Howard Ashman

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Howard Ashman was pivotal in the renaissance of Disney animated musicals and in the development of The Little Mermaid (Producer and Lyrics), Beauty and the Beast (Executive Producer and Lyrics) and Aladdin (Lyrics), all with music by Alan Menken.
Ashman’s first love was theater and he was the driving force behind the development of the off-Broadway hit musical, Little Shop of Horrors, which he directed and for which he wrote the book and lyrics. It was the second show he wrote with composer Alan Menken.
In 1986, Ashman directed the musical, Smile, for which he also wrote the book and lyrics. Music was written by Marvin Hamlisch. Although Smile was not a critical success, it is generally acknowledged by aficionados as a lost gem of American Musical Theater.
Film critic Janet Maslin wrote of Howard Ashman,“His death from AIDS in March at age 40 cut short a brilliant career, but the jubilant energy of his work will long live on."
Ashman’s contributions to the revival of classic Disney animated musicals have been acknowledged by many but were perhaps best expressed by his colleagues, who dedicated the animated film Beauty and the Beast to his memory: “To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul. He will be forever missed.”
For more information, please visit HowardAshman.com.

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