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Staples Graduate Justin Paul Nominated For Tony For Best Score

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Justin Paul, a 2003 graduate of Staples High School in Westport, was nominated for a Tony Award with his writing partner, Benj Pasek, for Best Original Score (music and/or lyrics) Written for the Theatre for their work on “A Christmas Story, The Musical,” it was announced Tuesday.

The other nominees are “Hands on a Hardbody," “Matilda the Musical” and “Kinky Boots,” which was written by pop singer Cyndi Lauper of Stamford.

Paul also attended Music Theatre of Connecticut School of Performing Arts in Westport and graduated from the University of Michigan in December 2006 with a bachelor's of fine arts in musical theater.

“A Christmas Story, The Musical,” opened in November at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. It is nominated for three Tonys, including Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical.

Based on the cult movie of the same name, the musical tells the story of Ralphie Parker, an 11-year-old kid in Indiana who is desperate to win the most coveted holiday prize: an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream, according to the show's website.

The two are also the composers behind the Off-Broadway musical "Dogfight," which premiered in July 2012 at Second Stage Theatre, according to their website. Their original songs are featured on Season 2 of the hit NBC show "Smash."

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