Alan Menken

Last updated
Alan Menken
Alan Menken 2013 (cropped).jpg
Menken in 2013
Background information
Birth nameAlan Irwin Menken [1]
Born (1949-07-22) July 22, 1949 (age 70)
New York City, U.S.
  • Arranger
  • conductor
  • songwriter
  • music director
  • record producer
Years active1972–present
Website Official website

Alan Irwin Menken [1] (born July 22, 1949) is an American music conductor, director, composer, songwriter and record producer. Menken is best known for his scores for films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. His scores for The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), and Pocahontas (1995) have each won him two Academy Awards. He also composed the scores for Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Newsies (1992), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997), Home on the Range (2004), Enchanted (2007), Tangled (2010), and Sausage Party (2016), among others. He is also known for his work on musical theatre works for Broadway and elsewhere. Some of these are based on his Disney films, but other stage hits include Little Shop of Horrors (1982), A Christmas Carol (1994) and Sister Act (2009).

A music director, musical director, or director of music is the person responsible for the musical aspects of a performance, production, or organization, for example the artistic director and usually chief conductor of an orchestra or concert band, the director of music of a film, the director of music at a radio station, the person in charge of musical activities or the head of the music department in a school, the coordinator of the musical ensembles in a university, college, or institution, the head bandmaster of a military band, the head organist and choirmaster of a church, or an organist and master of the choristers.

Walt Disney Animation Studios Walt Disney Company animation studio

Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS), also referred to as Disney Animation, is an American animation studio that creates animated feature films, short films, and television specials for The Walt Disney Company. Founded on October 16, 1923, it is a division of Walt Disney Studios, and is headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. The studio has produced 57 feature films, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018).

<i>The Little Mermaid</i> (1989 film) 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation

The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Pictures. The 28th Disney animated feature film and first film in The Little Mermaid franchise, the film is loosely based on the Danish fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. The film tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel who dreams of becoming human, after falling in love with a human prince named Eric. Written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, with music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, and art direction by Michael Peraza Jr. and Donald A. Towns, the film features the voices of Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Buddy Hackett, and René Auberjonois.


Menken has collaborated with such lyricists as Lynn Ahrens, Howard Ashman, Jack Feldman, Tim Rice, Glenn Slater, Stephen Schwartz and David Zippel. With eight Academy Award wins (four each for Best Score and Best Song), Menken is the second most prolific Oscar winner in the music categories after Alfred Newman, who has 9 Oscars. He has also won 11 Grammy Awards, a Tony Award and other honors.

Lynn Ahrens is an American writer and lyricist for the musical theatre, television and film. She has collaborated with Stephen Flaherty for many years. She won the Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award for the Broadway musical Ragtime. Together with Flaherty, they have written many musicals, including Lucky Stiff, My Favorite Year, Ragtime, Seussical, A Man of No Importance, Dessa Rose, The Glorious Ones, Rocky, Little Dancer and, recently on Broadway, Anastasia and Once on This Island.

Howard Ashman American playwright and lyricist

Howard Elliott Ashman was an American playwright and lyricist. He collaborated with Alan Menken on several works and is most widely known for several animated feature films for Disney, for which Ashman wrote the lyrics and Menken composed the music. Ashman and Menken began their collaboration with the musical God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1979), for which Ashman directed and wrote both book and lyrics. Their next musical, Little Shop of Horrors (1982) for which Ashman again directed and wrote both book and lyrics, became a long-running success and led to a 1986 feature film. The partnership's first Disney film was The Little Mermaid (1989), followed by Beauty and the Beast (1991). After his death, some of Ashman's songs were included in another Disney film, Aladdin (1992).

Jack Feldman is an American Tony Award-winning lyricist who has written songs for television, film, and Broadway. He has worked on many Disney movies ranging from Oliver & Company to The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, collaborating with Alan Menken on the songs for Newsies. He wrote the lyrics for Barry Manilow's Grammy Award–winning song "Copacabana" and recently won a Tony along with Alan Menken for the stage musical version of Newsies. Feldman grew up on Long Island.

Early life

Alan Irwin Menken was born on July 22, 1949, at French Hospital in New York City, to Judith and Norman Menken. His father was a boogie-woogie piano-playing dentist, and his mother was an actress, dancer and playwright. [2] [3] His family was Jewish. [4] Menken developed an interest in music at an early age, taking piano and violin lessons. He began to compose at an early age. [5] At age 9, at the New York Federation of Music Clubs Junior Composers Contest, his original composition "Bouree" was rated Superior and Excellent by the judges. [6]

French Hospital (Manhattan) former hospital in Manhattan, United States

French Hospital of New York, at 330 West 30th Street was a hospital established in 1881 and closed in 1977. The last building it occupied was built in 1928 by the Société Française de Bienfaisance. It was in the Chelsea neighborhood. At its opening, it was operated by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Its owner, the French Benevolent Society, merged with the Polyclinic Medical School and Health Center in 1969. The French and Polytechnic Medical School and Health Center closed May 13, 1977 for a lack of funding.

He attended New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, New York, and graduated in 1967. Menken remembers: "I'd make up my own Bach fugues and Beethoven sonatas because I was bored with the piano and I didn't want to practice; so I'd go off on tangents". [7] He then enrolled at New York University. [8] He graduated with a degree in Musicology in 1971 from the university's Steinhardt School. Menken recalled: "First, I was pre-med. I thought I'd be a dentist like my dad. Finally, I got a degree in music, but I didn't care about musicology. It wasn't until I joined BMI Workshop ... under Lehman Engel, and walked into a room with other composers that I knew this was it." [7] Menken noted that "Before college, I was writing songs to further my dream of being the next Bob Dylan. A lot of guitar songs – I was composing on piano before that." [9] After college, he attended the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. [10]

New Rochelle High School

New Rochelle High School (NRHS) is a public high school in New Rochelle, New York, United States. It is part of the City School District of New Rochelle and is the City's sole public high school.

New York University private research university in New York, NY, United States

New York University (NYU) is a private research university based in New York City. Founded in 1831, NYU's historical campus is in Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan. NYU also has degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, and academic centers in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Washington, D.C.

Lehman Engel American conductor

A. Lehman Engel was an American composer and conductor of Broadway musicals, television and film.


Early career

After graduating, Menken's plan was to become either a rock star or a recording artist. His interest in writing musicals increased when he joined the Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Musical Theatre Workshop and was mentored by Lehman Engel. [10] From 1974 to 1978, he showcased various BMI workshop works, such as Midnight, Apartment House (lyric by Muriel Robinson), Conversations with Pierre, [10] Harry the Rat and Messiah on Mott Street (lyrics by David Zippel).[ citation needed ] According to Menken, during this period, he "worked as a ballet and modern dance accompanist, a musical director for club acts, a jingle writer, arranger, a songwriter for Sesame Street and a vocal coach. He performed his material at clubs like The Ballroom, Reno Sweeny and Tramps." [11] In 1976, John Wilson reported for The New York Times that members of Engel's BMI Workshop began performing as part of the "Broadway at the Ballroom" series: "The opening workshop program ... featured Maury Yeston and Alan Menken, both playing their piano accompaniment and singing songs they have written for potential musicals." [12] Wilson reviewed a performance at the Ballroom in 1977 where Menken accompanied a singer: "In the current cabaret world, a piano accompanist is no longer expected to merely play piano for a singer. More and more, pianists can be heard joining in vocally, harmonizing with the singer, creating a background of shouts and exclamations or even doing brief passages of solo singing." [13]

David Joel Zippel is an American musical theatre lyricist, director and producer.

A jingle is a short song or tune used in advertising and for other commercial uses. Jingles are a form of sound branding. A jingle contains one or more hooks and meaning that explicitly promote the product or service being advertised, usually through the use of one or more advertising slogans. Ad buyers use jingles in radio and television commercials; they can also be used in non-advertising contexts to establish or maintain a brand image. Many jingles are also created using snippets of popular songs, in which lyrics are modified to appropriately advertise the product or service.

Menken contributed material to revues like New York's Back in Town, Big Apple Country, The Present Tense (1977), [14] Real Life Funnies (Off-Broadway, 1981), [15] Diamonds (Off-Broadway, 1984), and Personals (Off-Off-Broadway, 1985). [16] His revue Patch, Patch, Patch ran at the West Bank Cafe in New York City in 1979 and featured Chip Zien. The New York Times reviewer, Mel Gussow, wrote: "The title song ... refers to a life's passage. According to Alan Menken ... after age 30 it is a downhill plunge." [17]

<i>Diamonds</i> (musical) 1980s musical revue about baseball

Diamonds is a musical revue about baseball. The book and music were created by many writers, composers, and lyricists. Among them were Ellen Fitzhugh, Roy Blount, Jr., and John Weidman (book); and Larry Grossman, Comden and Green, Howard Ashman, and Cy Coleman, music.

Jerome Herbert "Chip" Zien is an American actor. He is best known for playing the lead role of the Baker in the original Broadway production of Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim. He has appeared in all of the "Marvin Stories" musicals by William Finn: In Trousers, March of the Falsettos, Falsettoland and Falsettos. He played the role of Thénardier in the Broadway production of Les Misérables and Mark Rothenberg in the film United 93. He is also known for providing the voice of Howard in the film Howard the Duck.

Melvyn Hayes "Mel" Gussow was an American theater critic, movie critic, and author who wrote for The New York Times for 35 years.

Menken wrote several shows that were not produced, including Atina, Evil Queen of the Galaxy (1980), with lyrics by Steve Brown. He also wrote The Thorn with lyrics by Brown, which was commissioned by Divine in 1980. This was a parody of the film The Rose , but they could not raise the money to have it produced. [18] He collaborated with Howard Ashman in an uncompleted musical called Babe (c. 1981), [19] [20] with Tom Eyen in Kicks: The Showgirl Musical (1984), [21] and with David Rogers in The Dream in Royal Street (c. 1981), which was an adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream . [20] Menken contributed music for the film The Line (1980), directed by Robert J. Siegel. [22]

Breakthrough years

Menken finally achieved success as a composer when playwright Howard Ashman chose him and Engel to write the music for his musical adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater . The musical opened in 1979 at the WPA Theater [23] to excellent reviews [23] and modest box office. It transferred after several months to the Off-Broadway Entermedia Theater, where it ran for an additional six weeks. [24] [25] [26] [27]

Menken and Ashman wrote their next musical, Little Shop of Horrors , for a cast of only 9 performers, including a puppeteer. This musical is based on the 1960 black comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors . It opened at WPA Theater in 1982 to warm reviews. It moved to the Orpheum Theatre in the East Village, Manhattan, where it ran for five years. The musical set the box-office record for highest grossing Off-Broadway show of all time. It toured around the world, won theater awards and was adapted as a 1986 musical film starring Rick Moranis that earned Menken and Ashman their first Oscar nomination for the song "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space". [28] For his body of work in musical theatre, he was awarded the BMI Career Achievement Award in 1983.[ citation needed ]

In 1987, Menken and lyricist David Spencer's adaptation, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz , based on the 1959 novel of the same name, was produced in Philadelphia. After substantial re-writes, it was produced in 2015 in Montreal. [29] [30] In 1992, the WPA Theatre produced Menken's Weird Romance, also with lyrics by Spencer. [31] Menken's musical based on the Charles Dickens novella A Christmas Carol , with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and book by Mike Ockrent, debuted at Madison Square Garden's Paramount Theater in 1994. [32] The show proved successful and was an annual New York holiday event. [33]

Disney Renaissance and later films

On the strength of the success of Little Shop of Horrors, Menken and Ashman were hired by Walt Disney Studios to write the music for The Little Mermaid (1989). The challenge was to create an animated musical film of this Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale that could sit alongside the Disney films Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella . The Little Mermaid opened to critical and commercial success and signaled a new Disney era called the Disney Renaissance. [34] The film gave them their first Oscar win: Best Song for the song "Under the Sea". Menken also won the 1989 Oscar for Best Score. [8] [35]

Menken and Ashman's Beauty and the Beast garnered them three 1991 Oscar nominations for Best Song, winning for its title song. [35] Menken won another Oscar for Best Score. The two were working on Aladdin at the time of Ashman's death in 1991. Subsequently, Menken collaborated with Tim Rice to finish the songs for the film. The film won an Oscar in 1992 for Best Song: "A Whole New World". [35] Menken also won the Oscar for Best Score. Menken's live action musical film Newsies , with lyrics by Jack Feldman, was released in 1992. Three more animated musical films followed. Menken collaborated with Stephen Schwartz for Pocahontas , for which the two won two Oscars: Best Song and Best Musical or Comedy Score. In 1996, the same musical team created the songs, and Menken, the score, for The Hunchback of Notre Dame . In 1997, Menken reunited with his early collaborator, David Zippel, for his last film in the era, Hercules . [36]

Menken also wrote the music for the Michael J. Fox vehicle Life with Mikey (1993), [37] the holiday film Noel (2004) [38] and Mirror Mirror (2012). [39] His other film scores for Disney have included Home on the Range (2004), the Tim Allen remake of The Shaggy Dog (2006), Enchanted (2007) and Tangled (2010). In March 2017, Disney released a live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon, with the songs from the 1991 film and new material by Menken and Rice. [40] Menken collaborated with Benj Pasek and Justin Paul on writing new songs for the 2019 live-action version of Aladdin, directed by Guy Ritchie. [41] He is also working on new music for a live-action film adaptation of The Little Mermaid with longtime The Little Mermaid fan Lin-Manuel Miranda, [42] whom Menken knew since the former's childhood, as Miranda went to the same school as Menken's niece. [43] Menken will also once again be working with Stephen Schwartz to write new songs for Disenchanted , the sequel to Enchanted, [44] and for a remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame , which Menken will score. [45]

With eight Academy Awards (four each for best score and best song), only composer Alfred Newman (nine wins) and Walt Disney (22 wins) have received more Oscars than Menken. He is tied for third place with late costume designer Edith Head. He currently holds the record for the most wins for a living person.[ citation needed ] He was named a Disney Legend in 2001. [46]

Return to musical theatre

Menken debuted on Broadway with a musical theatre adaptation of Beauty and the Beast that opened in 1994 and ran for 13 years before closing in 2007. In 1997, he collaborated with lyricist Tim Rice on a musical, King David , based on the biblical character, which was performed in a concert version on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Little Shop of Horrors played on Broadway from 2003 to 2004. [47]

He next created the stage version of The Little Mermaid , which played on Broadway from 2008 to 2009 and for which he received a nomination for a Tony Award for Best Score. [47] Menken's stage adaptation of Sister Act premiered in London in 2009, and opened on Broadway in 2011. He was nominated for another Tony Award for Best Score. [48] Menken received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010. [49] In December 2010, he was a guest on the NPR quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! . [50]

In 2012, Menken won a Tony Award for Best Score for his musical adaptation of Newsies , which ran until 2014. He also wrote the music for Leap of Faith , which had a brief run on Broadway in 2012. His stage adaptation of Aladdin opened on Broadway in 2014, earning him another Tony nomination for Best Score. [47] In 2013, he was a guest at the annual Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, and was honored with the Junior Theater Festival Award. [51] He gave a concert there, including music that was cut from various productions, while talking about his creative process.[ citation needed ]

Menken's stage adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame played at La Jolla Playhouse, California, in 2014. [52] [53] The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz was revived in Montreal in 2015, [29] [30] and A Bronx Tale: The Musical , played at the Paper Mill Playhouse in 2016. [54]

Personal life

Menken met the ballet dancer Janis Roswick while working with the Downtown Ballet Company. They have been married since November 1972 and live in North Salem, New York. The couple have two daughters, Anna Menken and Nora Menken. [55]



YearTitle Director(s) Credited asRoleNotes
Composer Songwriter Score producer Actor
1972 A Dancer's Life William Richert NoNoNoYesHimself Documentary film
1986 Little Shop of Horrors Frank Oz NoYesNoNoSongs co-written with Howard Ashman
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Robert Zemeckis NoYesNoNoSongwriter on "This Only Happens in the Movies" for the unproduced prequel.
1989 Polly Debbie Allen NoYesNoNoTelevision film
The Little Mermaid Ron Clements
John Musker
YesYesNoNoSongs co-written with Howard Ashman
1990 Rocky V John G. Avildsen NoYesNoNoSongwriter on "Measure of a Man", co-written with Elton John & Tim Rice
1991 Beauty and the Beast Gary Trousdale
Kirk Wise
YesYesNoNoSongs co-written with Howard Ashman
1992 Newsies Kenny Ortega NoYesNoNoSongs co-written with Jack Feldman
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Christopher Columbus NoYesNoNoSongwriter on "My Christmas Tree", co-written with Jack Feldman
Aladdin Ron Clements
John Musker
YesYesNoNoSongs co-written with Howard Ashman & Tim Rice
1993 Life with Mikey James Lapine YesNoNoNo
1995 Pocahontas Mike Gabriel
Eric Goldberg
YesYesNoNoSongs co-written with Stephen Schwartz
1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Gary Trousdale
Kirk Wise
(singing voice)
(deleted scenes)
Songs co-written with Stephen Schwartz;
featured as vocalist on deleted songs "In a Place of Miracles" and "As Long as There's a Moon"
1997 Hercules Ron Clements
John Musker
YesYesNoNoSongs co-written with David Zippel
2004 Home on the Range Will Finn
John Sanford
YesYesNoNoSongs co-written with Glenn Slater
Noel Chazz Palminteri YesNoYesNo
A Christmas Carol Arthur Allan Seidelman YesNoNoNoTelevision film
2006 The Shaggy Dog Brian Robbins YesNoNoNo
2007 Enchanted Kevin Lima YesYesNoNoSongs co-written with Stephen Schwartz
2010 Tangled Byron Howard
Nathan Greno
YesYesYesNoSongs co-written with Glenn Slater
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Joe Johnston NoYesNoNoSongwriter on "Star Spangled Man", co-written with David Zippel
Jock the Hero Dog Duncan MacNeillieNoYesNoNo
2012 Mirror Mirror Tarsem Singh YesNoNoNo
2016 Sausage Party Greg Tiernan
Conrad Vernon
YesYesNoNoCo-composer with Christopher Lennertz;
composer for "The Great Beyond," song co-written with Glenn Slater, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Aria for a CowNikitha Mannam
Amos Sussigan
NoYesNoNo Short film;
Co-songwriter with Howard Ashman [56]
2017 Beauty and the Beast Bill Condon YesYesNoNoOriginal songs co-written with Howard Ashman;
new songs co-written with Tim Rice
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Rich Moore
Phil Johnston
NoYesNoNoComposer for "In This Place";
composer for "A Place Called Slaughter Race", song co-written with Phil Johnston & Tom MacDougall
Holmes & Watson Etan Cohen NoYesNoNoComposer for "Strange Sensation," song co-written with Glenn Slater
2019 Aladdin Guy Ritchie YesYesNoNoOriginal songs co-written with Howard Ashman & Tim Rice;
new songs co-written with Pasek & Paul
TBA The Little Mermaid Rob Marshall YesYesNoNoOriginal songs co-written with Howard Ashman;
new songs co-written with Lin-Manuel Miranda
TBA Disenchanted Adam Shankman YesYesNoNoSongs co-written with Stephen Schwartz
TBA The Hunchback of Notre Dame [57] TBAYesYesTBATBA




Upcoming projects


Alan Menken has earned eight Academy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, eleven Grammy Awards, one Tony Award, one Drama Desk Award and two Outer Critics Awards. He was awarded as a Disney Legend in 2002 and was the recipient of a Richard Kirk Career Achievement Award in 1998, a Freddie G. Award for Musical Excellence in 2013, and The Oscar Hammerstein Award in 2013, among others. The American Film Institute included the title song from the film Beauty and the Beast , in the AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs. Five other songs from his Disney films were nominated:

In 2006, AFI listed its 25 greatest movie musicals, with Beauty and the Beast (1991) ranked 22nd. It is the only animated musical film on the list. Four of his other film musicals were also nominated: [64]

Related Research Articles

<i>Beauty and the Beast</i> (1991 film) 1991 American animated musical fantasy romance film

Beauty and the Beast is a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 30th Disney animated feature film and the third released during the Disney Renaissance period, it is based on the French fairy tale of the same name by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, and ideas from the 1946 French film of the same name directed by Jean Cocteau. Beauty and the Beast focuses on the relationship between the Beast, a prince who is magically transformed into a monster and his servants into household objects as punishment for his arrogance, and Belle, a young woman whom he imprisons in his castle to become a prince again. To break the curse, Beast must learn to love Belle and earn her love in return before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose or else the Beast will remain a monster forever. The film also features the voices of Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, and Angela Lansbury.

<i>Beauty and the Beast</i> (musical) 1994 musical composed by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice

Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. Adapted from Walt Disney Pictures' Academy Award-winning 1991 animated musical film of the same name – which in turn had been based on the classic French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont – Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a cold-blooded prince who has been magically transformed into an unsightly creature as punishment for his selfish ways. To revert into his true human form, the Beast must first learn to love a bright, beautiful young woman whom he has imprisoned in his enchanted castle before it is too late.

Glenn Slater is an American lyricist who collaborates with Alan Menken and other musical theatre composers. He was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Original Score for the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid at the 62nd Tony Awards in 2008, his second Tony nomination for Sister Act at the 65th Tony Awards in 2011, and his third Tony nomination for School of Rock at the 70th Tony Awards in 2016.

Disney Theatrical Productions Subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company

Disney Theatrical Productions Limited (DTP), also known as Disney on Broadway, is the flagship stageplay and musical production company of the Disney Theatrical Group, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a major business unit of The Walt Disney Company.

"Be Our Guest" is a song written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken for Walt Disney Pictures' 30th animated feature film Beauty and the Beast (1991). Recorded by American actor Jerry Orbach and English actress Angela Lansbury as Lumière and Mrs. Potts, respectively, "Be Our Guest" is a large-scale Broadway-inspired musical number that takes place during the first half of Beauty and the Beast, performed by the castle's staff of enchanted objects in an elaborate attempt to welcome Belle. Menken initially intended for the melody of "Be Our Guest" to be temporary but was ultimately unable to compose a satisfying one with which to replace it. The song had originally been intended for Belle's father Maurice. However, "Be Our Guest" had to be entirely re-written as the story evolved in order to return its focus to Belle.

<i>The Little Mermaid</i> (musical) Musical based on the 1989 film of the same name

The Little Mermaid is a stage musical produced by Disney Theatrical, based on the animated 1989 Disney film of the same name and the classic story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen about a mermaid who dreams of the world above the sea and gives up her voice to find love. Its book is by Doug Wright, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, with additional lyrics by Glenn Slater. Its underwater setting and story about aquatic characters requires unusual technical designs and strategies to create gliding movements for the actors.

<i>Aladdin</i> (1992 soundtrack) 1992 soundtrack album by Various artists

Aladdin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack for the 1992 Disney animated feature film, Aladdin. The album was released by Walt Disney Records on CD and cassette tape on October 27, 1992. The soundtrack was intertwined with demos, work tapes and unreleased masters, as well as original scores in 1994 in a four-disc box set entitled The Music Behind the Magic: The Musical Artistry of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman & Tim Rice. A remastered reissue with altered lyrics and new artwork was released in 2001. A special edition reissue featuring two previously released demos and new artwork was released in 2004.

"Part of Your World" is a song written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken for Disney's animated feature film The Little Mermaid (1989). Performed by American actress and singer Jodi Benson in the titular role as Ariel, a mermaid princess, "Part of Your World" is a power ballad in which the main character expresses her strong desire to become human; its lyrics use placeholder names in lieu of several human-related terms that would be unfamiliar to a mermaid. The film's theme song, "Part of Your World" is reprised by Ariel after she rescues Eric, a human prince with whom she has fallen in love, from drowning.

Pasek and Paul American songwriting duo

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, known together as Pasek and Paul, are an American songwriting duo and composing team for musical theater, films, and television. Their works include A Christmas Story, Dogfight, Edges, Dear Evan Hansen, and James and the Giant Peach. Their original songs have been featured on NBC's Smash and in the films La La Land, for which they won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song "City of Stars", and The Greatest Showman. Their work on original musical Dear Evan Hansen has received widespread critical acclaim and earned them the Tony Award for Best Original Score.

<i>Beauty and the Beast</i> (1991 soundtrack) 1991 soundtrack album by Various Artists

Beauty and the Beast: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the official soundtrack album to the 1991 Disney animated feature film, Beauty and the Beast. Originally released on October 24, 1991, by Walt Disney Records, the album's first half – tracks 2 to 9 – generally contains the film's musical numbers, all of which were written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman, while its latter half – tracks 10 to 14 – features its musical score, composed solely by Menken. While the majority of the album's content remains within the musical theatre genre, its songs have also been influenced by French, classical, pop and Broadway music. Credited to Various Artists, Beauty and the Beast: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features performances by the film's main cast – Paige O'Hara, Richard White, Jesse Corti, Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury and Robby Benson – in order of appearance. Additionally, the album features recording artists Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson, who perform a pop rendition of the film's title and theme song, "Beauty and the Beast", which simultaneously serves as the soundtrack's only single.

Disney Renaissance Period of highly successful animated feature films released by Disney Animation Studios

The Disney Renaissance refers to the decade from 1989 to 1999 during which Walt Disney Animation Studios returned to producing critically and commercially successful animated films that were mostly based on well-known stories, much like the studio did during the era of Walt Disney during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. The resurgence allowed Disney's animated films to become powerhouse successes at the domestic and foreign box office; making much more profit than most of the other Disney films of the past eras.

The Music Behind the Magic: The Musical Artistry of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman & Tim Rice is a four-disc box set highlighting the creative evolution behind the music of Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Released on November 22, 1994 on Walt Disney Records, the set includes work tape recordings, demos, previously released final recordings, and unreleased master recordings of songs and score cues.

Daniel Troob is an American arranger and orchestrator best known for his contributions to the Disney blockbusters of the 1990s & 2000s. He won Drama Desk awards for Big River (1985) and Rodgers & Hammersteins' "Cinderella" (2013).

"Belle" is a song written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman for Walt Disney Pictures' 30th animated feature film Beauty and the Beast (1991). Originally recorded by American actress and singer Paige O'Hara and American actor Richard White, "Belle", a mid-tempo French and classical music-inspired song, incorporates both Broadway and musical theatre elements. The film's first song and opening number, "Belle" appears during Beauty and the Beast as a large scale operetta-style production number that introduces the film's heroine Belle, considered a book-loving nonconformist by the townspeople of the village, who has grown weary of the provincial life in which she is supposed to live, and Gaston, the film's narcissistic villain who wishes to desire her hand in marriage despite Belle's rejections.

<i>Aladdin</i> (2011 musical) Musical

Aladdin is a Broadway musical based on the 1992 Disney animated film of the same name with a book by Chad Beguelin, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Beguelin. It resurrects three songs written by Menken and Ashman for the film but not used, and adds four songs written by Menken and Beguelin.

"Topsy Turvy" is a song from Disney's 1996 animated feature The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The song is 5:36 minutes long and is performed by Clopin.

Howard Sings Ashman is a two-disc album compiled by PS Classics as part of their Songwriter Series. The album features Howard Ashman singing selections from his musicals, including God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1979), Little Shop of Horrors (1982), Smile (1986), The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992).


  1. 1 2 "Alan Menken Discography at Discogs" . Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  2. "Timeline. Official Site",, accessed February 19, 2016
  3. "Alan Menken Biography (1949–)",, accessed August 27, 2011
  4. "He's a Guest: Composer Alan Menken Shares Thoughts at BMI Master Class - Playbill". Playbill.
  5. "Alan Menken: Year Inducted 2001", Disney Legends,, accessed February 19, 2016
  6. ""Bouree" composition and comments from contest judges",
  7. 1 2 Klein, Alvin. "Theater: Composer Finds His Niche in Life", The New York Times , July 27, 1986, accessed February 19, 2016
  8. 1 2 "Alan Menken biography", The New York Times, accessed February 19, 2016
  9. "10 Questions With Alan and Anna Rose Menken",, May 22, 2013, accessed February 19, 2016
  10. 1 2 3 Jones, Kenneth. "He's a Guest: Composer Alan Menken Shares Thoughts at BMI Master Class", Playbill, December 18, 1998
  11. "Biography, 1972-1980",, accessed February 19, 2016
  12. Wilson, John S. "Someday, Maybe on Broadway, But for Now They Are in SoHo", The New York Times, October 13, 1976, p. 33
  13. Wilson, John S. "Menken and Ellen March Play", The New York Times, November 3, 1977, p. 71
  14. Dietz, Dan. "Present Tense", Off Broadway Musicals, 1910-2007: Casts, Credits, Songs, Critical Reception, McFarland, 2010, ISBN   0786457317, p. 362
  15. Rich, Frank. "Revue. Real Life Funnies", The New York Times, February 12, 1981, accessed February 19, 2016
  16. Rich, Frank. "Stage. 'Personal' Musical Comedy", The New York Times, November 25, 1985, accessed February 19, 2016
  17. Gussow, Mel. "Cabaret: Patch, a Revue With Cheer for Over 30's: Life Passes", The New York Times, August 16, 1979, p. C14
  18. Jay, Bernard. "Briefly Not the Bitch", Not Simply Divine, Simon and Schuster (1994), p. 87, ISBN   0671884670
  19. Jones, Kenneth. ""Howard Sings Ashman" CDs Will Feature Demos From Smile, Babe, Mermaid and More", Playbill, October 10, 2008, accessed February 20, 2016
  20. 1 2 Suskin, Steven. "Alan Menken", Show Tunes: The Songs, Shows, and Careers of Broadways Major Composers, Oxford University Press (2010), pp. 356–359, ISBN   019974209X
  21. Tepper, Jennifer. "Only Ran a Minute! 10 Forgotten Musicals Due For a Revival" Archived 2015-09-04 at the Wayback Machine , Playbill, May 2, 2015, accessed February 19, 2016
  22. "The Line Details", The New York Times, accessed February 20, 2016
  23. 1 2 Gussow, Mel. "Stage: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater: In Vonnegut Land", The New York Times , May 21, 1979, p. C14
  24. Corry, John. "Broadway: The Phoenix's place in the city's theatrical life", The New York Times, August 17, 1979, p. C2
  25. Jones, Kenneth. "Menken & Ashman's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater Gets NYC Concert March 7", Playbill, March 6, 2003, accessed February 18, 2016
  26. "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater Listing",, accessed February 18, 2016
  27. Vonnegut, Kurt. "Script" Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Samuel French, Inc., 1980, ISBN   0573681252, pp. 3-4
  28. "Menken Biography" Archived 2017-01-29 at the Wayback Machine ,, accessed February 22, 2016
  29. 1 2 Viagas, Robert. "Alan Menken-David Spencer Musical Duddy Kravitz Will Get Another Chance in Montreal", Playbill, March 28, 2014
  30. 1 2 "Cast Set for World Premiere of Alan Menken Musical Duddy Kravitz in Montreal",, March 10, 2015
  31. 1 2 Gussow, Mel. "Review/Theater; Nearby Science Fiction In a Musical of 2 Parts", The New York Times, June 23, 1992
  32. Richards, David. "Theater Review. A Christmas Carol; A Famous Miser, Tiny Tim and a Tap-Dancing Chorus", The New York Times, December 2, 1994, accessed February 18, 2016
  33. "Show History",, accessed February 18, 2016
  34. "1989 Yearly Box Office for G-Rated Movies". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database . Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  35. 1 2 3 "Menken Academy Awards" Archived 2008-07-23 at the Wayback Machine ,, accessed February 19, 2016
  36. Hercules,, accessed February 19, 2016
  37. Rainer, Peter. "A Fox Steals the Show in Too-Cute Life", Los Angeles Times , June 4, 1993, accessed February 18, 2016
  38. Demonte, Adena. Noel, Film Monthly, December 1, 2004, accessed February 18, 2016
  39. Phares, Heather. "Alan Menken: Mirror Mirror (Soundtrack)", AllMusic, accessed February 18, 2016
  40. McNary, Dave (March 16, 2015). "Disney's Live-Action Beauty and the Beast Set for March 17, 2017". Variety. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  41. "Alan Menken Talks Live-Action Aladdin, Little Mermaid, and Young Lin-Manuel Miranda". Make It Better - Family, Food, Finances & Philanthropy. 2019-01-07. Retrieved 2019-03-15.
  42. "VIDEO: Pasek & Paul to Team with Menken on Live-Action ALADDIN; Miranda Confirmed for LITTLE MERMAID". Broadway World.
  43. Lee, Ashley (March 14, 2017). "'Beauty and the Beast' Composer Alan Menken on Rediscovering Lost Lyrics and Why He's "Shutting Up" About That Gay Character". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 15, 2017.
  44. Christina Radish (March 7, 2018). "Adam Shankman on 'Step Up: High Water' and The Status of the 'Enchanted' Sequel". Collider . Retrieved April 30, 2018. As planned right now, there's more singing and dancing than there was in the first one, and it's all original music, with Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz coming back to do it.
  45. April May, Rebecca (May 20, 2019). "Disney legend Alan Menken talks about updating Aladdin and the movie he thinks won't get remade". Digital Spy . Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  46. Disney Legends – Alan Menken, Disney Legends,, accessed February 19, 2016
  47. 1 2 3 "Alan Menken", Internet Broadway Database, accessed February 17, 2016
  48. "2011 Tony Nominations Announced!", May 3, 2011
  49. Gans, Andrew. "Alan Menken to Be Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame" Archived 2010-12-12 at the Wayback Machine , Playbill, November 8, 2010
  50. "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! for December 18, 2010",, accessed February 18, 2016
  51. Hetrick, Adam. "2013 Junior Theater Festival to Feature Newsies Cast, Alan Menken, Thomas Schumacher, Jeff Calhoun and More", Playbill, January 7, 2013
  52. BWW News Desk (September 4, 2014). "Patrick Page, Michael Arden, Ciara Renee & More to Lead The Hunchback of Notre Dame at La Jolla Playhouse!".
  53. "Paper Mill Season Will Feature Can-Can, Hunchback, Ever After, Vanya and Sonia and More". February 26, 2014. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  54. The Verdict: Critics Review 'Bronx Tale: The Musical'", Playbill, February 17, 2016
  55. "Westchester Fall Arts Preview: Theater", Retrieved 2014-10-02.
  57. Fleming Jr., Mike (January 16, 2019). "Disney Rings 'Hunchback' Bell: David Henry Hwang To Script Live Action Musical, Alan Menken/Stephen Schwartz Writing Music". Deadline. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  58. "Tangled: Before Ever After Adds More Voice Cast". 8 March 2016.
  59. Gans, Andrew. "De Niro and Zaks Pick Jason Gotay, Nick Cordero, Richard H. Blake to Star in 'Bronx Tale: The Musical'", Playbill, December 18, 2015
  60. Hetrick, Adam. "Alan Menken Writing Corinna, Corinna Musical for Audra McDonald", Playbill, December 11, 2014
  61. Reidel, Michael (July 19, 2016). "This forgotten musical is about to make a big comeback". The New York Post.
  62. Pimentel, Joseph (July 10, 2017). "Alan Menken's life story in musicals to highlight D23 Expo in Anaheim". Orange County Register. Retrieved 4 January 2018. I have a very strong belief like "Newsies," "Hercules" is going to have a moment that will surprise people. Actually, I'm working on a stage version of "Hercules."
  64. "AFI's GREATEST MOVIE MUSICALS" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-02-23.

Further reading