The Jews Write Christmas Again
With the new Broadway musical A Christmas Story, songwriter Benj Pasek continues a storied tradition
That Jews wrote many of the most beloved Christmas songs in the holiday songbook is no secret. “White Christmas,” by Irving Berlin, is perhaps the best-known example, but there are countless others, including “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (Johnny Marks), and “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” (lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne). At age 27, Benj Pasek is now in a position to add his name to that illustrious lineage. Pasek is one half of the songwriting team Pasek & Paul. The two met as undergraduates at the University of Michigan, where they wrote their first production, a song cycle about twenty-something confusion called Edges. Several co-productions later, they were brought on to write the music and lyrics to A Christmas Story, adapted from the 1983 blockbuster movie. The show is now on Broadway and has been delighting crowds and critics alike. Pasek speaks with Vox Tablet about how he and partner Justin Paul collaborate, about his own relationship to Christmas, and about his aspirations to apply his musical-theater talents to create more contemporary expressions of Jewish communal life. Guest host Rebecca Soffer, a New York-based writer and producer, is a former Colbert Report producer. Most recently she was the national network coordinator at Reboot. [Running time: 23:06.]
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