Benj Pasek and Justin Paul to Give Kershaw Lecture

March 30, 2015

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul will present the 2015 Myrtie Allen Kershaw Lectureship on Poetry and Fine Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 in the Gallaher Theatre of the Giese Center for Performing Arts at the University of Mount Union. A reception will follow the lecture.

Pasek and Paul are Tony-nominated songwriters known for their Broadway production of “A Christmas Story, The Musical.” This production was recognized by USA Today as the Best Musical of 2012 and named one of the Top 10 shows of 2012 by Time Magazine. The production received Tony Award nominations for Outstanding New Broadway Musical. 

Pasek and Paul also wrote the worldwide-performed musical “Edges.” Last year, students from the University of Mount Union directed and performed a reproduction of this musical. 

Other theatre achievements by Pasek and Paul include “Dogfight” and “James and the Giant Peach.” Their music has appeared on NBC’s “SMASH,” PBS’s “Sesame Street” and Disney Channel’s “Johnny & the Sprites.”

Currently, Pasek and Paul are working on music for FOX’s live action musical  “The Greatest Showman on Earth,” the animated feature “Tom and Jerry Return to Oz” and for a new musical by Disney Theatricals.

Pasek and Paul have been honored for various awards including the Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theatre from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Sundance Institute Fellowship, the ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, the ASCAP Songwriters Fellowship Award, the Dramatists Guide Fellowship, the Jonathan Larson Award and Billboard Magazine’s Top 5 Broadway Songwriters.

Pasek and Paul both graduated from the University of Michigan and are members of the Dramatists Guild of America. They teach at top theatre programs and universities around the world.

The Myrtie Allen Kershaw Lectureship on Poetry and Fine Arts was established in 1960 at the request of Myrtie Allen Kershaw of Kent, Ohio.  In her will, Kershaw indicated that her fund should go to a college chosen by friend Elizabeth Clark Bell.  Bell, a 1932-1933 student of Mount Union, designated Mount Union to receive the fund.  The income from this fund is used to bring to the college or university a person of distinction, for one or more lectures on ancient or modern poetry, the fine arts or music or for an original performance in one of these fields.


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