American songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul may not yet be household names this side of the pond but the chances are you’ve heard their music. As we eagerly await the UK premiere of musical Dear Evan Hansen at the Noel Coward Theatre in November, it’s time to take a look at the brains behind it. Give it a few years and it's likely that Pasek and Paul will be up there with the great twosomes of musical theatre history. They’re well on their way — here’s how it happened. Pasek and Paul have been writing together since university The pair met while studying musical theatre at the University of Michigan. Having been passed over for every significant role in the school’s musicals, they decided to write one themselves and collaborated on their first show Edges when they were 19 years old. It made them the youngest people to win a $20,000 John Larson Award, established in memory of the Rent composer. They decided right at the beginning … [Read more...] about Meet Pasek and Paul, your new musical theatre obsession
Millikin university musical theatre
The enormous success of Hamilton has underlined the enduring appeal of musical theatre. Marjorie Brennan selects the best shows of the year ahead.Come From Away, Abbey Theatre, Dublin, until Jan 19The national theatre has broadened its remit since Graham McLaren and Neil Murray took the reins in 2017, and it scored something of a coup in securing the European premiere of this hit Broadway musical, ahead of its much-anticipated transfer to the West End. Come From Away is inspired by the true story of the 7,000 air passengers from all over the world who were grounded in Canada in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and the small Newfoundland community that took them in. Tickets available for this run, which ends on Saturday, January 19.abbeytheatre.ieBlood Brothers, INEC Killarney, March 19-23, Cork Opera House Aug 6-24Willy Russell’s heart-wrenching tale of twins separated at birth is the third longest-running musical production in West End history and its enduring popularity is … [Read more...] about From ‘Caberet’ to ‘Come From Away’, Musical theatre set for a big year
Almost five decades later he’s back in the capital again for the launch night of Les Misérables at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. He doesn’t need to sell it – it has been sold out for weeks. In fact, it’s the biggest advance sale of any show of his ever in the UK and Ireland. “Normally with Dublin people they wait until about two weeks before the show comes and finally think, ‘oh, I’ll get a ticket now!’ and then you get this flood,” he says, chuckling at our laissez-faire attitude. This show, however, has been different. “We’ve done incredibly well with my shows here before but we’ve never seen this and I don’t think the theatre has either.” Meath man Killian Donnelly (‘darling Killian’) is playing the lead, Jean Valjean, and Mackintosh says, “Ever since I clapped eyes on him he was special,” before giving a rundown of the 34-year-old star’s … [Read more...] about ‘I’m a very good delegator as long as they do exactly what I want!’ – Cameron Mackintosh talks five decades at forefront of musical theatre
Ballads, duets and heartfelt laments are the cornerstone of so many musicals. Whether uplifting or devastating, we love to have a couple to root for, whether it ends well or not. Our favourites here range from star-cross’d lovers to soulmates to short-lived romances. Be warned – this definitely contains spoilers. Elphaba and Fiyero, Wicked Not the most conventional couple. Wicked's Elphaba is a green and misunderstood witch, Fiyero is privileged, lazy and dating her best friend – but somehow they make it work, bringing out the best in each other. While Elphaba is already an independent spirit who cares deeply about injustice, it takes a little more to coax that side out of Fiyero. She shows him – the ultimate “caring about stuff isn’t cool” guy – that he’s living a lie by telling himself that nothing bothers him. He shows her that she’s worthy of love for the first time in her life. Who needs conventional? … [Read more...] about Musical theatre’s greatest love stories
Back in 1982, I was working with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus on Chess. I was employed as Tim Rice’s assistant. Abba had just disbanded and my first job was to go to meet Björn from the airport. I’d always loved the Abba songs but that was when I fell in love with them. Meeting Benny and Björn and working with them over the next five years, I became extremely interested in those songs, which I think they thought they had left behind, as they were working on other musical projects. When I was younger, I was an Abba fan but I was more into Bowie, and I went through the rock phase of the Led Zeppelins and the Emerson, Lake and Palmers. I loved “Dancing Queen” but I never went to an Abba concert. Yet I was compelled by the songs and by meeting the guys. The song “The Winner Takes it All” was the inspiration for Mamma Mia! and when I met Björn I wanted to know what must have been going round in … [Read more...] about Musical theatre impresario Judy Craymer on her inspiration for Mamma Mia!