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.