Benj Pasek And Justin Paul Say Steve Martin Nailed Their Challenging ‘Only Murders In The Building’ Song In Two Hours – Sound & Screen TV

Benj Pasek And Justin Paul Say Steve Martin Nailed Their Challenging ‘Only Murders In The Building’ Song In Two Hours – Sound & Screen TV

Songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul marveled at Steve Martin’s ability to perform their rapid-fire song in Season 3 of Only Murders in the Building. Martin’s character, Charles-Haden Savage, struggles with “Which of the Pickwick Triplets Did It” until episode 8 of the season. Unlike Savage, though, Martin nailed it in a tight two-hour time window.

“He’s an incredible musician so it sort of tracks,” Paul said during a conversation at Deadline’s Sound & Screen Television live-music event, where Pasek and Paul performed the patter song from the hit Hulu series’ fictional musical Death Rattle Dazzle.

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Even though they wrote “Pickwick Triplets,” the pair acknowledge the difficulty.

“It is pretty difficult to sing a patter song,” Pasek said. “We have tried to do it and failed many times.”

Martin’s challenge was exacerbated by a time crunch. Production ran late, leaving only two hours for Martin’s performance on the last day the production secured the location.

“You can see the other actors watching the character,” Pasek said. “A lot of it is very real because there was a two-hour window and he actually performed it and knocked it out of the park. So I think everybody’s actually surprised that Steve Martin nailed it.”

Fans of the show’s first two seasons, Pasek and Paul said they would write songs for the show for free should the opportunity arise. When creator John Hoffman made a musical the plot of the third season, a mutual writer friend suggested Pasek and Paul, the Oscar- and Tony-winning songwriting duo whose credits include the films La La Land and The Greatest Showman, and the musical Dear Evan Hansen.

Like Hoffman’s writers form a writers room to hash out the story of the season, Pasek and Paul created an all-star musical writers room that includes Marc Shaman, Scott Wittman, Michael R. Jackson and Sara Bareilles to create the Death Rattle Dazzle songs.

“Could we get together a group of some of our favorite songwriters and all create this fake insane musical together?” Paul said. “This show is more is more, so yes.”

Paul said what Martin drew upon in his performance remains a mystery to him. He is just happy that audiences went along with the suspense over Charles’ performance.

“As songwriters and musical theater people, I just feel very grateful that in 2024 we have an audience at home rooting for a musical theater patter performance,” Paul said. “I find that insane and incredible. I love that.”

Check out the panel video above.

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