Ellen Schwartz & Friends

HER WORDS, HER MUSIC, AND HER COLLABORATORS

The BMI Foundation Ellen Schwartz Award
For Outstanding Literary Merit In Lyric Writing


Ellen’s family has established an award to be presented by the BMI Foundation each year to a participant in BMI’s Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, honoring outstanding literary merit in lyric writing.

This Ellen Schwartz award is intended both to recognize the contribution that Ellen’s years of participation in the Workshop made to her own career, and to encourage high literary standards in lyric writing – like those Ellen’s own lyrics consistently reflected.

The Ellen Schwartz award will be announced by the BMI Foundation at the annual awards reception during the final session of the Workshop each year.

www.bmifoundation.org


Third Award Recipient: LAURA KLEINBAUM - June 2017

Please visit her website www.laurakleinbaum.com


Second Award Recipient: MARY LIZ MCNAMARA - June 2016

Three of Mary's award-winning lyrics appear below.  And please visit her website www.marylizmcnamara.com


PAY ATTENTION, VERONICA
from
The Good Girl
Music and Lyrics by Mary Liz McNamara

Terry, a middle-school math teacher, returns to her classroom after staying home a few weeks to care for her recently-widowed, and increasingly difficult, father.

TERRY:

Ok. We’ve got a lot to cover today people, so----

CLASS.  Does everyone have a sharpened pencil?
CLASS.  Everyone take out a clean piece of...
CLASS, Shhhh
EVERYONE NEEDS TO SIT DOWN
AND LISTEN TO ME
TAKE OUT YOUR TEXTBOOKS AND
OPEN TO PAGE TWENTY-THREE
PAY ATTENTION, VERONICA

CLASS.  Shhh.
AS YOU KNOW, WE’LL BE HAVING
A TEST
Not a quiz
It’s a test
ON MONDAY, BUT BEFORE
WE BEGIN, I WANT ALL EYES TO BE
BE UP HERE ON ME

ALL EYES SHOULD BE UP HERE ON ME
I’M GOING TO COUNT UP TO THREE
ONE.  TWO.
Two and a half.  Veronica.
THREE

Good.  Problem one.

TWO TRAINS EACH LEAVE
FROM TOPEKA PRECISELY AT NINE,
BUT TRAIN A GOES AT DOUBLE THE SPEED.
IF THE SLOWER TRAIN – B –
GETS TO DALLAS AT NINE,
IS THE SPEED OF THE FASTER – WAYNE!
WHAT DO YOU NEED?

Didn’t you just go?  OK.  OK.  Remember what I said about too much information.

OKAY, WHO’S GOT THE HALL PASS?
SO, CLASS.
READ THE REST OF THE PROBLEM YOURSELVES.
DUANE, GIVE WAYNE THE HALL PASS.
THEN CHOOSE ANSWER A, B OR C.
OR NONE OF THE ABOVE, ANSWER D.
OR J, K, L, M, N, O, P.
JUST WRITE SOMETHING, VERONICA.

WHEN YOU’RE FINISHED I NEED
ALL YOUR EYES UP ON ME
CHILDREN, LOOK AT ME
WHEN YOU’RE DONE WITH THE FIRST ONE
WE’LL DO PROBLEM TWO
THEN PROBLEM THREE
THEN PROBLEM FOUR
THEN TWELVE BILLION MORE
WELCOME TO LIFE
PROBLEMS GALORE
JUST LOOK AT ME

Good.  Next problem.

SOON-YI IS SIGNED UP FOR
SLEEP-AWAY CAMP BUT SHE’S
NERVOUS. HER CAMP IS A
LONG WAY AWAY FROM HER
MOTHER WHO BOUGHT HER A
CELLPHONE.  DETERMINE THE
COST OF THE CELL –
JOANIE, WHAT DID YOU SAY?

What did she say?  Soon-Yi is not a dumb-ass.  Missing your mother does not make you a dumb-ass, believe me.  OK?  OK?

AND PLEASE DON’T SAY
DUMBASS IN CLASS.
OKAY, ASS.  I MEAN, CLASS.
SHIT.  NO, SHOOT.
I MEAN, PAY ATTENTION, CLASS.

THEN CHOOSE ANSWER A, B OR C.
OR NONE OF THE ABOVE, ANSWER D.
THEN ALL EYES SHOULD BE UP ON ME
PAY ATTENTION, VERONICA!!!!!!!!!!

THE GOOD GIRL
from
The Good Girl
Music and Lyrics by Mary Liz McNamara

Evelyn, newly-dead but still kicking in the great beyond
(which happens to be a jazz club up there somewhere),
watches her middle-aged daughter muddle through life
without her.
 

EVELYN:

ALWAYS THE GOOD GIRL
FOREVER THE GOOD GIRL
SETTING THE TABLE, CLEARING THE DISHES
AND SAYING YOUR PRAYERS

NEVER COMPLAINING
PATIENT AND QUIET AND SWEET
ALWAYS THE GOOD GIRL

WHAT GOOD DID IT DO YOU?
BEING THE GOOD ONE
STAYING BEHIND
TO CLEAN UP THE MESS
AND SETTLE FOR LESS

WHAT GOOD IS IT NOW, DEAR?
SITTING AT NIGHT ALL ALONE
BEING THE GOOD GIRL

MOTHERS DO TERRIBLE THINGS
KISSING AND COOING
AND CLIPPING THE WINGS
OF THE ONE THEY LOVE BEST
KEEPING THAT ONE IN THE NEST
KEEPING THE GOOD ONE
THE GOOD GIRL

SWEETHEART, FORGIVE ME

HEAVEN IS BRIMMING
FILLED UP WITH GOOD GIRLS
AND EACH OF THE GOOD GIRLS IN HEAVEN
IS FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH REGRET

SPREAD YOUR WINGS NOW
AND FLY AWAY
DON’T WAIT ‘TIL YOU’RE READY
DON’T WAIT FOR THE RIGHT TIME
DON’T WAIT ‘TIL TOMORROW

TODAY
TODAY
TODAY


I CAN DO THAT
from
Body and Soul
Music and Lyrics by Mary Liz McNamara

Diana, a woman with Down syndrome, is the personal care assistant for her friend, Kathy, who has severe cerebral palsy.
They live together in a small home, and Diana is set to drive, on a snowy night, to the grocery store to shop for dinner.

I CAN DO THAT
NO PROBLEM
WEAR MY COAT AND MY NEW HAT
MY BLUE HAT
THAT’S MY NEW HAT
I COULD DO THAT
NO BIG DEAL
I CAN DO THAT
PIECE OF CAKE

HEY YOU WANNA CAKE
I CAN MAKE IT
‘CAUSE IT’S NOT SO HARD
TO MAKE IT
ALL YOU GOTTA DO
IS BAKE IT
I CAN DO THAT
NO BIG DEAL
I CAN DO THAT

OR I CAN MAKE A PIE!

THAT’S A LIE
I CAN’T DO THAT
IT’S TOO HARD
THAT CRUST
I CAN’T DO THAT

BUT I COULD BUY A PIE
I COULD DO THAT
THEY GOT LEMON, CHERRY
AND SOMETIMES EVEN BLUEBERRY

And I love that, Kathy, it’s so good!

IF YOU WANT A PIE
I COULD BUY A PIE
I COULD DO THAT

THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT, KATHY
THINKIN’
AND FIGURING STUFF OUT
AND I’M GOOD AT THAT
I’M PRETTY GOOD AT THAT

I’m not bragging, Kathy.  I’m just saying.  Kathy, I’m just saying.

THERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN’T DO
LIKE YOU CAN’T TAKE A BATH
THERE ARE THINGS I CAN’T DO
LIKE MATH

I CAN’T DO THAT
SUBTRACTING
NO WAY
I CAN’T DO THAT
BUT THAT’S OKAY

‘CAUSE YOU CAN DO THAT
YOU WENT TO COLLEGE
SO YOU CAN DO THAT
SEE
SO WE CAN DO THAT
YOU AND ME
WE CAN DO THAT

THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
YOU’N’ME, FIGURING STUFF OUT
AND WE’RE GOOD AT THAT
WE’RE REALLY GOOD AT THAT

So, I’ve been thinking about DC.  Ok?  Would you just listen, for once?

YOU CAN FIGURE OUT THE TRAIN
HOW MUCH IT COSTS
THERE AND BACK
AND I CAN
PACK!
WE CAN DO THAT
YOU CAN ME
GO TO WASHINGTON DC
WE
YOU AND ME, KATHY
YOU AND ME
WE CAN DO THAT!


First Award Recipient: RAYMOND BOKHOUR - June 2015

Two of Ray's award-winning lyrics appear below.  And please visit his website www.raymondbokhour.com


THINGS WILL BE EASY
from
The Suicide: A Musical Comedy
Lyrics by Raymond Bokhour
Music by Simon Gray
Book by David Bridel

CAN YOU SEE HIM NOW
WHEN HE STUMBLES IN?
NO MORE FURROWED BROW
JUST HIS DOPEY GRIN
HE’LL BE GOOD AND TIRED
HE’LL BE UNINSPIRED
AND THANK GOD FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS
THINGS WILL BE EASY

HE’LL COME THROUGH THE DOOR
JUST LIKE PEOPLE DO
TUCKERED OUT AND SORE
GLAD THE DAY IS THROUGH
AND SO AWFULLY WEAK
THAT HE'LL HARDLY SPEAK
SAY GOODBYE TO THE TANTRUMS AND TEARS
THINGS WILL BE EASY

HE’LL COME HOME
WITH A SMALL SACK OF GROCERIES
READ THE NEWS A BIT, CURSE THE RAIN
OH HOW DELICIOUSLY TEDIOUS
MEANINGLESS, MINDLESS, AND SANE

AFTER SUGAR TEA
AFTER RAISIN BREAD
HE WILL LOOK AT ME
AND SAY “TIME FOR BED”
AND WITHOUT A PEEP
WE’LL DRIFT OFF TO SLEEP
HOW SUBLIME WHEN THE WORLD DISAPPEARS
THINGS WILL BE EASY

IN THE EARLY HOURS
JUST BEFORE THE DAWN
WE’LL TAKE LUKEWARM SHOWERS
AND WE’LL SHARE A YAWN
I’ll SAY “TIME TO GO”
HE’LL SAY “YES I KNOW”
AND WE’LL FLY THROUGH THE DISHWATER DAY
THINGS WILL BE EASY

MAYBE NOW
WHEN I SLAVE AT THAT FACTORY
I CAN BREATHE A BIT, EVEN SMILE
OH DO I DARE BE MYSELF AGAIN
EVEN JUST ONCE IN A WHILE?

IT’S BEEN AWFULLY HARD
I’LL ADMIT IT NOW
WE WERE BADLY SCARRED
BUT CAME THROUGH SOMEHOW
AND I ONLY PRAY
THAT OUR LUCK WILL STAY
AND IF GOD LET’S ME HAVE IT MY WAY
THEN THE SKY WILL BE SLIGHTLY LESS GRAY
AND MY LOVE WILL COME HOME AND HE’LL SAY
“THINGS WILL BE EASY”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
from
The Suicide: A Musical Comedy
Lyrics by Raymond Bokhour
Music by Simon Gray
Book by David Bridel

IF YOU OFFER ME A DUMPLING
AND YOUR VOICE IS SOFT AND GENUINE AND SWEET
I’LL EAT

IF YOU BOIL ME SOME CABBAGE
AND YOU WHISPER “MON AMOUR, BON APPETIT”
I’LL EAT

IF THE GREASY OLD HORS D’OEUVRE
YOU OBSEQUIOUSLY SERVE
WERE AT LEAST A LITTLE GREASED
WITH THE RESPECT THAT I DESERVE
WATCH THE DUMPLING AND THE CABBAGE
AND THE SAUSAGE DISAPPEAR
I’LL EAT ANYTHING YOU GIVE ME
IF THE GIVING IS SINCERE

BUT HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
I WON’T EAT MY DINNER ON MY KNEES
I WOULD RATHER UP AND DIE
THAN SWALLOW ALL YOUR HUMBLE PIE

HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
NO ONE LIKES A CHIDING WITH THEIR CHEESE
LEAVE ME IF YOU WOULD
OR FEED ME LIKE YOU SHOULD
BUT HOLD THE PITY PUDDING IF YOU PLEASE

GIVE ME HALF A DIRTY TURNIP
OR A LOUSY LITTLE ROTTEN CHICKEN WING
I’M KING

GIVE ME YESTERDAY’S PIEROGI
OR A TINY BIT OF RANCID CAVIAR
I’M CZAR

GIVE ME MILK THAT’S HALFWAY TURNED
GIVE ME PORRIDGE THAT YOU BURNED
BUT THEN TOP IT WITH A DROP
OF THE RESPECT THAT I HAVE EARNED
THEN I’LL GLADLY EAT THE CRAP
YOU TRY TO PASS OFF AS CUISINE
I’M THE MOST OBLIGING HUSBAND
THAT THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN

BUT HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
I WON’T EAT MY DINNER ON MY KNEES
I REFUSE TO BOW AND SCRAPE
OR SUCK A SINGLE SOUR GRAPE

HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
DON’T YOU BE SO PISSY WITH THE PEAS
LEAVE ME IF YOU WOULD
OR FEED ME LIKE YOU SHOULD
BUT HOLD THE PITY PUDDING IF YOU PLEASE

PLEASE—-

REMEMBER HOW IT WAS, MASHA
REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE MY BLUSHING BRIDE
A SIMPLE LITTLE MEAL, MASHA
SEATED ON THE ROOFTOP SIDE BY SIDE
YOUR EYES WERE SO OPEN AND WIDE
I CRIED, MASHA, I CRIED

BUT I WAS A WORKER OF THE WORLD BACK THEN
NOW I’M JUST A SUCKER OUT OF WORK
A LOSER ALONG FOR THE RIDE
NO WONDER YOUR FAITH IN ME DIED
NO WONDER THAT THE SERVICE HERE HAS STARTED TO SLIDE

YOU SAY “LOOK AT ME, I WORK UNTIL I DROP
BUT SEMYON GO AHEAD AND EAT. MY TREAT!”
YOU SAY “SEMYON, HERE’S A PORTERHOUSE
I PURCHASED WITH MY BLOOD,
IT’S ALL FOR YOU! HAVE TWO!”

AND THERE’S NOTHING QUITE AS RICH
AS YOUR CHICKEN A LA BITCH
AND I’M WARNING YOU ONE MORNING
YOU MAY FIND ME IN A DITCH
CAUSE I’VE HAD IT UP TO HERE
WITH ALL THE HINTS AND THE ASIDES
I WILL FINALLY TAKE MY VENGEANCE
ONCE THE NAUSEA SUBSIDES

BUT HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
CHOP IT UP AND FEED IT TO THE CAT
TRY TO SERVE IT IF YOU LIKE
BUT I’LL BE ON A HUNGER STRIKE

HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
I CAN STOMACH ANYTHING BUT THAT
THROW ME OUT FOR GOOD
I KIND OF WISH YOU WOULD
OR HAVE A LOVE AFFAIR
CAUSE I DON’T EVEN CARE
FRY ME IN A VAT
OF BOILING CHICKEN FAT
OR MAKE ME SPEND ANOTHER
MINUTE WITH YOUR MOTHER
THROW ME DOWN A WELL
I'M HAPPY AS A CLAM
CAST ME INTO HELL AND
I DON'T GIVE A DAMN

OR MAYBE I'LL JUST KILL MYSELF
AND PUT YOUR MIND AT EASE
BUT CARRY OUT MY DYING WISH
SPARE ME ALL THE LOAVES AND FISH
JUST HOLD THE PITY PUDDING
KEEP YOUR PRECIOUS PUDDING
HOLD YOUR SHITTY PITY PUDDING IF YOU PLEASE

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