Applications Now Open For BMI Musical Theatre Workshop

BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) is currently accepting applications to the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop for librettists and first-year composers and lyricists. The Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning workshop is a free weekly program where lyricists and composers collaborate with peers to develop and cultivate their skills under the guidance of experienced instructors and veteran guest lecturers. Classes take place every Monday at BMI’s lower Manhattan office located at 7 World Trade Center. The deadline to apply for librettists is June 1st and for composers/lyricists is August 1st.

Notable Workshop alumni includes EGOT recipient Robert Lopez (Frozen, The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q), Academy Award-winner Kristen Anderson Lopez (Frozen, In Transit), Tony Award-winner Alan Menken (Newsies, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors), Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Shrek - The Musical, Violet), Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson (Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, The Book Thief, Between the Lines, Central Park) and Tony Award-winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once On This Island, Seussical).  In addition, two Workshop alums have 2023 Tony Award nominations in the Best Original Score category including, Tom Kitts for “Almost Famous” and Helen Park for “KPop.”

The first-year composers/lyricists’ class is moderated by BMI’s Senior Director of Musical Theatre, Patrick Cook, and Workshop Administrator, Frederick Freyer, who met in the Workshop in 1983. The course is a two-year program designed to help establish the participants' foundational skills through writing assignments with different collaborators, discussions and in-depth analyses on select musicals throughout history and guest moderators. In the second year, participants choose their collaborator and work on creating an entire musical. 

“One of my favorite things about this Workshop is working with the talented composers and lyricists as they hone and develop their skillset and grow as entertainers,” said Cook. “It’s thrilling to anticipate what new talent the application process and auditions bring each year, and we look forward to reviewing these new submissions, which will give us a glimpse into what's next in musical theater.”

Year one of the Librettists Workshop is a weekly two-hour course led by Drama Desk Award winner Adam Mathias. The curriculum includes lecture discussions and assignments exploring all aspects of musical theatre dramaturgy, focusing on classics of the golden age, contemporary shows, and students’ work. For those who complete the first year, the workshop offers weekly writers' roundtables moderated in person by Mathias and virtually by veteran Broadway literary manager and dramaturg Nancy Golladay. Playwrights ready to try their hand at musical theatre, lyricists wanting to improve their libretto writing, and bookwriters eager to take their craft to the next level are encouraged to apply. The deadline is June 1st.

To learn more, watch this video of Janine McGuire and Arri Lawton Simon, a writing team formed in the Workshop, explain the easy application process, their personal experience in the Workshop and what the upcoming class can expect. 

PHOTO: (LEFT) Destinee Rea and ensemble perform “Going to the Moon, Mama” from The Rocket Thrower (lyrics by Tia DeShazor and music by Andy Roninson) at the BMI Lehman Engel Workshop’s 2019 spring concert held at The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater. Photo: Jennifer Taylor for BMI.

To apply to the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, please visit: