Benj Pasek was an American songwriter born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 9, 1985. The son of prominent psychology professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Pasek attended University of Michigan. There, he met Justin Paul, his songwriting partner. Pasek and Paul began working together while attending college, and wrote the song cycle musical "Edges" in 2006, the same year they graduated from University of Michigan. Shortly afterward, the pair wrote music for six episodes of the first season of "Johnny and the Sprites" (Disney Channel, 2007-09), a children's show that prominently featured songwriting contributions from major Broadway composers in every episode. Pasek and Paul wrote the score for the musical adaptation of "James and the Giant Peach" (2010), and made their Broadway songwriting debut with "A Christmas Story: The Musical" (2012). Both were nominated for multiple awards, including a Tony for their work on "A Christmas Story." The two wrote the music for the stage adaptation of the 1991 River Phoenix film "Dogfight" (2012), a number of original songs for the second season of the TV show "Smash" (NBC, 2012-13), and received critical acclaim for their original musical "Dear Evan Hansen" (2015). The pair followed up this success with an incredibly busy 2016 and 2017. They had songwriting credits with the original song "Get Back Up Again" for the film "Trolls" (2016), and the lyrics for the songs of the critically acclaimed "La La Land" (2016). The pair won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "City of Stars," and were nominated for "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)," amongst many other industry award wins and nominations. Pasek and Paul wrote the original song "Runnin' Home to You" for a musical crossover between DC Comics shows "The Flash" (The CW, 2014-) and "Supergirl" (The CW, 2015-) and wrote the lyrics for the Hugh Jackman musical film "The Greatest Showman" (2017), in which Jackman played P.T. Barnum.