Both artists are graduates of the University of Michigan and winners of the American Theatre Wing's 2007 Jonathan Larson Award, which honors achievement by composers, lyricists and librettists.
Pasek and Paul started working together as freshmen at the University of Michigan where they completed their BFA degrees in musical theatre in December 2006. Both got "background" roles in the school's musical theater production, which inspired them to write the series of songs turned into a show, Edges. While Pasek usually writes lyrics and Paul usually writes music, they opted to share credit for both elements of the songwriting.A Christmas Story, The Musical, which was nominated for a Tony Award in 2013 for Best Original Score
Edges is a song cycle about the trials and tribulations of moving into adulthood. It examines the search for love, commitment and meaning. Edges premiered at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, Michigan on April 3, 2005. Social media created a dedicated fan base nicknamed "Edge-heads". It has had over 200 productions worldwide in Australia, South Africa, Denmark, France, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Philippines, and across the United States.
Pasek and Paul wrote the score to the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach. The show premiered at the Norma Terris Theatre at Goodspeed Musicals in 2010 in a developmental production, and was directed by Graciela Daniele and choreographed by Pilobolus.
Their musical Dear Evan Hansen premiered at the Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.) on July 30, 2015, running through August 23. The musical was inspired by a traumatic incident in Pasek's life, the death of a high school student. The book was written by Steven Levenson, directed by Michael Greif and starred Ben Platt as Evan.
The musical made its Off-Broadway debut in March 2016 (previews) at the Second Stage Theatre's Tony Kiser Theatre. Again directed by Greif, most of the Arena Stage cast appears in the Off-Broadway production. The musical is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.
Dear Evan Hansen premiered on Broadway on November 14, 2016, and opened December 4, 2016, at the Music Box Theatre. At the 71st Tony Awards, it was nominated for nine awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Actor in a Musical for Platt. It won six awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score for the duo.
Other works include If You Give A Pig A Pancake and Duck For President for Theatreworks USA, and Dr. Williams, written for the Orchard Project's 24 Hour Musicals benefit. The show starred Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Cheyenne Jackson. Pasek and Paul were featured in the documentary film One Night Stand about the process.
Their New York premiere was a concert of songs titled Become: The Music of Pasek & Paul and was performed May 14, 2006, at Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre. The evening was a benefit for the Wylie Foundation and featured performers including Gavin Creel, Cheyenne Jackson, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Steven Pasquale. The evening was produced and directed by Jamie McGonnigal.
As television songwriters, their original songs were featured on Season 2 of NBC's Smash, and have risen to the Top 25 on the iTunes Pop Charts. (See: List of songs in Smash)
Pasek and Paul wrote music for six episodes of the Disney Channel show Johnny and the Sprites, including music for one story in the series' premiere episode.
Pasek and Paul also wrote the original song "Runnin' Home to You" performed by Grant Gustin for the musical crossover episode of The Flash "Duet" between The Flash and Supergirl.
Pasek and Paul wrote the lyrics for the film musical La La Land. Justin Hurwitz wrote the music. The film stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. It was written and directed by Damien Chazelle. The film, in its world premiere, was the opening film at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2016. "City of Stars", their song from the film composed by Justin Hurwitz, won the 2017 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. "City of Stars" and "Audition" received nominations for Best Original Song at the 89th Academy Awards. They won the 2017 Academy Award for Best Original Song for "City of Stars."
Pasek and Paul wrote the lyrics for the upcoming 2017 film musical The Greatest Showman directed by Michael Gracey, in collaboration with John Debney.
Pasek and Paul will be writing songs for Disney's upcoming 2019 live-action film adaptation of Aladdin directed by Guy Ritchie, in collaboration with Alan Menken.
Pasek and Paul will be writing songs with composer Alan Menken for Disney's upcoming live-action film adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Pasek and Paul also wrote the song "Get Back Up Again" for the film Trolls (they also wrote a deleted song for that called "Bringing Back Happy").
†: Pasek and Paul became the youngest winners of the Jonathan Larson Grant in history.
Pasek is the son of professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. His alma mater is the University of Michigan and Friends' Central School.
Paul's alma mater is the University of Michigan and Staples High School.