Pasek and Paul Deliver Kershaw Lecture
April 13, 2015
By Angela Garts
ALLIANCE, Ohio – Songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul presented the 2015 Kershaw Lectureship on Poetry and Fine Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Gallaher Theatre of the Giese Center for Performing Arts at the University of Mount Union.
Pasek and Paul met their freshman year in college at the University of Michigan. Since becoming the dynamic duo 10 years ago in college, Pasek and Paul have experienced an abundance of success.
Pasek and Paul are Tony-nominated songwriters known for their Broadway production of “A Christmas Story, The Musical” which was recognized by USA Today as the Best Musical of 2012 and was named one of the Top 10 show of 2012 by Time Magazine. The production also received Tony Award nominations for Outstanding New Broadway Musical.
The songwriting duo also wrote the worldwide-performed musical “Edges” which students of the University of Mount Union directed and performed just last year.
Also on the list of Pasek and Paul’s theatrical achievements are “Dogfight” and “James and the Giant Peach.” NBC’s “SMASH,” PBS’s “Sesame Street” and Disney Channel’s “Johnny & the Sprites” have all featured music by the duo.
Honored with many awards, the duo has added 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 and the Jonathan Larson Award and Billboard Magazine’s Top 5 Broadway Songwriters to their long list of achievements.
During Thursday’s lecture, Pasek and Paul spoke to students and audience members of their achievements, but also of all the hard work and effort they put into their success. Their advice to the audience is that in order to be successful, they need to take chances and not wait around for something to happen.
The duo stressed the fact that everyone in college is making connections and everything in the future is being shaped by what students are doing right now. Pasek and Paul encouraged those in attendance to do whatever it is they are passionate about and to constantly keep working to be better and do better.
Pasek and Paul also graced the students and staff with an abundance of lighthearted humor and even a few musical numbers. One song in particular was “Waving Through the Window,” a new song that will be featured in a production the duo is currently working on.