Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Enchanted, Newsies, Little Shop of Horrors and the list goes on to show the marvelous achievements of an amazing man, Alan Menken. I wanted to write this post because I feel that I owe my love of Disney music and musical theatre to this inspiring person.
As a child, and occasionally as an adult, I would walk around my house with a book in my hand and my hair tied back in a bow singing to my dog ” Oh isn’t this amazing? Its my favorite part because you’ll see” (I bet you sang the words) , from the song “Belle”. Beauty and the Beast will forever and always be my favorite story of “far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise”, but songs like “Under the Sea” from the Little Mermaid, “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin (and performed by my favorite actor, Robin Williams), and “Just Around the Riverbend” from Pocahontas were all in my repertoire at age seven of songs I could act out while singing with my little baby soprano voice. This music molded me, taught me lessons about connecting with nature (thank you “Colors of the Wind”), allowed me to see people for their heart rather than their appearance (a la what Angela Lansbury’s Mrs. Potts told us in “Beauty and the Beast”) and of course let me have a dream (pretty much all of his music but let’s go with “Go The Distance” and “I Have a Dream”).
So this post is to thank you, Alan Menken, wherever you are and even though you will more than likely never read this post. I am just sending my love of your work out into the universe, thanking you for continuing to inspire me to “have a dream” like Rapunzel, “sing a happy working song” like Giselle and as Katherine Plumber says “watch what happens”.
Happy Birthday Alan Menken!