Engel, Lehman, This Bright Day, Macmillan, 1974.
  2. ^ "The Tony Awards Announces Four Recipients of the 2006 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre". The Official Website of the American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards. Retrieved September 24, 2006. 

External links[edit]