If you are a musical theater writer, or want to be one, this blog’s for you.

The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, one of the very few training programs for emerging musical theater writers, is looking for a new crop of students.

And did I mention that it’s free?

The famed program, which has churned out the likes of Ahrens & Flaherty (Ragtime and so much more), Jeff Marx & Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal), to name a few, just announced that it is accepting applications now for its 2010-2011 first year composer-lyricist class.

But you know what’s great about the progam?

It’s not the fact that it’s free, or that you get Tony Award-winning guest lecturers, or that it looks great on a resume.

The best part about BMI is that it’s like school.  You have homework. You have teachers.  And you have deadlines.

How many times have you sat at home and turned on the TV when you knew you should have been writing (or producing or exercising, for that matter)?  Now think back to when you were in school, college and/or graduate school.  Sure, there were still distractions, but somehow, you felt more compelled to finish your work, right?

Even the best self-motivators out there could use a little school in their life.

They’d be lucky to get a little BMI in their life.

For more info, including an application, click here.  (For librettists, check back later in the year – the librettist program looks for new peeps in the Spring)

And if you’re not near NYC and can’t make it to BMI, start your own version in your hometown.

Sure, Maury Yeston may not be available to you, but anyone and a deadline is better than no one and another game of Wii tennis.

  • Sierra Rein says:

    I have sung for BMI a few times, even directed a final presentation at the end of the year, and from what I saw it was a terrific program, challenging yet allowing students to play with and find their unique musical theater voice and style. It’s competitive going into the upper levels, but even first-year students learn a LOT and see their work improve immensely.

  • Sarah says:

    BMI and ASCAP offer so many outstanding programs for new musical theater writers. Most of it is NYC-centric, making me ache to be there already. I wonder if BMI would accept skype participants …
    Do you know of any (free) musical theater workshops in LA, Ken? The only similar program I’m aware of is ANMT, which charges for its workshops. Not too affordable for a grad student! I’m making my way as a musical theater composer fairly well here and have a new children’s musical being produced by the Morgan-Wixson next season, but collaborating with other writers in a structured environment and having such great guest lecturers is enviable!

  • I’ve already had 3 emails about programs like this outside of NYC. BMI? Are you reading? Sounds like a cool online correspondence course could be created.

  • amy says:

    Ken, I had composers in my first year class from Boston and western Pennsylvania. It can totally be done.

  • Grant says:

    I studied under Lehman (himself) in the early 70’s when he used to teach his course in L.A. He was a mentor to me. I was in his class until he died in the early 80’s.
    He was an amazing and inspirational man. I haven’t been involved in Musical theater since then, (when I had my first and only show produced) The big show at that time was Chorus Line, and I’m not surprised to see it still going strong…

  • School is a good thing. Even at the age of 56, I treat every day like a day in school, giving myself assignments and making up new projects, just to keep it all rolling.
    But I heartily recommend the BMI program. One year, when I was at National Academy of Songwriters, we did a full year’s course over a summer, taking a week to do each assignment instead of a month. Brian Stokes Mitchell was in that class. He’s a monstrously good composer, btw.

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