Menken Gets Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, 11/10

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Broadway composer Alan Menken, who has created the music for such shows as Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, lea of Faith and Sister Act, will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the category of Motion Pictures. A ceremony will be held at 11:30 AM on November 10, at El Caitan Theatre. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Leron Gubler will emcee the event and Richard Sherman will be a guest speaker.

Menken is best known for his numerous scores for films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, most notably, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Pocahontas, each of which won him two Academy Awards. Menken has collaborated on several occasions with lyricists including Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Stephen Schwartz. He has won a total of eight Oscars, more than any other living individual. He has been Oscar-nominated a total of eighteen times.

In 1983, Menken received the BMI Career Achievement Award for his body of work for musical theater, including Little Shop of Horrors, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Real Life Funnies, Atina: Evil Queen of the Galaxy, Patch, Patch, Patch, and contributions to numerous revues including Personals and Diamonds. In 1987, a musical adaptation of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, with lyrics by David Spencer, was produced in Philadelphia. In 1992, the WPA Theatre produced Menken's Weird Romance, also with lyrics also by Spencer. Menken's 1994 musical based on the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and book by Mike Ockrent, debuted at Madison Square Garden's Paramount Theater. The show proved successful and is becoming an annual New York holiday event. Menken received both Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations for the music to the stage musical version of Beauty and the Beast which opened on Broadway in 1994.

Menken is best known, however, for his work over the past two decades with Walt Disney Pictures scoring numerous films, including Disney animated classics The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules and Home on the Range, live-action Newsies, and most recently, its 2007 live-action fairy tale Enchanted. Menken has received dual Academy Awards for Best Score and Best Song on four of these projects. With eight Academy Award wins (four each for Best Original Score and Best Original Song), Menken is second only to Alfred Newman and Walt Disney for the most Oscars won by an individual, tied with late costume designer Edith Head. He currently holds the record for the most wins for a living person, and was named Disney Legend in 2001.

Menken's Sister Act the Musical was produced in 2009. A musical version of The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway in January 2008.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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