Alan Menken has composed some of the most beloved songs and musical scores of our time. His work has introduced an entire generation to the world of musicals; both stage and screen.
Born on July 22nd, 1949, Alan grew up as a child of the 60’s, dreaming of a career as a singer-songwriter, while assuming he’d become a dentist like most of the other men in his family. While enjoying a spectacularly unsuccessful stint as a pre-med student at NYU, he was introduced to the BMI Musical Theater Workshop, run by the great conductor, Lehman Engel. There, Alan found his calling as a musical theater composer-lyricist.
Along with performing on the New York cabaret circuit and writing and producing jingles and Sesame Street songs, some of the musicals and revues that Menken wrote songs for in this period are Atina: Evil Queen of the Galaxy, Real Life Funnies, Patch Patch Patch, Personals, Diamonds, Kicks and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.
His first collaboration with Howard Ashman, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, opened in 1979 to excellent reviews and modest box office. In 1982, their next musical, Little Shop of Horrors, became the highest grossing Off-Broadway show ever, toured the world, won countless theater awards and resulted in a movie musical that earned Menken his first Oscar nomination for “Mean Green Mother from Outer Space.”
On the strength of the success of Little Shop, Alan and Howard were hired to write the songs for the Disney animated feature, The Little Mermaid, for which Alan also wrote the score. The result was an Academy Award for the song Under the Sea,” a nomination for “Kiss the Girl,”…