Bubbles, boats and Broadway
I saw the most amazing production of THE LITTLE MERMAID last weekend. It was so imaginative – the director used puppets to populate the sea that is part of the show. There were lion fish, blow fish, sharks, eels, starfish, coral, stingrays and even a full school of fish! As I listened to the gorgeous score, I was reminded about the amazing composing team – Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
This composing team – Menken wrote the music and Ashman wrote the lyrics – got their first big hit when LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS ran off-Broadway to sold-out houses. I remember going to see the show, in a theatre that was kind of run down. I remember sitting toward the back of the theatre and a leak from the ceiling was running down the wall next to me. I also recall how blown away I was by the wonderful music (and thrilling story of a man-eating plant!)
This composing team went on to write THE LITTLE MERMAID and then BEAUTY AND THE BEAST for Disney….and well….the rest is history. Later both shows came to Broadway, and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ran on Broadway for more than five years.
Here are some of my favorite Menken/Ashman songs:
“Somewhere that’s Green” – This is Audrey’s ‘I want’ song. She sings about the life she dreams about – listen to Ashman’s extremely clever and specific lyrics “I’m his December Bride, he’s Father he knows best”. In the video HERE you see the original Ellen Greene in a revival 30 years after she originated the role. Oh….she is also wearing the SAME dress – size “0” probably, from the original production.
“Under the sea” won an Academy Award for Best Song. It is the delightful song in LITTLE MERMAID that introduces us to the world of the show. In the production I just saw, there were bubbles shooting out over the audience throughout the song.
“Growing Boy” from the musical BABE. This musical was never finished. But this song from the show is great. Enjoy it HERE.
What are your favorite songs from this composing team?