BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop Accepting Composer and Lyricist Applications

by Jacob Coakley

The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop is a two-year musical theatre writing intensive
The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop is a two-year musical theatre writing intensive
The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop is now accepting applications for composers and lyricists. The Workshop is a two-year musical theatre writing intensive that pairs writers and composers and gives them the space to learn their craft. The Workshop is completely free for participants. More about the workshop, the application process, and a link to the application form after the jump.

First off, for all who know about the workshop, here’s the details on applying:

Composers and lyricists can download the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop application here:

Composers and Lyricists

Each September a first-year group is formed. Applications are accepted until the August 1 deadline. All submissions are screened prior to auditions, which are normally scheduled the first Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after Labor Day. Please send completed applications to:

Patrick Cook
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007-0030

With your application, which you can download above, please submit the following:
Composer: Three (3) contrasting compositions on CD - up-tempo, comedy song, ballad.
Lyricist: Three contrasting lyrics - up-tempo, comedy song, ballad.
Composer/Lyricist: Three (3) contrasting songs on CD - up-tempo, comedy song, ballad.

Please provide a short introductory set-up for each song or lyric.

At the auditions, composers must be prepared to perform at least two contrasting theatrical compositions; lyricists are expected to have copies available and to recite samples of their theatrical lyrics.

During the first year, composer and lyricists are paired off (writers may write both words and music) and are asked to create appropriate songs based on specific scenes from various plays, short stories and novels. The writers perform their assignments, and various approaches to the common assignments are discussed by members of the Workshop and the moderator. Every effort is made to insure that each writer retains his or her individual style. In addition, the writers study the requirements of the libretto, and analyze and discuss current and past musicals. The First Year culminates in the creation of a 10-minute musical.

In the Workshop’s final phase (Second Year), teams work on a musical. The Workshop functions as a forum and a sounding board for works in progress, as music and lyrics are critically evaluated and open dialogue is encouraged.

At the end of each Second Year, participants present excerpts from their musicals in progress, and the Workshop Committee determines which writers from that group will be invited to join the Advanced Workshop. Not everyone is asked. This Workshop is intended for writers of professional caliber who are expected to contribute to the vitality of the musical theatre scene.

The Workshops meet one afternoon a week for two hours, under the guidance of distinguished writers and directors. There are no restrictions on membership and no fees.

All of this info can be found on the BMI website at:

And here’s some more info about the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, from their website:

Musical Theatre is America’s natural treasure, and BMI’s support for this cherished form is but one more example of its commitment to the writers and publishers of all genres of music.

In 1961, BMI joined forces with the late Lehman Engel, dean of American musical theatre conductors, to create a setting in which new writers for the musical theatre could learn their craft. An innovative program at its inception, the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop continues to flourish in its fiftieth year, and is considered to be the foremost training ground for new writing voices, nurturing shows like A Chorus Line, Little Shop of Horrors, Nine, Once On This Island, Ragtime, Avenue Q, Next To Normal, and The Book of Mormon.  The Workshop received a special Tony Award in 2007, and a Drama Desk Award in 2006.

During the First Year, songwriters explore the basics of writing for the musical theatre through a series of assignments, which culminates in the creation of a 10-minute musical presented at the conclusion of the year. This class is moderated by Patrick Cook and Frederick Freyer.

The Second Year concentrates on the creation of a complete full-length musical, emphasizing the relationship of the libretto (“book”) to the score. At the conclusion of the Second Year, participants present excerpts from their musicals in progress. The year is moderated by Patrick Cook, Frederick Freyer, and David Spencer. A limited number of writers from the Second Year group are invited into the Advanced Workshop.

The Advanced Workshop combines members who have come up through the ranks as well as seasoned professionals presenting work from ongoing musicals.  Participation is by invitation only. Moderators include Lynn Ahrens, Michael Korie, Robert Lopez, Richard Maltby, and Maury Yeston.

In addition to crafting scripts for the musical theatre, members of the Librettists Workshop collaborate with members of the songwriting workshops in a series of assignments which link book and song. Veteran Broadway literary manager and dramaturg Nancy Golladay serves as Librettists Workshop moderator.

(All faculty and moderator positions are subject to professional commitments.)

The Workshop is operated by BMI free of any cost to participants. In addition to completing an application form, admission for the composer-lyricist workshop is based initially on submission of CDs by composers and composer/lyricists, lyrics by lyricists and composer/lyricists, and set-ups by all applicants for each song. Lyricists can also supply CDs. Admission for the Librettists Workshop is based on the submission of a writing sample in a theatrical script format as well as the application form. Finalists for the composer-lyricist workshops will be asked to audition their materials in person. Writers need not be affiliated with BMI. The competition for Workshop membership is open to all.