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[edit]

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.

Notable musicals by Members and Alumni[edit]

Since the inception of the workshop in 1961 a great number of works have been created by members and alumni.[3]


Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and regional[edit]

Children’s Theater[edit]

  • Click, Clack, Moo (Brad Alexander, music; Kevin Del Aguila, lyrics; Billy Aronson, book)
  • Hansel And Gretel (Jane Smulyan, lyrics)
  • Henry and Mudge (Brian Lowdermilk, music; Kait Kerrigan, lyrics)
  • Junie B. Jones (Zina Goldrich, music; Marcy Heisler, lyrics)
  • Les Misérables (David Spencer, music and lyrics)
  • Phantom of the Opera (David Spencer, music and lyrics)
  • The Secret Garden (Kim Oler, music; Alison Hubbard, lyrics)
  • The Three Pigs (Jane Smulyan, lyrics)
  • We the People: America Rocks! (Brad Alexander, Eli Bolin, Adam Overett, music; Kevin Del Aguila, Adam Overett, lyrics)

Notable BMI alumni in film[edit]

  • La La Land (Justin Hurwitz, music; Golden Globe for Best Original Song, Best Original Score)


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. Archived from the original on November 22, 2008. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
  3. ^ "Theatre Workshop | Notable shows by BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop Members and Alumni |". Retrieved May 25, 2016.

External links[edit]