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, 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.
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:
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.
For application and more information, please visit: