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Northwestern Seeks Tunesmiths for Mercer Songwriters Project

Lippa, Carnelia and White lead weeklong no-fee songwriting intensive

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March 8, 2011 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Talented young songwriters and writing teams working in any popular music genre are encouraged to apply for a no-fee program presented by The Johnny Mercer Foundation and the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University this summer.

The Johnny Mercer Foundation and the American Music Theatre Project are presenting the sixth annual Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project on the University’s Evanston campus June 20 to 25. All applications must be postmarked no later than April 10.

The intensive weeklong songwriting program will be led by master teachers Craig Carnelia, Tony Award-nominated composer and lyricist of “Sweet Smell of Success”; Andrew Lippa, Grammy-nominated artist and composer of the current Broadway musical “The Addams Family”; and three-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Lari White. To learn more about the program, its master teachers or to download an application, visit http://www.mercersongwriters.org.

The six-day program of master classes and workshops will culminate in a June 24 showcase of work by participant songwriters at Northwestern’s Josephine Louis Theater and a June 25 star-studded celebration concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.

Emerging songwriters in pop, music theatre, hip-hop, folk, Latin and country music are encouraged to complete a short application. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30; writing teams must include at least one member in that age range.

Alumni from the project include Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, writers of the musical “A Christmas Story” produced at 5th Avenue Theatre, and “Dogfight” commissioned by Lincoln Center Theatre; Latin Grammy Award-winning songwriter Obie Bermudez and Jennifer Pena; Fred Ebb Award-winner Adam Gwon; Jordan Beck and Jonathan May; Michael Cooper and Hyeyoung Kim; Michael Kooman and Christoper Dimond; and Peter Lerman.

Thanks to the generosity of The Johnny Mercer Foundation, there is no workshop fee for the writers and writing teams selected to participate. On-campus housing is provided, and a stipend covers a portion of travel expenses. 

Johnny Mercer

The legendary Johnny Mercer (1909-1976) composed more than 1,500 tunes, including the classics “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Accentuate the Positive” and “Moon River.” Throughout his long career he was dedicated to the development of young songwriters and singers.

The Johnny Mercer Foundation

The Johnny Mercer Foundation is a nonprofit organization devoted to preserving and celebrating the work of Mercer and other great American songwriters, and to introducing their music to a new generation of listeners through educational programs. The foundation also supports charitable organizations through royalties from Mercer’s songs. To learn more, visit http://www.johnnymercerfoundation.com/intro.html.

American Music Theatre Project

The goal of the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University is to nourish and invigorate American music theatre by developing and producing new musicals by music theatre’s leading artists; increasing opportunities for education and training with Northwestern’s theatre, dance and opera programs; and creating new connections between the professional and academic communities. To learn more about AMTP, visit www.amtp.northwestern.edu.