EVANSTON, Ill. – The Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) and American Music Theater Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University once again seek out the nation’s most talented young songwriters and writing teams for the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project , which is in its 17th year. The free week-long songwriting workshop returns to Northwestern’s Evanston campus from June 19-25.
The program is accepting applications until February 28 from aspiring songwriters, between the ages of 18 and 30, working in all styles of popular music and theater. The application form, guidelines and full details are available online on the project website.
In 2020 and 2021, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has moved to virtual master classes and writing sessions, with remote participation of songwriters and master teachers from around the world. The programs culminated in a free virtual songwriter concert, now available to stream on YouTube.
“We will be very vigilant in the midst of this pandemic, but anticipate by the end of spring that we can meet in person and adhere to COVID-19 health and safety protocols,” said Jonathan Brielle, executive vice president by JMF. “While our songwriters and teachers have graciously adapted over the past two years, we look forward to coming back this year in person.”
“Bringing the project back to campus this year is very important to us,” said Brannon Bowers, AMTP producer. “While our virtual years have been successful, the in-person version of our workshop offers songwriters a unique residency experience, with more opportunities for impromptu and in-depth conversations about their work. “
The program honors Johnny Mercer’s legacy by fostering the tradition of mentorship to which Mercer has been committed throughout his career. Master teachers included award-winning artists Stephen Bray, Craig Carnelia, Marcy Heisler, Jon Lind, Andrew Lippa, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda McBroom, Shelly Peiken, Lindy Robbins, Lari White and David Zippel. The project ends with a streaming performance of the participants’ songs as well as a group performance of the Mercer classic, “Moon River”.
The program is free for selected songwriters thanks to the generosity of the Johnny Mercer Foundation. Last year, more than 200 applicants applied for the 12 places in the prestigious program, which has been a catalyst for the careers of many artists. Alumni of the program include Tony, Oscar and Golden Globe award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; winners of the Fred Ebb, Sam Willmott and Shaina Taub awards; Obed Bermudez and singer / actress Jennifer Peña, Latin Grammy Award winners; and 14 Jonathan Larson Award winners, including Nikko Benson, Emily Gardner Xu Hall, Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond.
Johnny Mercer Foundation
The mission of the Johnny Mercer Foundation is to support the discipline of songwriting in the tradition of the Great American Songbook as exemplified by the life and work of the legendary Johnny Mercer: lyricist, composer, performer, collaborator and producer. . The Foundation continues Johnny’s legacy by partnering with individuals and organizations dedicated to celebrating and nurturing the disciplines he mastered and the causes he and his wife Ginger Mercer championed. JMF has created a number of dynamic creative joint ventures with several prestigious institutions to facilitate its goals, including: the Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals; Emphasize positive programs (New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta); the musical theater program at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Georgia State University scholarship program; the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project with Northwestern University and the Johnny Mercer Archives at Georgia State University. In addition, JMF also supports the Braille Institute (Johnny Mercer Youth and Adult Choirs). For more information, please visit the Johnny Mercer Foundation website.
American musical theater project
the American musical theater project (AMTP) at Northwestern University partners leading musical theater artists with Northwestern faculty, staff and students to develop new musicals, connecting the educational and professional worlds through new bespoke work processes . AMTP’s goal is to nurture and reinvigorate American musical theater by supporting writers in their early stages of development, creating new links between professional and academic communities, and increasing educational and training opportunities. with Northwestern’s theater, musical theater and dance programs.
The legendary Johnny Mercer (1900-1976) composed over 1,400 songs, including “Accentuate the Positive”, “Fools Rush in (Where Angels Fear to Tread)”, “Any Place to Hang My Hat Is Home”, “Too Marvelous for Words ”and“ Come Rain or Come Shine ”. He has also written songs for 100 films and won four Academy Awards for “Best Song.” A prominent radio personality and recording artist, he was co-founder and chairman of Capitol Records and established the Songwriters Hall of Fame with Abe Olman and Howie Richmond. To learn more about Mercer, visit the Johnny Mercer Foundation website.