Oscar winner, Westport alum meets with kids performing his play

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WESTPORT -

An Academy Award-winning composer and songwriter stopped by his old Westport middle school Friday to work with budding actors getting ready for their spring musical -- which he just happened to have written.

Justin Paul went back to Coleytown Middle School at the request of his former fifth-grade and theater teacher Ben Frimmer. He discussed the students' interpretation of his "James and the Giant Peach" play and also talked about how his early experiences played a key role in his successful career.

"It is a very bizarre and surreal and wonderful experience to get to be back at this theater," Paul says. "They are up there performing my music and words, and it's really special."

The students will put on four performances of "James and the Giant Peach" Friday, March 23 through Sunday, March 25.

Paul was nominated at last weekend's Academy Awards in the best original song category for "The Greatest Showman." He won the gold statue at last year's Oscars in the same category for "La La Land." 

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