Music / Alan Menken

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Disney's musical Renaissance man.

Alan Menken (b 22 July 1949) is a composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist for theater and film. Since 1989, he has been the go-to guy for Disney musicals, having composed the songs and scores for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Tangled. This has earned him eighteen Academy Award nominations, eight of which he won—more Oscars than any other living individual.

Menken first made a name for himself as a composer in 1982 with the off-broadway musical Little Shop of Horrors, for which he co-wrote the songs with lyricist/librettist Howard Ashman. The musical's producer David Geffen, recommended them to then-Disney Studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg (fellow ...Horrors alumnus Peter Schneider was Katzenberg's partner) to compose the songs for the studio's adaptation of The Little Mermaid, beginning what would be a long and fruitful partnership between Menken and the studio.

Following Howard Ashman's death from AIDS in 1991 during the production of Beauty and the Beast, Menken has written with an ever-rotating cast of lyricists, including Tim Rice (Aladdin, the Screen To Stage Adaptations of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast (2017)), Jack Feldman (Newsies and its Screen-to-Stage Adaptation), Stephen Schwartz (Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Enchanted, the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of Hunchback), David Zippel (Hercules, Captain America: The First Avenger), Glenn Slater (Home on the Range, Tangled, the Screen To Stage Adaptations of The Little Mermaid and Sister Act, Galavant), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (the Live-Action Adaptation of The Little Mermaid)

He had been set to compose for the film that would eventually become Frozen, until he was ultimately replaced with Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Christophe Beck. Afterwards, he was going to provide music for a DreamWorks Animation movie titled Lidsville, but after former co-worker Katzenberg's studio wound up in a rut and restructured their business strategy and film lineup, word on Lidsville has gone silent.

In 2016, he returned to his roots in tongue-in-cheek raunchy humor by co-writing the score (with Christopher Lennertz) and composing the opening song "The Great Beyond" for the R-rated animated comedy Sausage Party.

If you want some samples of Alan Menken music, go to AwesomeMusic.Disney.
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