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…hone your craft

core curriculum

a collaborative workshop

craft labs

add to your craft toolbox online

fringe festival

short musicals for the Hollywood Fringe Festival

general workshop

a community of musical theatre geeks

summer boot camp

concentrated summer sessions

The Academy for New Musical Theatre is the academic branch of New Musicals Inc.

The West Coast version of New York’s BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, ANMT has been running for nearly 40 years in Los Angeles, offering musical theatre bookwriters, lyricists and composers many different options and levels of instruction.

core curriculum

If you want to join our community of musical theatre bookwriters, lyricists, and composers, then the Core Curriculum is the place you’ll need to start.

The first part of ANMT’s famed Writers’ Workshop, the Core Curriculum is where experienced writers and novice writers alike begin, concentrating on the unique vocabulary and collaborative process of creating new musical theatre.

The Core Curriculum is an in-depth, intense nine-month collaborative workshop, which culminates in a production of your 15-minute musical in a professional theatre in Los Angeles.

monthly collaborative workshop sessions

Beginning every September, the Core Curriculum meets one weekend a month to put together musical theatre, composers, lyricists and bookwriters on teams that receive collaborative musical assignments. The following month, the work is presented and given highly constructive feedback from the staff, guests, and peers. Then, participants are paired with a different set of collaborators and a new assignment is tackled.

assignments based on award-winning plays

During the Core Curriculum, participants will experiment with such song styles as: the Ballad, the Comedy Song, the Duet, the Musical Scene, the Ensemble, the Classic Charm Song, and the Contemporary Complaint Song. The Core Curriculum’s collaborative assignments are based on Pulitzer- and Obie award-winning plays written since 2000, as well as movie and television scripts.

online craft labs

Concurrently with the monthly collaborative assignments, each participant will also complete at least one craft-specific online lab focusing on his or her main area(s) of concentration, i.e.; composing for the musical theatre, lyric writing, or book writing.

your short musical produced in Los Angeles

Your final collaboration is a 15 Minute Musical, which we cast, direct, rehearse and produce for you. It’s a very intense and memorable experience where you and your team will write an original show for four specific actors. Over the course of eight very active weeks, you’ll write an outline and three drafts, receiving readings and feedback at every step of the way, before your final script/score is launched into production. The annual 15 Minute Musicals are a much anticipated sold-out event, attended by other ANMT bookwriters, lyricists, and composers anxious to check out the new talent joining the community.

staff instructors and feedback guests

The Core Curriculum is run by NMI Artistic Director Elise Dewsberry and internationally-acclaimed John Sparks, who has conducted workshops in Los Angeles and Chicago for thirty-five years. The staff are also frequently joined by guests from the writer membership and from the industry.  Craft Lab instructors include Chicago-based Philip Seward and Larry Todd Johnson.

history of the program

We’ve been around for more than 40 years and have helped hundreds of writers and producers launch thousands of musicals.  We began as the Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop (the west coast branch of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop).  We became the Academy for New Musical Theatre in 2002, adding additional curriculum such as the Lyric Lab, Music Lab, and Book Lab, all of which are now also available online.

curriculum schedule

The Core Curriculum meets one weekend per month beginning in September each year.

Saturday: 2:30 to 6:30pm
Sunday: 2:30 to 7:30pm
Location: 5628 Vineland Ave. in North Hollywood

Core Curriculum Schedule for the 2020-21 Season
     Sat, Sep 26
     Sun, Sep 27
     Sat, Oct 17
     Sun, Oct 18
     Sat, Nov 14
     Sun, Nov 15
     Sat, Dec 12
     Sun, Dec 13
     Sat, Jan 9
     Sun, Jan 10
     Sat, Feb 6
     Sun, Feb 7
     Sat, Mar 6
     Sun, Mar 7
     Sat, Mar 27
     Sun, Mar 28

ALSO: The 15-Minute Musicals section of the program (writing, revisions, rehearsals, and performances) take place from the last session listed above through (approximately) mid-July.

curriculum fees

The fee for the Core Curriculum is $1500.  This includes all of the monthly collaborative assignments and feedback, one online craft lab (Book, Lyric, or Music), and a production of your 15 Minute Musical.

Optional additional online craft labs are $495 each.

Fees are billed in quarterly installments of $375 (payments do not begin until after official acceptance).

Currently enrolled college students and recent graduates may inquire about our student scholarships.


how to apply

All bookwriters, lyricists, and composers (from accomplished to aspiring) are invited to join us in September to audition for the new season of our famed Core Curriculum program. We will put you a collaborative team and give you a couple of assignments which you will prepare and present at the October sessions - and after that, we will make a mutual decision about whether or not the program is right for you.

There is no fee or obligation: try it on for size and enjoy making musicals with us!

Just click the button below to sign up now.

NOTE: To apply for an audition spot, you will be prompted to CREATE AN NMI ACCOUNT first.

don't live in Los Angeles?

Talk to us about participating in the Core Curriculum via live video-conferencing.

NOTE: You will not be able to view the Core Application page unless you are a logged in Registered User, BUT you will be able to either log in or register once you get to the next page.

Core Curriculum participants enjoying a collaborative workshop session

craft labs

professional, engaging online classes in writing music, book and lyrics

Each of the online Labs is broken down into multiple units. Each unit contains videos, handouts, exercises, tests, and assignments. Each assignment is personally evaluated by a live evaluator - so you get personalized feedback on your progress every step of the way.

Note: Participants in the Core Curriculum are required to take at least one of the Core Labs (Book, Lyrics, or Music) but these Labs can also be taken anytime by anyone, independently of the Core Curriculum. In fact, we encourage you to take your required Lab BEFORE you enter the Core Curriculum in the fall to get a head start!

for bookwriters:

     the Book Lab
     the Outlining Lab

for lyricists:

     NEW Lyric Lab 1 Fundamentals
     the Lyric and Advanced Lyric Labs

for composers:

     the Music Lab

for collaborative teams:

     the Musical Theatre Song Lab
     the Master Class with the Masters

“I’ve been a poet all my life, but I feel like – at long last – the lab is giving me the skills and understanding to go beyond the poetic gifts I was born with and to build on those gifts with insight and intention. And what a difference that’s going to make to my efforts! So thank, you, thank you, thank you!!”

Randi Wolfe, Lyricist

try the free lab demo…

“I always thought I had it in me to write for musical theatre, but it took ANMT to lead me through the steps to learn the craft, develop the skills, and ultimately find my own voice as a writer.”

Robin Share


fringe curriculum

After completing the Core Curriculum, participants may be invited to take part in the FRINGE CURRICULUM which develops short (30-40 minute) musicals to produce at the annual Hollywood Fringe Festival.

This program is NEW for the 2019-20 season. Currently, there are EIGHT short musicals in development for Fringe 2020. 

Watch here for news on theses productions in June of 2020!

general workshop

Bookwriters, lyricists, and composers who have completed the Core Curriculum can be invited to become on-going members of the General Workshop.

General Workshop members are given the opportunity to submit their work for a book-in-hand Monday Night Reading; and also are able to book monthly dramaturgical time with the staff.

NOTE that there is no way to APPLY for the Fringe Curriculum or the General Workshop.
Interested participants must first complete the Core Curriculum, and then be invited to participate in these opportunities.

Not local? Here’s how long distance participants take part in Core sessions via video conference

summer boot camp

The Musical Theatre Boot Camp is a summer series of workshops, lectures, and practicums designed to give participants a chance to work quickly over a concentrated six week period. It’s also a great place to check us out before committing to our full curriculum in the fall.

The courses for the upcoming summer likely won’t be posted until early spring.

check back in the spring…

“Joining NMI has been my single most productive move in the furthering of my musical theatre writing career.”

Chana Wise

Mary Marie (NAMT 2014)