“To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul,
we will be forever grateful.”
This is the dedication for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the first animated feature to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award in 1992.
Premiering today on Disney+, Howard a new documentary pays tribute at the life of gay director/librettist/lyricist, Howard Ashman who also helped give a genie his magic and a carnivorous plant his menace and has made generations want to be part of that world.
Together with composer Alan Menken’s melodies, Ashman’s bright, insightful, and often poignant lyrics took on lives of their own, giving life to some of the most endearing characters to grace the stage and screen in the last 40 years. In less than a decade beginning in 1982, he wrote lyrics and/or books for eight different musical projects; winning two Oscars for Best Song; one of them posthumously for Beauty and the Beast, which he worked on while battling AIDS before his death at the age of 40.
“Directed by Don Hahn (“Beauty and the Beast”), “Howard” is the untold story of Howard Ashman, the brilliant lyricist behind Disney classics like “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and creator of musicals including “Little Shop of Horrors.” Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, personal films and photographs, as well as interviews with Howard’s friends and family, the film is an intimate look at the Disney Legend’s life, his creative drive, and the process behind the music. Spanning his childhood in Baltimore, to his formative years in New York, and his untimely death due to AIDS, “Howard” goes in-depth to explore his journey to become the lyricist behind some of the most beloved and well-known classic family films in the world.”
“Nothing holds all of me.
My heart’s far, far away…
Home and free.”
– Howard Ashman
New York Times Critic’s Pick ‘Howard’ Review: A Lyricist’s Life Cut Short
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