BMI Presents Songs by Workshop Writers in Fall Smoker, Dec. 8
The Smoker, now entering its ninth season, is modeled after informal social gatherings at Cambridge University where the Workshop's two-time Tony Award-winning writer Maury Yeston (Grand Hotel, Nine) performed his songs during his undergraduate days. Previous smoker participants include Best Musical Tony Award-winners Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Avenue Q), Nancy Ford and Gretchen Cryer (I'm Getting My Act TogetherÖ...), Eric Rockwell and Joann Bogart (The Musical of Musicals, The Musical) and Amanda Green and Tom Kitt (the upcoming High Fidelity).
Eleven new musicals and twenty BMI Workshop writers will be represented in the pre-holiday entertainment. Performer Sharon Werner will play "Ilse" to composer-lyricist David Arthur's "Rick" in the song ""Paris,"" an homage to the film Casablanca from Saratoga Trunk Songs. Saratoga Trunk Songs was performed at the Stages Festival in Chicago and will have two staged readings at the York Theatre on December 5 and 6. BMI Harrington Award composer-lyricist Andy Monroe is collaborating with BMI Librettist Michael Zam on The Diva of Dade County, a new show about a retired singer who becomes a pop sensation when she teams with a South Florida songwriter. Writers Tom Gualtieri and David Sisco are collaborating on a musical version of Henry Jame's' Washington Square (the basis for the play and film The Heiress).
Lyricist Steve Routman and composer Joy Son are adapting the film The Fisher King by Richard LaGravanese and are represented with the song "Some People are Meant to be Alone." Composer Aron Accurso and lyricist Jill Abramovitz are adapting Leah Napolin's The Dogs of Pripyat, which takes place in a town three kilometres from the Chernobyl disaster. The survivors include a cat, Ninotchka, and a dog named Boychik as well as Old Tronko and his wife Elizaveta, who sings ""Everything I Need."" Abramovitz is currently appearing in TheatreWorks/USA's Junie B. Jones, written by Workshop alumnae Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich.
When Derby Died is an original musical by Jim McNicholas and Matt Vinson about a tech-addicted New Yorker whose computer dies and how it affects him over the course of a weekend. Songwriters Jeff Hughes and Scott Ethier are collaborating with novelist Richard Vetere on The Third Miracle (basis for the film of the same name). The new musical examines a priest, beginning to doubt his faith, who is sent to investigate a "miracle" in the borough of Queens. Brian Lowermilk and Kait Kerrigan will perform "Bev Makes It Happen" from their original musical The Unauthorized Autobiography Of Samantha Brown. Calvin Berger's very free adaptation of Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac recently won the 2005 BMI Foundation Jerry Bock Award for Workshop Songwriter Barry Wyner. Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning composer Jerry Bock (Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me) will personally select the winning musical from members of the BMI Workshop.
The second year Workshsop is represented by "Perfect" from the musical Still Life at the Golden Age by Jim Colleran as well as "The Royal Taster's Song" from second Year writers Phoebe Kreutz and Marc Schubring's musical Iznogoud. First Year writers Webb Wilcoxen and Dan Furman's will perform "Hello, Des Moines." The song is an example of a "sad hello/happy goodbye" song assignment, one of the song exercises devised for the workshop by Lehman Engel over forty years ago. The evening's finale is ""Words are not Enough,"" Steve Routman and Joy Son's tribute to the memory of their fellow classmate, Bob McDowell.
The event is co-produced by Kleban Award Winner Patrick Cook, Artistic Coordinator of the Workshop and Frank Evans, Special Events Coordinator. Cook garnered an Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination for Captain's Courageous, produced by Manhattan Theatre Club. Evans, whose musicals have been seen from Alaska to London, is a Jerry Bock Award-winning lyricist. He has been named on Best of The Year Lists in and The Palm Beach Post, The Norwich Bulletin and TheatreWeek.
The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, honored with the 2005 Drama League Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre, was founded in 1961 by the late Lehman Engel, dean of American musical theatre, to create a setting where new writers could learn their craft.
Now marking its 65th year in business, BMI is an American performing rights organization that represents more than 300,000 songwriters, composers and publishers in all genres of music. With a repertoire of more than 6.5 million musical works from around the world, the non-profit-making corporation collects license fees from businesses that use music, which it then distributes as royalties to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.
For reservations, e-mail Ssantana@bmi.com or call 212 830-8360.