Songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are on their way to being the youngest EGOT winners ever. They triumphed at the Grammy Awards for the first time on Sunday for Best Musical Theater Album of “Dear Evan Hansen” as the show’s producers and composers.
In the past 12 months alone, the duo won Best Original Song at the Oscars along with composer Justin Hurwitz for the “La La Land” song “City of Stars.” They prevailed at the Tony Awards in the category of Best Original Score for “Dear Evan Hansen.” They are now just an Emmy Award away from EGOT status and have the Fox holiday special “A Christmas Story” live musical on that ballot this summer.
A dozen entertainers have won the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) for their careers. The most recent person to join that group was composer Robert Lopez, who currently holds the record of youngest achievement at age 39. His first victories with each group: Tony (“Avenue Q,” 2004), Daytime Emmy (“Wonder Pets,” 2008), Oscar (“Frozen,” 2014), and Grammy (“Dear Evan Hansen,” 2018). Pasek is currently 32 and Paul is 33, so an EGOT completion in the next six years would give them the age record.
We recently spoke with the composers about their musical “The Greatest Showman,” which stars Hugh Jackman as P. T. Barnum (watch our exclusive video interview above). At its core the movie is about “celebrating wonder and magic,” declares Pasek about the storybook beginnings of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Their song “This Is Me,” a rousing anthem performed by breakout star Keala Settle was nominated at the 2018 Oscars this past week.
Paul details more about the plot of their latest movie musical, telling us, “You meet him at the height of his showmanship and you see him in the circus and you’re sort of introduced to that world. And then the story takes you back and you see his roots and his humble beginnings and what was driving him and what was motivating him.”
The guys readily admit that Jackman had “a lot” of impact in helping them create the songs for “The Greatest Showman.” Paul explains, “The film is all about a charismatic, dynamic figure and his larger-than-life vision and so Hugh is just perfect. He is insanely, annoyingly charismatic, on-screen and off. He’s the song and dance man of our time.”
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