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BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop


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 participantsEdit

Participation in the WorkshopEdit

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 WorksEdit

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 AlumniEdit

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


  • A Chorus Line (Edward Kleban, lyrics)
  • The Addams Family (Andrew Lippa, music and lyrics)
  • Anastasia (Stephen Flaherty, music; Lynn Ahrens, lyrics)
  • Avenue Q (Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, music and lyrics)
  • Beauty and the Beast (Alan Menken, music; Howard Ashman, lyrics)
  • The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas (Carol Hall, music and lyrics)
  • The Book of Mormon (Robert Lopez, music and lyrics)
  • Caroline, or Change (Jeanine Tesori, music)
  • Frozen (Robert Lopez, music; Kristen Anderson-Lopez, lyrics)
  • Grand Hotel (Maury Yeston, music and lyrics)
  • Grey Gardens (Scott Frankel, music; Michael Korie, lyrics)
  • Grind (Ellen Fitzhugh, lyrics)
  • High Fidelity (Tom Kitt, music; Amanda Green, lyrics)
  • Jelly’s Last Jam (Susan Birkenhead, lyrics)
  • The Life (Ira Gasman, lyrics)
  • The Little Mermaid (Alan Menken, music; Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, lyrics)
  • Little Shop Of Horrors (Alan Menken, music; Howard Ashman, book and lyrics)
  • Marie Christine (Michael John LaChiusa, book, music and lyrics)
  • The Me Nobody Knows (Gary William Friedman, music)
  • Next To Normal (Tom Kitt, music; Brian Yorkey, book and lyrics)
  • Nine (Maury Yeston, music and lyrics)
  • Once On This Island (Stephen Flaherty, music; Lynn Ahrens, lyrics)
  • Ragtime (Stephen Flaherty, music; Lynn Ahrens, lyrics)
  • Raisin (Judd Woldin, music; Robert Brittan, lyrics)
  • Seussical (Stephen Flaherty, music; Lynn Ahrens, lyrics)
  • Shrek – The Musical (Jeanine Tesori, music)
  • Sister Act (Alan Menken, music; Glenn Slater, lyrics)
  • The Story Of My Life (Neil Bartram, music and lyrics)
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie (Jeanine Tesori, music)
  • Titanic (Maury Yeston, music and lyrics)
  • Urban Cowboy (Jeff Blumenkrantz, music and lyrics)
  • Urinetown (Mark Hollman, music and lyrics)
  • Violet (Jeanine Tesori, music)
  • The Wild Party (Michael John LaChiusa, music and lyrics)
  • You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Clark Gesner, music and lyrics)

Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and regionalEdit

  • Abie’s Island Rose (Doug Katsaros, music; Frank Evans and Richard Engquist, lyrics; Ron Sproat, book)
  • About Face (Jeffrey Lodin, music; David Arthur, book and lyrics)
  • Angelina Ballerina (Ben Morss, music)
  • The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Alan Menken, music; David Spencer, lyrics)
  • Bright Lights, Big City (Paul Scott Goodman, music and lyrics)
  • Bumblescratch (Robert J. Sherman; book, music and lyrics)
  • Calvin Berger (Barry Wyner, book, music, and lyrics)
  • Captains Courageous (Frederick Freyer, music; Patrick Cook, lyrics)
  • Cupid And Psyche (Jihwan Kim, music; Sean Hartley, book and lyrics)
  • Dear Edwina (Zina Goldrich, music; Marcy Heisler, lyrics)
  • Death Takes A Holiday (Maury Yeston, music and lyrics)
  • Dinner At Eight (Ben Schaechter, music; Frank Evans, lyrics)
  • Dorian (Richard Gleaves, book, music, and lyrics)
  • Feathertop (Walter Edgar Kennon, music and lyrics)
  • Forbidden Broadway (Gerard Alessandrini, lyrics)
  • Forge of Freedom (Shelly Markham, music; Annette Leisten, lyrics)
  • The Gig (Douglas J. Cohen, music and lyrics)
  • God Save Queen Pam (Erin Murray Quinlan, book, music and lyrics)
  • Hello Again (Michael John LaChiusa, music and lyrics)
  • Herringbone (Walter Edgar Kennon, music; Ellen Fitzhugh, lyrics)
  • I Don’t Do Club Dates (Randy Klein, music; Isidore Elias, lyrics)
  • In Transit (James-Allen Ford, music; Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Sara Wordsworth, lyrics)
  • John Tartaglia’s Imagineocean (William Wade, music and lyrics)
  • The Kid (Andy Monroe, music; Jack Lechner, lyrics; Michael Zam, book)
  • Kuni-Leml (Raphael Crystal, music; Richard Engquist, lyrics)
  • Little Ham (Judd Woldin, music; Richard Engquist, lyrics)
  • Love Birds (Robert J. Sherman; book, music and lyrics)
  • Meet John Doe (Andrew Gerle, music; Eddie Sugarman, lyrics)
  • The Mistress Cycle (Jenny Giering, music; Beth Blatt, book and lyrics)
  • The Molly Maguires (Sid Cherry, music and lyrics)
  • No Way To Treat A Lady (Douglas J. Cohen, music and lyrics)
  • Phantom (Maury Yeston, music and lyrics)
  • Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know (Denis Markell, music and lyrics)
  • See Rock City (Brad Alexander, music; Adam Mathias, book and lyrics)
  • Time And Again (Walter Edgar Kennon, music and lyrics)
  • Triumph Of Love (Susan Birkenhead, lyrics)
  • The Tutor (Andrew Gerle, music; Maryrose Wood, book and lyrics)
  • Violet (Jeanine Tesori, music; Brian Crawley, book and lyrics)
  • A Visit From The Footbinder (Jeff Hardey, music; David Dreyfus, book and lyrics)
  • Wanda’s World (Beth Falcone, music and lyrics)
  • Weird Romance (Alan Menken, music; David Spencer, lyrics)
  • What’s A Nice Country Like You Doing In A State Like This? (Ira Gasman, lyrics)
  • The Wild Party (Andrew Lippa, music and lyrics)
  • The Woman Upstairs (Brian Lowdermilk, music; Kait Kerrigan, lyrics)

Children’s TheaterEdit

  • 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 filmEdit

  • 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 linksEdit