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Who is Alan Menken?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 January 2015
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Alan Menken, an American composer of musicals and motion picture soundtracks, was born on 22 July 1949 in New Rochelle, New York. He played both violin and piano by high school and, after a short time as a pre-med major at New York University, pursued a career in music, following up his time at NYU with a stint at the Lehman Engel Musical Workshop of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).

Howard Ashman chose Menken to work with him on the musical version of “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" by Kurt Vonnegut, which appeared Off-Broadway in 1979. They stuck together and adapted Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors, first as an Off-Broadway musical that was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music and then as a feature film that included a song that was nominated for an Academy Award for Original Song. When Disney decided to return to producing animated feature films, they hired Ashman and Menken to create The Little Mermaid.

The Little Mermaid marked the beginning of a Menken-Disney dynasty. Over the next number of years, Menken collaborated on:

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