Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

The Jews Write Christmas Again

With the new Broadway musical A Christmas Story, songwriter Benj Pasek continues a storied tradition

Print Email
Eddie Korbich (standing center), Johnny Rabe (seated center), and company in A Christmas Story, The Musical. (Carol Rosegg)

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.] 

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Mary’s Boy Child LyricsMary’s boy child Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day.
And man will live for evermore because of Christmas Day.

Long time ago in Bethlehem so the Holy Bible said
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day.

Hark now hear the angels sing a king was born today
And man will live for evermore because of Christmas Day.
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day.

While shepherds watch their flocks by night,
they see a bright new shining star,
they hear a choir sing a song, the music seemed to come from afar.

Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today,
And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.

For a moment the world was aglow, all the bells rang out
there were tears of joy and laughter, people shouted
“let everyone know, there is hope for all to find peace”.

Now Joseph and his wife, Mary, came to Bethlehem that night,
they found no place to bear her child, not a single room was in sight.

And then they found a little nook in a stable all forlorn,
and in a manger cold and dark, Mary’s little boy was born.

Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today,
And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas Day.

Oh a moment still worth was a glow, all the bells rang out
there were tears of joy and laughter, people shouted
“let everyone know, there is hope for all to find peace”.

sedaliasteve says:

Oh Oh! Garrison Keillor will now have more songs to kvetch about.

Some great catchy tunes, how wonderful it would be if they would write Hanukkah songs.

Lisa Grissom says:

great interview! love hearing about the creative process and how moments of inspiration are expressed in song.

Amazing interview! Great job!

Maureen says:

Really engaging interview. Can’t wait to take my niece to see this musical. Love all the insight. Thank you!

Amazing to hear, in one interview, the words, A Christmas Story, Torah Study, the Talmud, music, Jews and songwriting. And it all worked together. These words of praise have little to do with the fact that I, too, live on the Main Line. Never knew Ben but I’m happy he seems to have a great career ahead of him.

Melinda says:

This was a fantastic listen. I enjoyed the lighthearted and candid dialogue about Benj’s path to success and how his upbringing influenced him as an artist. Being a fan of the movie it was a treat to hear what inspired the music to the show. I found myself smiling throughout the interview. Thank you!

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The Jews Write Christmas Again

With the new Broadway musical A Christmas Story, songwriter Benj Pasek continues a storied tradition

More on Tablet:

A Tale of Three Twitter Feeds: Hamas Tweets in Arabic, English, and Hebrew

By Aaron Magid — Analysis of the social-media messaging of Hamas’ military wing reveals distinct voices for the West, the Arab Middle East, and Israel