Joe Mantello is a huge name on Broadway. Justin Paul and Peter Duchan soon will be.
Mantello — a very hot director, with 2 Tony Awards among his many credits — has just been announced as director of the world premiere of “Dogfight.” The musical is set for Second Stage Theatre in June.
“Dogfight”‘s book is by Peter Duchan. The music and lyrics are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Peter and Justin are Staples grads; Benj is very familiar locally, as a longtime collaborator with Justin.
Set in 1960s San Francisco, “Dogfight” follows Eddie Birdlace, a Marine about to ship out to Vietnam. He and his friends hold a cruel competition — a “dogfight” – during which each man brings the ugliest date he can find to a party.
“Dogfight” won the 2011 Richards Rodgers Award for Musical Theatre.
Benj and Justin’s current projects include “A Christmas Story” (national tour 2011) and “James and the Giant Peach” (Goodspeed 2010).
Peter co-wrote the screenplay for “Breaking Upwards,” released by IFC Films last year. He also co-wrote a short, “Unlocked,” an Official Selection of the Tribeca Film Festival, among others.
As for Joe — the only person with non-Westport connections in this story — he is currently represented on Broadway by “Wicked” and “Other Desert Cities.” He has also directed “Pal Joey,” “9 to 5 the Musical,” “The Odd Couple,” “Glengarry Ross, “Take Me Out, “The Vagina Monologues,” “Love! Valour! Compassion” and “The Santaland Diaries” — among many others.
Now he’s got one more accomplishment: Working with Justin Paul and Peter Duchan.