Get to Know TEDxBroadway 2015 Speakers … Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Get to Know Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Benj and Justin are the Tony-nominated songwriters of the Broadway musical A Christmas Story (directed by John Rando, choreographed by Warren Carlyle), which opened in November 2012 and enjoyed a critically acclaimed, record-breaking run at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. In addition to the Best Score nomination, A Christmas Story also received Tony nominations for Best Musical and Best Book. The holiday musical was named one of the Top 10 shows of 2012 by Time magazine, shared recognition as the No. 1 Musical of 2012 in USA Today and received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for Outstanding New Broadway Musical. Benj and Justin’s score for the show also received a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Music. The cast album was recorded and produced by Sony Masterworks and is published through Warner/Chappell Music.
Benj & Justin are the composers behind the off-Broadway musical Dogfight (directed by Joe Mantello, choreographed by Christopher Gattelli), a Best New Musical nominee for the Drama League, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle awards. Benj and Justin also received an Outer Critics Circle Best Score nomination for their work on the show. Dogfight premiered in July 2012 at Second Stage Theatre, and a cast album, produced by Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records, was released in May 2013. The album debuted in the Top 50 albums on iTunes. 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.
Where are you originally from?
Benj: I’m from a town outside Philly called Ardmore. It was actually referenced in South Pacific!
Justin: And I’m from Westport, Conn., which was referenced in Rent, so we both have very musical hometowns!
What do you do for a living, how did you get into that field?
Both: We’re songwriters for theater, TV and film. We got into the field by getting cast in the smallest, most embarrassing roles in City of Angels at the University of Michigan, so it was clear we needed to find some other skill. So we were forced to write!
Do you have a favorite Broadway show? If so, which one?
J: Sweeney Todd
B: Mine is Merrily We Roll Along. So opposite ends of the Sondheim spectrum.
What was the first Broadway show you ever saw?
B: The Lion King
What’s your favorite bad movie or TV show?
B: Dance Moms. Sorry, I’m not sorry.
J: I was obsessed with The Dead Zone on USA for a very long time. Was that bad? I’m guessing it was.
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