A Song Coming On: Meet Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the Next Generation of American Musical Writers

By Michael Gioia
06 Aug 2012

John Bolton in A Christmas Story, The Musical!
Photo by Carol Rosegg

On a less tense and lighter (musical) note, Pasek and Paul will make their Broadway debut this holiday season when A Christmas Story, The Musical! opens at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in November.

"Not so different from Dogfight, [we thought], 'Okay, we're not going to write a [pastiche] 1940s score,'" said Paul. "There's so many kids in this show, so we really went to work writing an exciting, impassioned, youthful, spritely, magical [score]." Pasek added that they were "so excited to have debuts in New York with very different shows — to be able to flex as many muscles as we can."

As for Broadway, the pair admitted to being "excited and scared." "Something possessed us to just start walking to Times Square, and we stood outside of the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre for like 35 minutes just looking at it," said Pasek. "It had this mystical quality. We feel so lucky that we're going to experience something that we've dreamed about forever. We feel everything about it."

While movie adaptations are what consume Pasek and Paul at the moment, they shared the scoop on an entirely original project that they're developing. "There's a show that we've been working on since college," said Paul. "[We're] working with a great playwright named Steven Levenson on the show. It's very contemporary. It'll be a different sound, hopefully, than we've done so far. It's very...rock and pop-driven and a very contemporary story with very relevant themes. It's more about our generation... We'll see!"

While hard at work on their new musical and facing rewrites of the Broadway-bound Christmas Story, Pasek and Paul are simply soaking in the love and support from the New York theatre community. Having their material performed in New York, "we found that our writing community is insanely giving," said Pasek.

He added, "It's been really, really cool to have [Dogfight] be in New York and have the community be able to see something that we're really proud of. That's an amazing experience."

(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com. Write to him at mgioia@playbill.com.)

Pasek and Paul share their Dogfight song "Some Kinda Time" with Playbill Video.