Thursday, July 12, 2012

Who Are Pasek and Paul?

Rodgers and Hart.  Rodgers and Hammerstein.  Lerner and Loewe.  Kander and Ebb.  Pasek and Paul?

By this time next week, their very first New York opening, the new musical Dogfight, will be in the history books.  And by the end of 2012, their first musical to reach Broadway, A Christmas Story, will have opened for a holiday engagement.  And these are only the most recent events in a short, but so far very successful collaboration.  So who are they?  They are Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

If you don't believe that fate brings people together, you might think again when you hear that these guys met because by chance, they were grouped together at freshman orientation at the University of Michigan. Benj fancied himself a hip hop singer/rapper and Justin tried to accompany him.  Later, after both being cast in small roles in the show City of Angels and being very dissatisfied with the experience, they decided they could write themselves better roles and shows to be in.

Here's a small timeline of their collaboration in just 7 short years:


  • Edges: A Song Cycle - written while they were still in college.  It has subsequently been produced more than 200 times, through licensing by MTI, worldwide, including Australia, Europe and all over the US.


  • Graduated with BFAs from the University of Michigan
  • Winners of the Jonathan Larson Award
  • Winners of the Dramatists Guild Fellowship


  • Contributed music and lyrics to 6 episodes of the Emmy-nominated Disney Channel series, Johnny and the Sprites
  • They contributed to Theatreworks USA's If You Give a Pig a Pancake and Duck for President


  • Fred Ebb Award Finalists
  • James and the Giant Peach directed by Graciela Danielle premieres at Goodspeed
  • A Christmas Story: The Musical premieres in Seattle, the first leg of a national tour


  • Dogfight earns them the 2011 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theatre from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the 2011 Sundance Institute Fellowship, the 2011 ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, and the 2011 ASCAP Songwriters Fellowship Award


  • James and the Giant Peach will continue to be developed by the Kennedy Center
  • Dogfight receives its New York premiere at 2ndStage, directed by Joe Mantello and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli
  • A Christmas Story: The Musical will play a holiday engagement on Broadway

Justin Paul at the piano and Benj Pasek on the the microphone

They have also contributed to the webseries, The Battery's Down, and wrote a 15 minute musical called Dr. Williams which starred Cheyenne Jackson and Jesse Tyler Ferguson as a part of the Overnight Musicals festival.  A filmed documentary about the event featured them prominently.  Their songs have been sung in concert and/or recorded by such names as Gavin Creel, Shoshana Bean, Farah Alvin and Aaron Tveit.  They were named one of "50 to Watch" by Dramatist Magazine.

Something tells me this not the last we will have heard of this promising musical theatre team!

Find out much more about them at
Read all about Dogfight at

@jkstheatrescene (Twitter); (email), or Comment below (Blogger)

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