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Posted on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Songwriting team Pasek and Paul lead pack of U-M theater nominees in New York

By Jenn McKee

Tuesday morning's announcement of 2013's batch of Tony Award nominees wraps up a little more than a week of accolades from the New York theater world (the Outer Critics Award nominations were released on Monday, April 22, and the Drama Desk Award noms came out on Monday, April 29).

As usual, University of Michigan alumni have found their way onto the lists of nominees, with songwriting team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul leading the pack, having been nominated by all three organizations for their scoring work on "A Christmas Story: The Musical."

Plus, as a kind of bittersweet coda, costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, who passed away in July 2012, was nominated for a Drama Desk Award (with Amy Clark) for his work on “Chaplin: The Musical.”

U-M offered a press release with a complete rundown of alumni nominations.

Spring is the season of Broadway award nominations and once again alums of U-M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance have been recognized for their outstanding work in theatre. This year, musical theatre alums Benj Pasek (BFA ’07) and Justin Paul (BFA ’07) have received nominations from all three of the major award bodies, the Tony Awards, the Drama Desk Awards, and the Outer Critics Circle Awards. The Tony nomination, in the category of Best Original Score, is for writing the music and lyrics for "A Christmas Story," which also received Tony nominations for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical. Additionally, Pasek & Paul received a Drama Desk Outstanding Music nomination for "A Christmas Story," with the show also receiving a Drama Desk nominations in five other categories, including Outstanding Musical. "A Christmas Story" was also nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award as Outstanding New Broadway Musical.

In addition, Pasek & Paul’s Off-Broadway musical "Dogfight," for which they wrote music and lyrics, received Outer Critics Circle Award nominations in the categories of Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical and Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway), along with three additional nominations.

Other nominations this award season include:

* Josh Rhodes (BFA ’93, musical theatre) nominated for both a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award in the category of “Outstanding Choreography” for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

* Jack O’Brien (BA '61, theatre and MA '62 English), nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award as “Outstanding Director of a Play” for The Nance.

* The Araca Group, the production company of Matthew Rego (BFA ’92), co-produced two shows nominated for top awards: The Testament of Mary, Tony nominee for “Best Play” and Outer Critics Circle nominee for “Outstanding New Broadway Play;” and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Tony nominee for “Best Revival of a Musical,” Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations for “Outstanding Revival of a Musical.”

Jenn McKee is an entertainment reporter for Reach her at or 734-623-2546, and follow her on Twitter @jennmckee.