PLAYBILL VIP SPOTLIGHT: Pasek and Paul's Dogfight Enters the Ring With College Students at Pace University

By Michael Gioia
30 Sep 2013

PLAYBILL VIP SPOTLIGHT: Pasek and Paul's Dogfight Enters the Ring With College Students at Pace University

The 2013 Lucille Lortel Award-winning musical Dogfight — an unlikely love story between a clumsy waitress and a Vietnam-bound soldier that features a pop-rock score by rising theatrical songwriters and Tony Award nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul — will be given its first staging, following its Off-Broadway premiere, Oct. 2-9 at New York City's Pace University.

Playbill.com takes a look at the production as part of our new PlaybillVIP.com Spotlight series. Organizations across the country can now create an authentic Playbill as part of this new venture.

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Amy Rogers, the director of Musical Theatre at New York City's downtown Pace University, was among the audience at the 2012 Second Stage Theatre production — and world premiere — of Dogfight, the new musical by composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and book writer Peter Duchan that follows a group of hormonal 20 year olds as they prepare for war in 1963. Immediately, she was eager to get her hands on the material for the twentysomethings at Pace.



"The beauty of teaching musical theatre in New York City is that these [writers] are just a phone call or a subway ride away," said Rogers, who sent an email to songwriters Pasek and Paul and expressed her interest in licensing the property from Musical Theatre International. "The timing was right, and I was a fan of the piece, and I thought that this could be a really good fit — especially for college-age actors. It's about their age group. It was sort of kismet, timing wise."

Visit Pace University's Virtual Internet Playbill at PlaybillVIP.com by clicking here.

With Pace University behind the first production of Dogfight since its world-premiere engagement uptown, it was also kismet for the musical's leading players, junior Hayley Anna Norris, 20, and sophomore Cory Jeacoma, 19.

"Last year," Jeacoma explained, "[Hayley Anna] pulls me aside at the first big party here, and she said, 'We're going to ask Amy to do Dogfight, and we're going to do it… I'm going to be Rose, you're going to be Birdlace.'"

Norris saw the musical three times in its Off-Broadway incarnation and thought, "That was me as a 15-year-old girl. I didn't feel attractive. I didn't feel like I could be outspoken, and now — moving to New York and growing into myself — it's exactly what Rose does. Eddie helps her do that. She grows into herself, and she becomes this beautiful spirit. When I saw it, I thought, 'I have to do that. Her story has to be told.'"

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