|Birth name||Alan Irwin Menken|
July 22, 1949 |
New York, NY, U.S.
|Genres||Pop, musical theatre, operatic pop, film score|
|Occupations||Composer, songwriter, pianist, record producer|
|Instruments||Piano, keyboard, Guitar, Violin|
|Labels||Disneyland, Walt Disney Records, Warner Bros.|
|Associated acts||Howard Ashman, Glenn Slater, Stephen Schwartz, Lisbeth Scott, Gonzaguinha, Elton John, Scorpions, Tim Rice, Judy Rothman, David Zippel|
Alan Irwin Menken (born July 22, 1949) is an American musical theatre and film composer and pianist.
Menken is best known for his scores for films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. His scores for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Pocahontas have each won him two Academy Awards. He also composed the scores for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Home on the Range, The Shaggy Dog, Enchanted, and most recently, Tangled. Menken has collaborated on several occasions with lyricists including Howard Ashman, Tim Rice, Glenn Slater, Judy Rothman, and Stephen Schwartz. With eight Academy Award wins (four each for Best Original Score and Best Original Song), Menken is the second most Oscarised winner in a music category after Alfred Newman, who has nine Oscars.
Life and career
Menken was born in New York, NY to a Jewish family, the son of Judith and Norman Menken, a dentist. He developed an interest in music at an early age, studying piano and violin. He went to New Rochelle High School in New Rochelle, New York. He attended college as a pre-med student, but later changed his focus to music at New York University's Steinhardt School. After college, he attended the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. He performed frequently in local clubs and worked as a composer of jingles and songs and as an accompanist. In the late 1970s, Menken wrote several shows that were successfully showcased, but were not produced. Menken's first major professional work was with Ashman for the Off-Broadway 1979 WPA Theatre production of the play God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, an adaptation of a Kurt Vonnegut novel. This was well received, but three years later, he achieved greater success with the 1982 Off-Broadway musical Little Shop of Horrors, again with Ashman, for which he earned a Drama Desk Award nomination. Little Shop was adapted for a successful motion picture and later received a Broadway run.
In 1983, Menken received the BMI Career Achievement Award for his body of work for musical theater, including Little Shop of Horrors, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Real Life Funnies, Atina: Evil Queen of the Galaxy (produced in workshop as Battle of the Giants), Patch, Patch, Patch, and contributions to numerous revues including Personals and Diamonds. In 1987, a musical adaptation of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, with lyrics by David Spencer, was produced in Philadelphia. In 1992, the WPA Theatre produced Menken's Weird Romance, also with lyrics also by Spencer. Menken's 1994 musical based on the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and book by Mike Ockrent, debuted at Madison Square Garden's Paramount Theater. The show proved successful and is becoming an annual New York holiday event. Menken received both Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations for the music to the stage musical version of Beauty and the Beast which opened on Broadway in 1994.
Menken is best known, however, for his work over the past two decades with Walt Disney Pictures scoring numerous films, including Disney animated classics The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Home on the Range, and most recently, Disney's 2010 animated film Tangled. He also wrote music for the Disney live-action films Newsies (1992) and Enchanted (2007). Menken has received dual Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song on four of these projects. With eight Academy Award wins (four each for Best Original Score and Best Original Song), only composer Alfred Newman (nine wins) and Walt Disney (twenty two wins) have received more Oscars than Menken. He is tied in third place with late costume designer Edith Head. He currently holds the record for the most wins for a living person. He was named a Disney Legend in 2001.
A musical version of The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway in January 2008 and in Europe/Holland in June 2012. Menken's Sister Act the Musical was produced in London, 2009, and opened on Broadway in Spring 2011. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Score for his work.
In January 2013, he was a special guest at the annual Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta, GA. He gave a special concert for attendees, including a special medley and several songs that were cut from various productions, while talking about his creative process. While there, he was also honered with the Freddie G. Award for Musical Acheivement. Upon receiving this award, he was serenaded with "Be our Guest" by a select group of performers.
Menken has been married to Janis Roswick-Menken since 1972, and the couple have two daughters.
Score and songs
- The Little Mermaid 1989 (double Oscar winner)
- Beauty and the Beast 1991 (double Oscar winner)
- Newsies 1992
- Aladdin 1992 (double Oscar winner)
- Life with Mikey 1993
- Pocahontas 1995 (double Oscar winner)
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1996 (Oscar nominee)
- Hercules 1997 (Oscar nominee)
- Pippi Longstocking 1997
- Home on the Range 2004
- Noel 2004
- The Shaggy Dog 2006
- Enchanted 2007 (Oscar nominee)
- Tangled 2010 (Oscar nominee) (Grammy winner)
- Mirror Mirror 2012
- Little Shop of Horrors (complete soundtrack, score by Miles Goodman) 1986 (Oscar nominee)
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit (the song "This Only Happens in the Movies", score by Alan Silvestri) 1988 (unproduced prequel)
- Polly (the song "By your side", score by Joel McNeely) 1989
- Rocky V (the song "The Measure of a Man", score by Bill Conti) 1990
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (the song "My Christmas Tree", score by John Williams) 1992
- Captain America: The First Avenger (the song "Star Spangled Man", score by Alan Silvestri) 2011
- Jock of the Bushveld (two versions of the song "Howling at the Moon", score by Klaus Badelt and Ian Honeyman) 2012
- Sesame Street (the songs "Grouchelot", "It's Gonna Get Dirty Again," "Snuffle Friends," "Martian Family (Yip Yip Song)," and "Todos un Pueblo") 1989-1990
- Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue (supervising composer, the song "Wonderful Ways to Say No") 1990
- A Christmas Carol 2004
- The Neighbors (2012 TV series)- S01E20 (3 Broadway-style songs) 2013
- God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater WPA Theatre May 1979 and Entermedia Theater October 1979
- Little Shop of Horrors Off Broadway 1982 and Broadway revival 2003
- Weird Romance 1992 Off Broadway and 2007 revival of two 1-act musicals Girl who was Plugged in and Her Pilgrim Soul
- Aladdin, Jr. 1992 a one-act, seven-scene theatre musical adapted from the animated Disney film Aladdin.
- Beauty and the Beast Broadway 1994 (Tony nominee)
- A Christmas Carol Perennial holiday run (10 years) The Theatre at Madison Square Garden 1994-2003
- King David 1997
- Der Glöckner von Notre Dame German musical 1999
- The Little Mermaid Broadway 2008/ Europe 2012 (Tony nominee)
- Sister Act the Musical West End 2009, Broadway 2011 (Tony nominee)
- Leap of Faith 2010 Los Angeles, Broadway 2012
- Newsies stage musical Papermill Playhouse 2011, Broadway 2012 (Tony winner)
- Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage - Theatrical show at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
- Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular - Theatrical show at Disney California Adventure Park
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Theatrical show at Disney's MGM Studios, Walt Disney World
- The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure - Attraction at Disney California Adventure Park
- Sindbad's Storybook Voyage - Attraction at Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo Disney Resort
- Disney has announced that Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame, the Berlin stage musical adaptation of Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame will possibly be coming to the Broadway stage in the next couple of years. Although the extended music and new songs with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz were completed for the 1999 premiere in Germany, the show is being fine tuned for American audiences.
- A Broadway musical version of Disney's Aladdin, with a book by Chad Beguelin. The songs will be the ones featured in the movie, along with cut songs written by both Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. Aladdin: The New Stage Musical ran at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington from July 7–31, 2011."
- Menken along with Weird Romance collaborator David Spencer wrote the musical The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, which is currently in Canada.
Academy Award nominations and wins
- Won, Best Original Score - Beauty and the Beast
- Won, Best Original Song (with Howard Ashman) - Beauty and the Beast, from Beauty and the Beast
- Nominated, Best Original Song (with Howard Ashman) - "Belle", from Beauty and the Beast
- Nominated, Best Original Song (with Howard Ashman) - "Be Our Guest", from Beauty and the Beast
Golden Globe nominations and wins
Menken has eleven Grammy awards, including Song of the Year for 1993.
- 1994 NOMINEE Tony Award for Best Original Score - Beauty and the Beast
- 2008 NOMINEE Tony Award for Best Original Score - The Little Mermaid
- 2011 NOMINEE Tony Award for Best Original Score - Sister Act
- 2012 WINNER Tony Award for Best Original Score - Newsies
Drama Desk Awards
- 1983 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music - Little Shop of Horrors [nominee]
- 1994 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music - Beauty and the Beast [nominee]
- 2011 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music - Sister Act [nominee]
- 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music - Newsies [winner]
- 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music- Leap of Faith [nominee]
- 1992 Golden Raspberry Awards - Newsies [winner]
- 2001 Disney Legends
- 2013 Freddie G. Award for Musical Excellence
- Disney Biography of Menken
- Menken, Alan. Britannica Book of the Year, 1997. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- Interview with Alan Menken, theartsdesk.com. Posted May 16, 2010.
- "Alan Menken – IMDb". Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- "Alan Menken Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 13 August 2012.
- "Alan Menken Biography (1949-)" FilmReference.com, accessed August 27, 2011
- "2011 Tony Nominations Announced!" BroadwayWorld.com, May 3, 2011
- Gans, Andrew."Alan Menken to Be Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame" Playbill.com, November 8, 2010
- "BWW EXCLUSIVE: Alan Menken Talks 'Tangled', 'Sister Act', 'Leap Of Faith', 'Hunchback', 'Aladdin' & More" BroadwayWorld.com, November 15, 2010
- Junior Theatre Festival 2013
- Hetrick, Adam. "Disney's Aladdin Will Come to Life on Stage at Seattle's 5th Avenue; Casey Nicholaw Will Direct" Playbill.com, January 14, 2011
- Internet Broadway database Listing
- Internet Off-Broadway database Listing
- MusicalTalk interview with Alan Menken
- Alan Menken at the Internet Movie Database
- SoundtrackNet entry for Alan Menken
- The Whole New World of Alan Menken
- Alan Menken: "BEAUTY AND THE BEAST captures the magic of Disney animations and brings it to the stage" Alan Menken in Barcelona's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
- Comprehensive Q&A with Alan Menken on theartsdesk.com (May 16, 2010)