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core curriculum










Learn more about joining.

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[toolset_access role=”Administrator” operator=”allow”]Join our musical theatre writing workshop!

All bookwriters, lyricists, and composers (from accomplished to aspiring) are invited to join us on September 21 and 22 (2:30 to 6:30pm) to audit 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.

LET US KNOW IN ADVANCE by emailing admin@nmi.org - and we will send you some info (including the script you will want to have read to be prepared for the first assignments.)

No fee or obligation: try it on for size, and enjoy making musicals with us!



If you live in Los Angeles, or can get to LA one weekend a month, and you want to join our community of bookwriters, lyricists, and composers, then the CORE CURRICULUM is the place you’ll need to start.

The first part of the Academy’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.

Don’t live in Los Angeles?  Talk to us about participating in the Core Curriculum via our live streamcasting.

Beginning every September, the Core Curriculum meets one weekend a month (2:30-6:30 Saturday, 2:30-7:30 on Sunday), and is the foundation for all of the writing courses at ANMT.  Along with discussions about the craft of writing for musical theatre, composers, lyricists and bookwriters are put together to form collaborative teams for a variety of musical assignments.  The following month, the work is presented and given highly constructive feedback from staff and peers. Then, participants are paired with a different set of collaborators and a new assignment is tackled. Concurrently, each participant completes a craft-specific lab focusing on his or her main area(s) of concentration, i.e.; composing for the musical theatre, lyric writing, or book writing.

Your final collaboration is a 15 Minute Musical, which the Academy casts, directs, rehearses and produces 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 Institute bookwriters, lyricists, and composers anxious to check out the new talent joining the community.




















All applicants for the Core Curriculum will take part in an audition in September.  Attend the first sessions in September, then collaborate with a fellow applicant over the next month and present your work in October for feedback.  At that point - we will make a determination as to whether or not you are a good candidate for the program at that time, and will make our offers of acceptance for the rest of the season.  (This also gives you a chance to assess whether or not the program is a good fit for you.)

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



Fees for Core Curriculum

The fee for the Core Curriculum is $1500.

This includes 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).

About the Instructors

The Core Curriculum is run by internationally-acclaimed John Sparks, who has conducted workshops in Los Angeles and Chicago for thirty-five years, with support from Elise Dewsberry, who for ten years ran Toronto’s renowned Script Lab. Lab instructors include Chicago-based Philip Seward and Larry Todd Johnson. For more info on all instructors, please visit OUR STAFF.

What kinds of songs do we write?

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.

What plays do you get to musicalize?

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 including:

Bridesmaids screenplay by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
In the Other Room (or the Vibrator Play) by Sarah Ruhl
The Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire
Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo
Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley
Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz
The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane

Already have some experience or training in writing for the musical theatre?

For those who have completed the New York BMI workshop or the graduate Musical Theatre Program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, you are encouraged to join our Core Curriculum for the additional education, or you might prefer working directly on your newest musical through our personalized program called the Sandbox.

Call us at 818-506-8500 or email us at academy@anmt.org   We’re here to help you.

Calendar 2019-2020

Saturdays:  2:30 to 6:30pm
Sundays:    2:30 to 7:30pm
Location:   5628 Vineland Ave. in North Hollywood

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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.


The Core Curriculum is but a small piece of the Academy experience.

If you are invited back after the Core Curriculum year, you will then have an opportunity to join the Full Length Curriculum to write a complete show in one year.  After that, you might be invited to join the General Workshop where you will join our growing and talented membership.  As a General member, you’ll be able to present material for feedback on any show you are writing.  Your work will also be considered for readings and workshop productions by the 4×10 Company, and for production by New Musicals Inc., our producing branch.

highlights of past 15 minute musicals...

To check out more info (such as writers names, cast lists, etc.), check out our 15 Minute Musicals page.