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A Christmas Story - Broadway

The classic movie comes to the Broadway stage for the holiday season.

A Christmas Story’s Benj Pasek & Justin Paul On Inspiration, Guilty Pleasures and Beyonce

A Christmas Story’s Benj Pasek & Justin Paul On Inspiration, Guilty Pleasures and Beyonce
Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Hot young composing duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul share their musical obsessions.

Broadway’s newest songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote the music and lyrics to this year’s holiday blockbuster A Christmas Story. The pair made a big splash off-Broadway earlier this year with their musical Dogfight and wowed fans with a special one-night-only concert at 54 Below. Below, the guys talk about the artists that inspire them, ‘gay’ work-out tunes, romantic wedding memories and more.

BENJ PASEK:
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
For my Bar Mitzvah, I took every penny/check/Sam Goody gift certificate I received and bought DJ equipment and a ton of CDs. I would sit in my room for hours at a time pretending to host my own radio show. My "radio station" played a constant rotation of Stevie Wonder, Rent, Mariah Carey and Dispatch. The Dawson's Creek soundtrack was frequently broadcast as well. I can still hear Paula Cole crying out "I don't wanna wait for this life to be over" and feeling so many feelings!

What song gets you in the holiday spirit?
"I Have a Little Dreidel"? Just kidding. Let's be honest. Hanukkah songs are the absolute worst. So maybe "The Christmas Song?" I love the lyric "And so I'm offering this simple phrase to kids from 1 to 92." So good.

What musical theater track is the most played on your iPod?
I've recently been going to the gym listening to Merrily We Roll Along and Assassins. Yes, I'm gay. Maybe "Good Thing Going"?

What musical theater performer from the past do you wish you can collaborate with?
I wish I could have met and learned from Howard Ashman. Not a performer, but he's someone I greatly admire. There are so many internal rhymes in "Part of Your World" that it will make your head spin! See the bolded words below.

What would I give if I could live
Out of these waters?
What would I pay to spend a day
Warm on the sand?

Bet'cha on land, they understand
Bet they don't reprimand their daughters
Bright young women, sick of swimming
Ready to stand and ready to know..."

I mean, he must be joking! Six "and" rhymes. So good.

What album was the soundtrack to your 20s?
Ask me when I'm 30! I have sneaking suspicion it might end up being something by John Mayer.

What’s your favorite love song?
"New Words" by Maury Yeston or "Unexpressed" by John Bucchino.

What song makes you feel sexy?
"Love on Top" by Beyonce. Those key changes are magical.

What is your favorite workout track?
Well, I've already revealed that I listen to Sondheim albums on the elliptical. I switch between those and Mika.

What song most makes you smile?
"Always Be My Baby" by Mariah Carey. I just can't help myself. Whenever I hear it, I become overjoyed!

JUSTIN PAUL:
What record/album was your favorite growing up?
Toss-up between The Beatles’ Blue & Red albums and Guys & Dolls— the Reprise studio cast one from '76 with the most insane collection of singers: The Rat Pack, Dinah Shore, McGuire Sisters, etc. Sounds ridiculous, and it was.

What concert most influenced you as a performer?
I didn't go to many concerts as a kid. Not gonna lie though...Kenny Loggins performed in my hometown and I was blown away!

What song gets you in the holiday spirit?
“This Christmas.” Donny Hathaway. Done. Or "Christmas Is Coming" by Rob Mathes.

What musical theater track is the most played on your iPod?
"You're Nothing Without Me" from City of Angels tied with "Finishing the Hat" from Sunday in the Park with George. This is getting embarrassing.

What musical theater performer from the past do you wish you can collaborate with?
He's not from the past, but I will convince Mandy Patinkin to do a show I write someday. I will!

What’s your favorite love song?
"All The Way" performed by Frank Sinatra. My wife and I danced to it at our wedding. Sigh!

What’s the best hidden gem in on your iPod?
Every song ever by Gabe Dixon, Rob Mathes, Pierce Pettis and Madi Diaz. Some are more known than ever. Please know them if you don't!

What song most makes you smile?
“Love on Top”. ALWAYS.

When this song plays, I can’t help but dance:
“Love on Top” again. Out of control!

Check out Pasek and Paul’s holiday musical A Christmas Story, now playing at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre through December 30.
 

 

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