With eight Academy Awards, Alan Menken has received more Oscars than any living person. He has written songs and scores for some of the world’s most beloved films: Tangled (Oscar nominee), Enchanted (3 Oscar nominations) The Little Mermaid (2 Oscar wins), Beauty and the Beast (2 Oscar wins), Aladdin (2 Oscar wins), Pocahontas (2 Oscar wins), Hercules (Oscar nominee), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Oscar nominee), Little Shop of Horrors (Oscar nominee), Home on the Range, and Newsies. Menken recently achieved EGOT status with his 2020 Daytime Emmy Award win for the song “Waiting in the Wings” for Disney Channel’s Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure.
Menken is also one of the few songwriters ever to have three shows run concurrently on Broadway (Sister Act, Newsies and Leap of Faith). His Broadway successes include The Little Mermaid (Tony Award nominee), Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies (Tony Award winner), Sister Act (Tony Award nominee) and Aladdin (Tony Award nominee). His other stage productions include King David, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and A Bronx Tale which premiered on Broadway in 2016.
His chart topping songs include “Beauty and the Beast”, “A Whole New World”, “Colors of the Wind” and “Go the Distance”.
Winner of the 2012 Tony and Drama Desk awards for his score for Newsies, Menken has also won 11 Grammy Awards (including Song of the Year for “A Whole New World”), 7 Golden Globes, London’s Evening Standard Award, the Olivier Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award. Menken also received Emmy nominations for original songs from the ABC TV series’ Galavant and The Neighbors.
Other notable achievements include induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Billboard’s number one single (“A Whole New World”) and number one album (Pocahontas). In 2001 he received the distinction of being named a Disney Legend. He has been Awarded two doctorates in Fine Arts from New York University and the North Carolina School of the Arts. In 2010 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Menken’s work includes Columbia Pictures’ Sausage Party and the documentary Howard about the life of his longtime collaborator and songwriting partner, Howard Ashman, Disney’s live-action box office hit Beauty and the Beast, a song for the Disney Animation feature, Ralph Breaks the Internet, and Disney’s live action retelling of the animated classic, Aladdin. Menken’s recent works includes Disney’s animation adventure, Disenchanted, directed by Adam Shankman, starring Amy Adams and Disney’s 2023 live action The Little Mermaid, directed by Rob Marshall. Upcoming for Menken is Apple’s animated original Spellbound, starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem.
Raised in Manhattan, Menken wrote jingles early in his career before finding success in theatre. He teamed up with lyricist Howard Ashman, resulting in the Off-Broadway hit Little Shop of Horrors (which was adapted into a film by Frank Oz). His music played a pivotal role in the animation renaissance at Walt Disney in the ’80s and ’90s, bringing to the genre a Broadway sensibility, and creating some of cinema’s most indelible songs and music of the last century.