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Musical Theatre alums 'Pasek & Paul' win Oscar for 'La La Land' song

U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance alums Justin Paul (left) and Benj Pasek (right) just after accepting their Academy Award in the 'Best Original Song' category.

U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance alums Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Musical Theatre ’06) won an Academy Award at the 89th annual ceremony on Feb. 28 for ‘Best Original Song’ for City of Stars from the film La La Land. They wrote the lyrics for City of Stars, sharing the win with composer Justin Hurwitz.

This is the first Oscar win for the duo, known as ‘Pasek and Paul.’ They were also nominated in the same category for Audition (The Fools Who Dream), also from La La Land. They recently took home a Golden Globe in January, where City of Stars also won ‘Best Original Song.’

“This award is dedicated to all the kids who sing in the rain and to all the moms that let them,” Pasek said in their acceptance speech.

Pasek and Paul also created the music and lyrics for the current Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen, which is expected to receive a nomination for 71st annual Tony Awards, to be announced May 2.

Prior to their work with La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen, they also lent their musical talents to A Christmas Story, The Musical on Broadway. Their musical Dogfight premiered at the Second Stage Theatre in 2012 and garnered the Lortel Award for ‘Best New Musical.’ Their other stage works include James and the Giant Peach and Edges, a musical they wrote while undergrads at the University of Michigan. On screen, their music has been featured in Smash, Sesame Street and Johnny and the Sprites.

They are currently working on Hugh Jackman’s movie musical, The Greatest Showman.