Benj Pasek

Forward Magazine - - Forward 50 -

Could Benj Pasek have had a bet­ter year?

As one half of the song­writ­ing duo Pasek and Paul, with Justin Paul — they’ve worked to­gether since 2006, when they were col­lege fresh­men — he won the 2017 Tony for best orig­i­nal score for the Broad­way sen­sa­tion “Dear Evan Hansen.”

He and Paul also wrote the lyrics for a lit­tle movie called “La La Land”; along with com­poser Justin Hur­witz, they snagged the Os­car for best orig­i­nal song for that film’s bal­lad, “City of Stars.” (Pasek thanked his mother for “let[ting] me quit the JCC soc­cer league to be in a school musical.”)

They have three movie mu­si­cals in the works, in­clud­ing live- ac­tion re­makes of the Dis­ney clas­sics “Aladdin” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” And he met Bey­oncé. Through it all, the Philadel­phi­aborn Pasek, 32, has made a point to cel­e­brate his Jewish ties – head­lin­ing a ben­e­fit for a Jewish char­ity in his home­town, and host­ing an un­tra­di­tional Seder for Broad­way per­form­ers, based on his mem­o­ries of Passover cel­e­bra­tions in his liv­ing room grow­ing up.

“Ju­daism is def­i­nitely a part of my iden­tity and my life,” Pasek told the Jewish Ex­po­nent.


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