BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop Announces Its Spring Smoker 5/20


The BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop announces its Spring Smoker, a semi-annual showcase for new songs from Workshop writers. The event will be held at the The Actors Temple Theatre, 339 West 47th Street, (between 8th and 9th Aves) at 5:30PM and is open to members of the entertainment industry as well as Workshop members. Reservations: or 212 989-6706.

The Smoker, now in its twelfth season, is modeled after informal social gatherings at Cambridge University where the Workshop's two time Tony® Award winning and 2010 Oscar® nominated writer Maury Yeston performed his songs during his undergraduate days. Previous smoker participants include Best Musical Tony® Award winners Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx (Avenue Q), Nancy Ford & Gretchen Cryer (I'm Getting My Act Together...), Eric Rockwell & Joann Bogart (The Musical of Musicals, The Musical) Amanda Green & Tom Kitt (High Fidelity) and Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winners for Next to Normal.

Recent and upcoming productions of musicals developed in the Workshop include The Kid by Andy Monroe, Jack Lechner and Michael Zam produced by The New Group, currently running Off-Broadway, Wanda's World by Beth Falcone & Eric H Weinberger at AMAS, preparing for a Broadway run directed by Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Calvin Berger by Barry Wyner, directed by Kathleen Marshall at George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, NJ, Giant by Michael John LaChiusa, Signature Theatre, Arlington, Virginia, The Story of My Life by Neil Bartram & Brian Hill, directed by Richard Maltby Jr. at Goodspeed's Norma Terris and on Broadway and See Rock City by Brad Alexander & Adam Mathais at Barrington Stage and preparing for a summer production off-Broadway by The Transport Group.

Eleven new musicals and nineteen BMI Workshop writers are represented:
BMI Foundation Harrington Award Winner, Daniel Israel and Robert Yarnall are collaborating on an adaptation of the Doris Kearns Goodwin childhood memoir Wait ‘Til Next Year. Actress Amy Zelcer, who has toured with TheatreWorks/USA portrays the young Doris as she confesses to her local priest , played by actor/lyricist-librettist Yarnall.

"Seahaven" is from a new musical by lyricist Brad Bauner, associate producer of Burn the Floor and composer Alexander Gemignani, who appeared in Road Show at The Public Theatre and on Broadway in the recent revivals of Les Miserables, Assassins.Their performers include Alison Jaye Horowitz who has appeared on Broadway in Mary Poppins, the recent Sunday in the Park with George and Jeff Kready, member of the original Broadway companies of Billy Elliot and the recent Sunday in the Park with George and Les Miserables revivals.

Lyricist and playwright Christopher Boal, (Crazy for the Dog, 23 Knives, Order, opening June 6 at the Kirk Theater) and Grammy Award Composer/Producer Andrew Sherman will perform their song "Big Brown Beautiful Ball " from a new revue National Geographic, which explores the lives and habits of international critters. They are joined by international actor/comedian Tom Shillue (Comedy Central Presents solo stand-up special, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) and international pianist/composer Marc Schubring (Cyrano, Emil and the Detectives)at the piano.

The Passion of Ed Wood is a new musical biography of the cult film director with book and lyrics by Peabody and Harrington Award winner Justin Warner and music by singer/songwriter Rob Kendt, whose CD "I'm not Sentimental" was just released by Ruby Records. 6'5" Performer Jeff Ward, who recently portrayEd Howard DaSilva in the musical Intervention! portrays another hulking actor, Tor Johnson, singing "I Am Actor." John Prestianni accompanies.

Eric March is composer/lyricist of the new musical Absurdistan. March's work has been performed at the New York Fringe (Granola! The Musical), Ars Nova (Songs About Real Life) and the Ensemble Studio Theatre. Performer Jeremy Morse is a Drama Desk nominee for Bloodsong of Love at Ars Nova. "

"Mrs. Cain's Testimony" is from Vessel of Wrath a new musical by Kellen Blair & Joe Kinosian based on the true life of Carry A. Nation, the anti-alcohol, saloon-smashing temperance leader. The song is performed by Amy Justman (Company, Grapes of Wrath, White Christmas).The writing team's credits include Murder for Two (Chicago Shakespeare, New World Stages and Bay St. Theatre) and Pirates Don't Change Diapers for TheatreWorks/ USA.

"If Life Could Imitate Art" is from composer/lyricist Stuart McMeans' new musical, Every Man for Himself, recently seen at Dixon Place in New York. " McMeans' recent works in include Bargains and Blood at the Intl NY Fringe, The Magnificent Passion of the Home Shopping Hostess (Dixon Place NYC). His performers are Geoffrey Hemingway (Mamma Mia (National Tour), Good Vibrations (Broadway), and Keith Varney: Titanic (Nat'l Tour), Les Miserables, The Producers & The Full Monty. "You Da Man," is from a new untitled musical by Michele Foor and David Gaines performed by Jonathan Todd Ross, noted Anime voice artist for 4 Kids entertainment.

"My Child Has Come Back to Me" is from Séance by Kleban Award Winning Lyricist Patrick Cook & Composer Frederick Freyer, writers of the Outer Critics nominated "Captains Courageous." Séance is a the true story about the Fox Sisters, whose childish pranks convinced their parents there were ghosts in their house ---and the Modern Spiritualism movement was born. The quintet is performed by Elizabeth Cherry, Kimberly Dunbar, Laurie Gardner, Kelly McCormick and Beverly Ward. "You Da Man" from a new untitled musical by Michele Foor & David Gaines and is sung by Jonathan Todd Ross, noted anime voice actor for 4 Kids Entertainment.

"An Actor Prepares" is a new song by Adam Overett, composer/lyricist of Call it Courage and The Firebird. Nicole Lewis, who is sings the song is currently in the Broadway company of Hair. "I Love Meat" is from a new musical with book and lyrics by Sukari Jones (E.Y. Harburg Award Winner) and music by Ryan Langer (BMI Foundation Harrington Award Winner). In a world of omnivorous snakes, one is a holdout vegetarian. The song is performed by Anna Marquardt (Walmartopia-Fringe Fest), Adam Spiegel, Joelle Lurie, Mark Robert Turner, Sam Tedaldi and Natalie Charlé Ellis.

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 and The Kleban Prize for Outstanding Lyrics. 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 The Palm Beach Post, The Norwich Bulletin and TheatreWeek. His play, Puma, co-written with Julie Gilbert, opens at New Jersey Rep in Feburary, 2011.

The BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, recipient of a 2006 Tony honor, Drama Desk Award and 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. Admission to the Workshop is by audition and there is no charge for participants for the institution called "The Harvard of Musical Theatre" by The New York Times.

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.

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