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VIDEO: Alan Menken, Glen Keane, and More Appear In The Howard Ashman Celebration

Last night, Rainbow Sun Productions premiered The Howard Ashman Celebration, a special video presentation benefiting Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, honoring the award-winning lyricist and creator. The viewers and the cast were in for some huge surprises.

Howard Ashman was a creative genius and one of the driving forces behind the Disney Renaissance. With projects like Little Shop of Horrors, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin, people know his work, but may not know the man responsible for these incredible and timeless stories. Howard unfortunately passed away from AIDS related complications in 1991, but his creative ideas and his legacy continues almost 30 years later.

Rainbow Sun Productions was preparing a live concert presentation as a benefit to raise money for Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS. Unfortunately, COVID-19 caused the plans to halt indefinitely. The team decided to continue to celebrate Howard's legacy with an alternate presentation, combining Howard's narrative, interviews, music, and more. With this, viewers get a sampling of Howard's life and works. The presenters and performers discussed the deeper meanings of some of Howard's pieces and offered their thoughts on some of their favorite pieces.

What the viewers (and most of the cast) did not expect was the amazing special guests that were featured in the presentation. Because of shifting to a video presentation, the complications of travel, accommodations, time restrictions, and schedule logistics that are needed for a live concert were taken out of the equation, and because of this, the event could feature new and extended videos from people that worked with Howard.

Director, Animator, and Screenwriter John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Moana), animation legend Glen Keane (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin), actress and theater veteran Jodi Benson (The Little Mermaid, Enchanted, Thumbelina), and award-winning composer Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Newsies) joined the amazing lineup of talented performers to discuss their experiences of working with their friend and collaborator. Each of the guests told new stories about Howard and the incredible impact he left on each of them personally.

Alan Menken, Jodi Benson, Glen Keane, and John Musker join the incredible lineup of guests, including Ben Bogen, Danny Feldman, Irene Gallin, Jessa Halterman, Victoria Kingswood, Dillon Klena, Bella Luna, Katie Nail, Sarah Beth Pfeifer, Christy Carlson Romano, Eric Scherer, Emily Schultheis, Sean Stephens, and John Tartaglia.

The presentation features a selection of clips from Don Hahn's documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty, which explores the success and trials of the Disney Renaissance. The presentation also features a look at Don Hahn's documentary Howard. This film dives deeper into Howard's story and features interviews, clips, and more from Howard's life. Waking Sleeping Beauty is now available to stream on Disney+ and Howard will be coming to Disney+ this August.

100% of the proceeds raised from The Howard Ashman Celebration will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, a charity which perfectly matches Howard's professional theatrical experiences and his personal struggle with AIDS. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation's leading industry-based HIV/AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. BCEFA funds the social service work of The Actors Fund and awards grants to AIDS service organizations worldwide. Currently, BCEFA has been actively assisting in pandemic relief by helping provide medication, meals, and more for people whose needs have been heightened by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Howard Ashman Celebration will remain available for viewing thru May 31, 2020, allowing flexibility for those that are continuing to work through the current pandemic.

Watch below!

While there is no minimum donation for viewing, Rainbow Sun Productions asks for any amount you can donate to assist those in need.

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