Tale as old as time, tune as old as song. Bittersweet and strange…

Musical theatre partnerships: Howard Ashman and Alan Menken  (active 1979-1991)

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Off-Broadway 1979
Little Shop of Horrors, Off-Broadway 1982 (Broadway 2003)
The Little Mermaid, 1989 (Broadway 2008)
Beauty and the Beast, 1991 (Broadway 1994)
Aladdin, 1992 (Broadway 2013) - only three of their songs appeared in the film

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s partnership produced some of musical theatre and film’s most beloved, celebrated, and most performed pieces in the entire musical theatre repertoire. True masters of their craft, their work is noted for the versatility of its music (by Menken), and the cleverness and poetic beauty of its lyrics (by Ashman). In particular, Ashman’s lyrics and overall creative vision have hugely influenced the world of musical theatre and the medium of musical storytelling itself. Little Shop is many young artist’s first production, leaving its psychological mark and influencing how we process and perceive theatrical art. A true masterpiece of satire, it combines the biting wit of sarcasm with genuinely heartfelt dreams of tangible characters in a heightened reality, vividly expressing a unique humour and outlook on life. Through their work with Disney, Ashman and Menken began what would later be known as the Disney Renaissance. More importantly, however, the innocence and beauty of their creations and characters, richly layered with cleverly disguised intricate language and complex musicality, has captured the imagination of children and adults alike. The impact on the individuals who treasure their works can not be measured, nor can their impact on the creative tapestry of musical storytelling. Their partnership was a true marriage of vision and talent, instantly creating some of the most wonderful scores that have ever graced the stage and screen. Such greatnesses that were achieved by them are seldom witnessed; they were but a fleeting moment of vivid clarity and genius amongst a world of chaos and grey. The stars aligned with Ashman and Menken - no, they were a total eclipse of the sun.

Awards honouring the achievements of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken:

for Little Shop of Horrors; New York Drama Critics Award for Best Musical, Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics, Villager Theater Awards for Outstanding Production, Villager Theater Award for Outstanding Acting, Villager Theater Award for Outstanding Scenery, Villager Theater Award for Outstanding Puppet Design, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding lyrics, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music - Nominated, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical - Nominated (Howard Ashman), Evening Standard Award for Best Musical, Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay - Nominated, Academy Award for Best Original Song - Nominated (Mean Green Mother From Outer Space)

for The Little Mermaid; Golden Globe for Best Original Song (Under the Sea), Golden Globe for Best Original Score, Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical - Nominated, Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media (Under the Sea), Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media - Nominated (Kiss The Girl), Grammy Award for Best Album Written For Children, Academy Award for Best Original Song (Under the Sea), Academy Award for Best Original Song - Nominated (Kiss The Girl), TONY Award for Best Original Score - Nominated

for Beauty and the Beast; Grammy Award for Song of the Year - Nominated (Beauty and the Beast), Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media (Beauty and the Beast), Grammy Award for Best Album for Children, Golden Globe for Best Original Song (Beauty and the Beast), Golden Globe for Best Original Song (Beauty and the Beast), Golden Globe for Best Original Song - Nominated (Be Our Guest), Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy, BAFTA for Best Film Music - Nominated, Academy Award for Best Original Song (Beauty and the Beast), Academy Award for Best Original Song - Nominated (Belle’s Song), Academy Award for Best Song - Nominated (Be Our Guest), Academy Award for Best Original Score, Academy Award for Best Picture - Nominated, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics - Nominated, TONY Award for Best Original Score - Nominated, Olivier Award for Best New Musical

for Aladdin; Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media - Nominated (Friend Like Me), Golden Globe for Best Original Song - Nominated (Friend Like Me), Academy Award for Best Original Song - Nominated (Friend Like Me), Academy Award for Best Original Score

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