With Dogfight — their off-Broadway musical debut — getting largely positive reviews*, Staples grad Justin Paul and his songwriting partner Benj Pasek are already looking ahead.
And with A Christmas Story, The Musical! headed for Broadway in 3 months, they’re generating plenty of buzz themselves.
Yesterday, the New York Observer took note. In a long story headlined “The Youngest Old Souls on Broadway: Dogfight Songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul Hit the Big Time,” Harry Huan introduced the still-just-27 duo as Perhaps The Next Big Thing.
Among the highlights:
Whether Pasek & Paul become this millennium’s Lerner & Loewe remains to be seen, but they are on the right track and coming at a respectable speed out of the University of Michigan’s theater department, old school ties flapping in the wind.
“We developed an appreciation for all those classic musicals and began to really analyze them and try to figure out what made them so great,” Mr. Paul explained. “Not that we write in their style necessarily, but we understand their craft.”
Two-time Tony winning director Joe Montello said, “It has been so exciting to collaborate with three people (Staples grad Peter Duchan wrote the book) who are at the very beginning of their careers. Their enthusiasm, their optimism—infectious!”
Godspell‘s Lindsay Mendez added, “It’s unbelievable to be able to debut a score of this caliber. Every song is so unique and special and fits the moment so perfectly. It’s a dream to get to sing their stuff.”
As for A Christmas Story, actor John Bolton praises, “I genuinely believe this score that they’ve written is not just a serviceable score for a contemporary holiday show, but I believe it to be a classic American score.”
Dogfight ends its run at Second Stage Theater August 19. A Christmas Story opens November 19 at the Lunt-Fontanne.
There’s still time to get tickets for both.
*(Except for some idiot from the New York Post.)
(To read the entire New York Observer piece, click here.)