Exploring the Little Mermaid: Howard Ashman & Alan Menken

Last week we discussed the artistry of Glen Keane, today on our journey to The Little Mermaid we’re spotlighting composer and lyricists Alan Menken and Howard Ashman.

These two gentlemen not only gave Ariel her voice and are responsible for so many of our favourite childhood songs, but they also revolutionised how music was used in Disney animation.

Aly takes us through the early biographies of the two men, and how they came together in New York City to write some Off-Broadway Musicals…one of which is a childhood favourite of Aly’s : Little Shop of Horrors.


She then tells us about their work with Disney and just how much they contributed together to The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.


Unfortunately, the story doesn’t have the happiest ending. For those who don’t know, while Menken is still working with Disney to this day, Ashman passed away before Beauty and the Beast was completed due to AIDS.


A lot of the information Aly got today was based on articles quoting the movie “Howard”, which premiered in 2018 at the Tribeca Film Festival.

So join us as we discuss the huge influence these two men had on animated musicals, and Disney’s early renaissance in particular.

Here are some of the videos that Aly collected quotes and information from!

Our Sources:


Wikipedia Article on Howard Ashman
Wikipedia Article on Alan Menken

Howard Movie Official Site

Playbill.com Article on Little Shop of Horrors

TheDailyBeast.com Article on Howard Ashman
NyPost.com Article on Howard Ashman
VanityFair.com Article on Howard Documentary
Gizmodo.com Article on Howard Ashman

NYTimes.com Article on Alan Menken
ChicagoTribune.com Article on Alen Menken
Medium.com Article on Alan Menken and Disney Renaissance