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Benj Pasek

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Benj Pasek
Benj Pasek in 2009
Benj Pasek in 2009
Background information
Born (1985-06-09) June 9, 1985 (age 39)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation(s)Composer, lyricist, singer
Member ofPasek and Paul

Benj Pasek (born June 9, 1985) is an American composer and lyricist best known for writing songs for films such as La La Land (2016) and The Greatest Showman (2017), and the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, all of which he co-wrote with his songwriting partner, Justin Paul.[1]

Early life and education


Pasek was born into a Jewish[2] family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His mother is the renowned child psychologist, author, and Brookings scholar Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, whose work focuses on the importance of childhood play.[3] As a child, he sang with the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale. He went on to earn a B.F.A. in musical theater from the University of Michigan. It was there that he met Justin Paul. When Pasek and Paul were unsatisfied with the roles they were getting in the shows at the university, the two decided to begin writing their own shows. One of the first projects they worked on together, Edges, was developed at the school.



Pasek and Paul won the Jonathan Larson Grant in 2007.[4][5] The two co-wrote and co-composed the musical Dogfight, which opened Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre in July 2012.[6] The pair went on to write music and lyrics for James and the Giant Peach, A Christmas Story: The Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, and The Greatest Showman.[7][8] Pasek also collaborated with Paul on lyrics for the film La La Land (music by Justin Hurwitz).[9] They have also written songs for the television shows Smash and The Flash.[10] More recently the duo wrote the original songs for the film Lyle, Lyle Crocodile,[11] Apple Original Films' Spirited,[12] and the Hulu show Only Murders in the Building.[13]


  1. ^ "Benj Pasek Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  2. ^ Paulson, Michael (2016-11-10). "What It's Like to Make It in Showbiz With Your Best Friend". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  3. ^ McGrath, Tom (November 19, 2017). "Pasek and Pasek". Phillymag.com. Retrieved June 6, 2024.
  4. ^ Jonathan Larson Foundation Archived 2008-08-27 at the Wayback Machine jlpaf.org
  5. ^ "Pasek and Paul Among Winners of Jonathan Larson Awards". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Dogfight, New Musical About Cruelty and Hope, Opens in NYC; Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena Star" Archived 2012-07-17 at the Wayback Machine Playbill, July 16, 2012
  7. ^ Heller, Scott (2013-05-08). "Riding a Fast Sled to the Tonys". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  8. ^ "Benj Pasek: Broadway And Hollywood's Musical Wunderkind". The Forward. 2017-11-01. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  9. ^ Paulson, Michael (2016-11-10). "What It's Like to Make It in Showbiz With Your Best Friend". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  10. ^ "Meet Smash's New Composers: Pasek & Paul, Joe Iconis and More Rising Talents to Watch". Broadway.com. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  11. ^ "'Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile' Songwriting Team on Writing Musical Earworms". Variety.com. October 7, 2022.
  12. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (November 18, 2021). "Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell's Musical 'Spirited' Adds Three Songwriters Alongside Pasek and Paul". Variety.com.
  13. ^ "The Story Behind 'Magnificent' Meryl Streep's Show-Saving 'Only Murders' Duet with Ashley Park (Exclusive)". People.com.