Alan Menken

Alan Menken


7/22/1949, New Rochelle, New York, USA

Birth Name

Alan Irwin Menken


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Alan Menken is a famous musical composer. He's most famous for his work in Disney films.


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Alan was featured in the film Finding Kraftland. The film was written by his agent, Richard Kraft.

    • Alan's wife, Janis, is a former ballet dancer.

    • In 1982, Alan and Ashman worked together to produce an off-Broadway musical of Little Shop of Horrors. Alan earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for his work. Little Shop later became a motion picture and a Broadway play.

    • Alan's first major professional work was with Ashman for the Off-Broadway 1979 WPA Theatre production of the play God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. It was an adaptation of a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

    • In the late 1970s, Alan wrote several shows that were successfully showcased, but were never produced.

    • Fresh out of college, Alan performed frequently in local clubs and worked as a composer or accampanist of jingles and songs.

    • Alan attended high school at Millbrook Prep School in Millbrook, New York.

    • Alan is the son of Judith and Norman Menken, a dentist.

    • In June of 2006, Alan worked on stage musical productions of The Little Mermaid, Leap of Faith, and Sister Act.

    • In 2003, Alan worked with Alice Cooper on a stage project/recording: Alice Cooper's Deadly Seven.

    • Alan's song, "Friend Like Me," from Aladdin, was used in season 8 of Dancing with the Stars.

    • Alan Menken is Jewish.

    • Alan Menken has worked with Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz, and Howard Ashman; all well-known lyricists.

    • Along with winning 2 Tony Awards and 8 Academy Awards, Alan has also received 10 Grammys (including Song of the Year), 7 Golden Globes, London's Evening Standard Award, and the Olivier Award.

    • Alan was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame for his work in Disney films.

    • An interview of Alan Menken was included in the companion book The Little Mermaid: From the Deep Blue Sea to the Great White Way. This interview discusses Alan's trials and tributes while working on the hit Disney movie The Little Mermaid.

    • On September 7, 2006, Alan appeared as part of a cast & crew panel discussion at the premiere of a screening of the 1989 Disney classic The Little Mermaid at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California.

    • Alan has won best score and best song for four Disney animated movies: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas.

    • Alan's show, Beauty and the Beast, was awarded the 1998 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best New Musical of the 1997 season.

    • Alan went to college at New York University. He recieved an honorary Doctorate in the Arts. He started out as a pre-med student, but later changed his focus to music.

    • Alan's wife is Janis Menken (November 1972 - present). Together they have two children: Anna and Nora.

    • Alan began playing the piano at the age of 6. He also plays the violin, guitar, and accordion.

    • Alan is good friends with lyricist Howard Ashman. They also worked on several Disney and Non-Disney films together. Alan met Howard when he attended the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop.

    • Alan has won eight Academy Awards for his work in various films. He is now tied with famed costume designer, Edith Head, for third most Academy Awards won.
      Alan has won the following awards:

      Best Original Score for The Little Mermaid

      Best Original Song for The Little Mermaid - ("Under The Sea")

      Best Original Score for Beauty and the Beast

      Best Original Song for Beauty and the Beast - ("Beauty and the Beast")

      Best Original Score for Aladdin

      Best Original Song for Aladdin - ("A Whole New World")

      Best Original Musical or Comedy Score for Pocahontas

      Best Original Song for Pocahontas - ("Colors of the Wind").

      He was also nominated 11 other times

    • Has collaborated with Tim Rice and Stephen Schwartz.

    • He won a Tony Award for composing the score for the Broadway production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. He was nominated for two Tony Awards, but this was the only one he won.

  • Quotes

    • (when asked about the challenges he faced in the score for the movie Enchanted)
      Alan: For me, in any musical, getting audiences in and getting them to go, 'I get it, I'm with you on this journey' is the biggest and most important challenge.

    • (on being nominated for three Academy Awards in 2008 for his work in the movie Enchanted)
      Alan: My publicist, Ray Costa, called me and said, 'Alan, you're nominated for Happy Working Song ... and So Close ... and That's How You Know.' I was really blind-sided, completely blind-sided. Three nominations. I said, 'Now we're gonna lose.'

    • (on The Little Mermaid's musical score)
      Alan: "It's very heartfelt and it's pretty free of manipulation; it's really telling the story in a way that incorporates Howard [Ashman]'s and my musical theater skills and a great love for the history of the Disney animated musical.

  • A True Disney Legend

    Alan Menke is one of the best composers of music in the world. Responsible for a large portion of music for the film in the Disney Renaissance. He was responsible for the music in the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin. Pocohantas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules. In addition he has even done music for Home on the Range and even Tangled.

    This is a man of great talent and I enjoy all his music.moreless