Pasek and Paul

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Pasek and Paul
Pasek and Paul - Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.JPG
Benj Pasek (left) and Justin Paul
Background information
Genres Musical Theatre
Members Benj Pasek
Justin Paul
Benj Pasek
Born (1985-06-09) June 9, 1985 (age 32)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation(s) Composer, lyricist, singer
Justin Paul
Born (1985-01-03) January 3, 1985 (age 32)
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Occupation(s) Composer, lyricist, singer

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, known together as Pasek and Paul, are an American songwriting duo and composing team for musical theater, films, and television.[1][2] Their works include A Christmas Story, Dogfight, Edges, Dear Evan Hansen, and James and the Giant Peach. Their original songs have been featured on NBC's Smash, and in the film La La Land, for which they won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song "City of Stars".[3][4][5]

Both artists are graduates of the University of Michigan[6] and winners of the American Theatre Wing's 2007 Jonathan Larson Award,[7] which honors achievement by composers, lyricists and librettists.

Their work on original musical Dear Evan Hansen has received widespread critical acclaim and earned them the Tony Award for Best Original Score.

University of Michigan[edit]

Pasek and Paul started working together as freshmen at the University of Michigan where they completed their BFA degrees in musical theatre in December 2006.[8] Both got "background" roles in the school's musical theater production, which inspired them to write the series of songs turned into a show, Edges. While Pasek usually writes lyrics and Paul usually writes music, they opted to share credit for both elements of the songwriting.[9]

Musical theatre[edit]


Edges is a song cycle about the trials and tribulations of moving into adulthood. It examines the search for love, commitment and meaning. Edges premiered at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, Michigan on April 3, 2005.[6] Social media created a dedicated fan base nicknamed "Edge-heads".[11] It has had over 200 productions worldwide in Australia,[12] South Africa,[13] Denmark,[14][15] France,[16] South Korea, the United Kingdom,[17] Canada,[18] the Philippines,[19] and across the United States.[20]

James and the Giant Peach[edit]

Pasek and Paul wrote the score to the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach. The show premiered at the Norma Terris Theatre at Goodspeed Musicals in 2010 in a developmental production, and was directed by Graciela Daniele and choreographed by Pilobolus.[21]

Dear Evan Hansen[edit]

Their musical Dear Evan Hansen premiered at the Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.) on July 30, 2015, running through August 23. The musical was inspired by a traumatic incident in Pasek's life, the death of a high school student. The book was written by Steven Levenson, directed by Michael Greif and starred Ben Platt as Evan.[22][23][24]

The musical made its Off-Broadway debut in March 2016 (previews) at the Second Stage Theatre's Tony Kiser Theatre. Again directed by Greif, most of the Arena Stage cast appears in the Off-Broadway production.[25] The musical is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

Dear Evan Hansen premiered on Broadway on November 14, 2016, and opened December 4, 2016, at the Music Box Theatre. At the 71st Tony Awards, it was nominated for nine awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Actor in a Musical for Platt. It won six awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score for the duo.


Other works include If You Give A Pig A Pancake and Duck For President for Theatreworks USA,[26] and Dr. Williams, written for the Orchard Project's 24 Hour Musicals benefit. The show starred Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Cheyenne Jackson. Pasek and Paul were featured in the documentary film One Night Stand about the process.[27]

Their New York premiere was a concert of songs titled Become: The Music of Pasek & Paul and was performed May 14, 2006, at Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre. The evening was a benefit for the Wylie Foundation and featured performers including Gavin Creel, Cheyenne Jackson, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Steven Pasquale. The evening was produced and directed by Jamie McGonnigal.



As television songwriters, their original songs were featured on Season 2 of NBC's Smash, and have risen to the Top 25 on the iTunes Pop Charts.

Johnny and the Sprites[edit]

Pasek and Paul wrote music for six episodes of the Disney Channel show Johnny and the Sprites, including music for one story in the series' premiere episode.

The Flash[edit]

Pasek and Paul also wrote the original song "Runnin' Home to You" performed by Grant Gustin for the musical crossover episode of The Flash "Duet" between The Flash and Supergirl.[28] Melissa Benoist sang it in Supergirl's Crisis on Earth-X crossover episode.[29]


La La Land[edit]

Pasek and Paul wrote the lyrics for the film musical La La Land. Justin Hurwitz wrote the music. The film stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. It was written and directed by Damien Chazelle.[30] The film, in its world premiere, was the opening film at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2016.[31] "City of Stars", their song from the film composed by Justin Hurwitz, won the 2017 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.[4] "City of Stars" and "Audition" received nominations for Best Original Song at the 89th Academy Awards.[32] They won the 2017 Academy Award for Best Original Song for "City of Stars." [33]

The Greatest Showman[edit]

Pasek and Paul wrote the lyrics for the upcoming 2017 film musical The Greatest Showman directed by Michael Gracey, in collaboration with John Debney and Joseph Trapanese.[34] The song "This Is Me" received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.


Pasek and Paul will be writing new songs for Disney's upcoming 2019 live-action film adaptation of Aladdin directed by Guy Ritchie, in collaboration with Alan Menken which will also include original 1992 song compositions written by Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice.[35]

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs[edit]

Pasek and Paul will be writing songs for Disney's upcoming live-action film adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.[36]

Other film work[edit]

Pasek and Paul also wrote the song "Get Back Up Again" for the film Trolls, as well as a deleted song called "Bringing Back Happy." They also wrote five original songs for the 2016 animated direct-to-video feature Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2007 Jonathan Larson Grant N/A Honorees
Dramatist Guild Fellowship (2007–08) N/A Honorees
2011 Sundance Institute Fellowship N/A Honorees
American Academy of Arts and Letters, Richard Rodgers Awards for Musical Theater N/A Honorees
ASCAP Foundation Award Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award N/A Honorees
Songwriter's Fellowship Award N/A Honorees
2013 Tony Award Best Original Score A Christmas Story: The Musical Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Music Nominated
Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Musical Dogfight Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Score Nominated
2016 The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical Dear Evan Hansen Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Lyrics Won
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Score Nominated
Obie Award Musical Theater, Music and Lyrics Won
Hollywood Music in Media Award Best Song in a Feature Film ("City of Stars") La La Land Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Music Won
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Song ("City of Stars") Won
Best Song ("Audition") Nominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Song ("City of Stars") Won
Best Song ("Audition") Nominated
Satellite Award Best Original Song ("City of Stars") Won
Best Original Song ("Audition") Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Award Best Original Song ("City of Stars") Won
Best Original Song ("Audition") Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Original Song ("City of Stars") Won
2017 Academy Award Best Original Song ("City of Stars") Won
Best Original Song ("Audition") Nominated
Tony Award Best Original Score Dear Evan Hansen Won
2018 Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Pending
Best Song Written for Visual Media ("City of Stars") La La Land Pending
Hollywood Music in Media Award Best Song in a Feature Film ("This Is Me") The Greatest Showman Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Song ("This Is Me") Pending
Golden Globe Award Best Original Song ("This Is Me") Pending

†: Pasek and Paul became the youngest winners of the Jonathan Larson Grant in history.

Personal lives[edit]

Pasek is the son of professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. [37] His alma mater is the University of Michigan and Friends' Central School. He is openly gay. [38]

Paul's alma mater is the University of Michigan and Staples High School. Paul is married. He and his wife have a daughter, born in 2016.[39]


  1. ^ "Benj Pasek and Justin Paul Win Best Original Song Oscar for "City of Stars" from La La Land". 
  2. ^ "Jonathan Larson Awards"., February 16, 2007
  3. ^ "Pasek and Pauls New Song for 'Smash' Sung by Katharine McPhee"
  4. ^ a b Barone, Joshua, Golden Globe Winners 2017, The New York Times, January 8, 2017.
  5. ^ Oscars 2017. The New York Times, February 27, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "UM Musical Theatre Department.News Of Graduates.2011 - 12". University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, accessed July 27, 2012
  7. ^ "Larson Grants Recipients"., accessed July 27, 2012
  8. ^ "Biography of Benj Pasek"., accessed July 27, 2012
  9. ^ Paulson, Michael, "What It’s Like to Make It in Showbiz With Your Best Friend". The New York Times, November 13, 2016, p. AR6, sub. nom "Best Friends, Making It in Showbiz." Accessed August 8, 2017
  10. ^ "The Tony Award Nominees - All Categories". 
  11. ^ "'Edges' - Show Details, October 20, 2008"., accessed July 27, 2012
  12. ^ "'Edges A Song Cycle' - Sydney Production (OPENS MARCH 25)", 16 March 2010
  13. ^ "Pasek and Pauls 'Edges'", October 5, 2011
  14. ^ "Music Theatre Professor Directs Production in Denmark"., July 11, 2011
  15. ^ Edges[dead link]
  16. ^ "Edges coming to Paris". AMT Live. Retrieved April 28, 2013. 
  17. ^ Tay, Rebecca. "Fringe Review. Edinburgh Fringe 2010. 'Edges - the Musical'"., 19 August 2010
  18. ^ "Toronto Premiere of 'Edges'"., September 18, 2008
  19. ^ "Ateneo Blue Repertory Presents Musical Revue 'Edges'"., July 18, 2010
  20. ^ Gans, Andrew. "'Pasek and Paul's Edges to Play Sondheim Center with Alvin, Bashor and Hanlon"., February 15, 2008
  21. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "'James and the Giant Peach, the Musical', Blossoms With the Help of Pilobolus, Oct. 21". Playbill, October 21, 2010
  22. ^ Rothstein, Mervyn. "Next to Normal 's Michael Greif Stirs Up More Family Drama With Dear Evan Hansen", July 6, 2015
  23. ^ Gioia, Michael. "Pasek and Paul's Dear Evan Hansen, About the High School Struggle to Fit In, Premieres in D.C.", July 30, 2015
  24. ^ Marks, Peter. "Dear Evan Hansen: Original story, high hopes for Benj Pasek and Justin Paul" Washington Post, July 10, 2015
  25. ^ Clement, Olivia. "Pasek and Paul's 'Dear Evan Hansen' Bows in New York", Playbill, March 26, 2016
  26. ^ "Onstage. If You Give A Pig A Pancake, January 24, 2010". Penn State, accessed July 27, 2012
  27. ^ "'One Night Stand' Documentary Feat. Cheyenne Jackson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Mandy Gonzalez et al. Makes NewFest Premiere, 7/24"., July 24, 2011
  28. ^ Agard, Chancellor (January 31, 2017). "The Flash-Supergirl musical crossover to feature songs by Rachel Bloom, Dear Evan Hansen duo". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 31, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Benoist Sings in Supergirl Crisis on Earth-X Part 1 Crossover". November 27, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2017. 
  30. ^ Gans, Andrew and Viagas, Robert. "La La Land Film, With Ryan Gosling, to Feature Songs by Pasek and Paul and Justin Hurwitz" Playbill, March 8, 2016
  31. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Watch New Trailer for Forthcoming La La Land' Movie Musical" Playbill, August 23, 2016
  32. ^ "Oscar Nominations 2017: See the Full List". Vanity Fair. January 24, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Oscar Winners 2017". 26 February 2017 – via 
  34. ^ "VIDEO: Official Trailer for THE GREATEST SHOWMAN Has Arrived ft. New Music from Pasek & Paul!". Broadway World. 
  35. ^ "VIDEO: Pasek & Paul to Team with Menken on Live-Action ALADDIN; Miranda Confirmed for LITTLE MERMAID". Broadway World. 
  36. ^ "Disney Developing Live-Action 'Snow White' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. October 31, 2016. Retrieved July 17, 2017. 
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ Paulson, Michael What It’s Like to Make It in Showbiz With Your Best Friend, The New York Times, November 10, 2016.

External links[edit]