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"Howard" on Disney Plus

DaveyG
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#1
Posted: 8/7/20 at 4:05pm

Highly recommend. Wonderful and moving documentary with tons of behind the scenes footage. How heartbreaking to lose him and so many others way before their time. Don Hahn's movie is a beautiful tribute to a complicated and brilliant man. 

JennH
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#2
Posted: 8/7/20 at 6:03pm

DaveyG said: "Highly recommend. Wonderful and moving documentary with tons of behind the scenes footage. How heartbreaking to lose him and so many others way before their time. Don Hahn's movie is a beautiful tribute to a complicated and brilliant man."

For some reason, I keep forgetting this a thing...this is absolutely on my watching list this weekend ::) I miss him and his clever and creative use of lyrics so much.

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"Howard" on Disney Plus#3
Posted: 8/7/20 at 6:28pm
Loved it and wanted more, but that’s the tragedy of the whole thing. He had so much more to give. Grateful for what we got.
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castlestreet
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#4
Posted: 8/7/20 at 7:39pm
This was a wonderful reminder of what an immense talent he was. You’ll need tissues at the end even though you know what’s coming - and can’t help thinking what might have been...
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BrodyFosse123
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#5
Posted: 8/7/20 at 7:57pm

 

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jpbran
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#6
Posted: 8/7/20 at 11:53pm
Just finished it... inspiring and heartbreaking.
Alex Kulak2
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#7
Posted: 8/8/20 at 12:04am

IMHO, Howard Ashman is the greatest lyricist who ever lived. I am catching this as soon as I'm done with work this week.

Alex Kulak2
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#8
Posted: 8/8/20 at 12:04am

IMHO, Howard Ashman is the greatest lyricist who ever lived. I am catching this as soon as I'm done with work this week.

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Jordan Levinson
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#9
Posted: 8/8/20 at 12:04am

Despite the subject matter of the documentary, I think this conversation should be moved to the Off-Topic board. Glad to hear such positive reports so far though... I would love to see it soon.

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seaweedjstubbs
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#10
Posted: 8/8/20 at 12:22am

Jordan Levinson said: "Despite the subject matter of the documentary, I think this conversation should be moved to the Off-Topic board. Glad to hear such positive reports so far though... I would love to see it soon."

.......why would it be moved to the Off-Topic Board? We so rarely get full-length documentaries about Broadway figures. If threads about upcoming movie musicals can exist on the Main Board, so can this.

Just watched the documentary tonight after wanting to see it ever since it was announced a few years ago. Absolutely loved it. So heartbreaking and inspiring. He had so much more to give us, but what he gave us in the short time he was here is truly remarkable. Thank you, Mr. Ashman.

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blaxx
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#11
Posted: 8/8/20 at 3:04am

Jordan Levinson said: "Despite the subject matter of the documentary, I think this conversation should be moved to the Off-Topic board. Glad to hear such positive reports so far though... I would love to see it soon."

His work was eventually on Broadway. So, get over it.

Listen, I don't take my clothes off for anyone, even if it is "artistic". - JANICE
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jv92
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#12
Posted: 8/8/20 at 8:57am

Jordan Levinson said: "Despite the subject matter of the documentary, I think this conversation should be moved to the Off-Topic board. Glad to hear such positive reports so far though... I would love to see it soon."

The obtuse dismissiveness of this remark really burns me, so let me pile on like some others have so far.

Howard Ashman, with the work he left behind, inspired a generation of new theatre artists to explore and create. Howard Ashman did have a Broadway credit, SMILE, in his lifetime. Adaptations of the animated films he worked on-- regardless what one thinks of them, or if they're really as good as their screen counterparts-- have made it to Broadway. So has LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, despite its Off-Broadway roots. (It works better smaller, too, but that's another story.) 

Also, what is "Broadway?" It's a thing now. What about theatre? Howard Ashman was about theatre. He created his own, he was a beloved member of it (despite his feelings of being an outsider), and he was and continues to be an inspiration. So, yes-- this is ON  TOPIC. So, yes-- get over it.  

JennH
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"Howard" on Disney Plus#13
Posted: 8/8/20 at 9:39am

Alex Kulak2 said: "IMHO, Howard Ashman is the greatest lyricist who ever lived. I am catching this as soon as I'm done with work this week."

YES. I know dems fighting words for those who are Sondheim fanatics, which I personally am not (he's still his own genius of course). But there's just...something about Ashman's lyrics that are just as creative and witty, but overall more accessible. I really don't have a better explanation than that. Ashman's lyrics to Menken's tunes have become juggernaut staples over the years that I think don't people actually sit down and deeply mull them anymore. I remember just sitting down with the "B and the B" title song some years back and REALLY heard the lyrics...and I think I nearly threw my music device because it was when I realized just how utterly brilliant the lyrics are. Like...DAMN. 

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#14
Posted: 8/8/20 at 10:33am

Jordan Levinson said: "Despite the subject matter of the documentary, I think this conversation should be moved to the Off-Topic board. Glad to hear such positive reports so far though... I would love to see it soon."

Almost half of the documentary deals exclusively with Ashman's work in theatre- the WPA, and on Little Shop, Rosewater, and Smile. Moreover, his work on Beauty, Aladdin, and Little Mermaid all made it to Broadway. He's a Broadway figure, and that's not even debatable.

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
Updated On: 8/8/20 at 10:33 AM
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#15
Posted: 8/8/20 at 1:16pm
Exactly. Of all the threads that belong in the off topic board, this will never be one on them. Loved this film dearly.
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#16
Posted: 8/8/20 at 3:34pm

Considering that it contains frank discussion of sexuality and AIDS, which could be considered "adult" topics, I'm really glad that Disney decided to release it on Disney Plus, rather than relegating it to Hulu. By associating the film with the Disney name, they honor Howard's legacy and his massive contribution to the studio in a really beautiful way. I'll be watching it again very soon.

Updated On: 8/8/20 at 03:34 PM
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#17
Posted: 8/8/20 at 4:58pm

If this film was just footage and tape of Howard Ashman working with Jerry Orbach, Angela Lansbury, Jodi Benson, etc. on their performances I would've been happy. What a special tribute to Ashman this is. And I agree, his wit is unparalleled. "Poor Unfortunate Souls," " Gaston," (the list can go on and on) are treasures. 

I screencapped a cheesy photo of Alan Menken from the doc I wanted to share but can't figure out how to embed it. Needless to say, the 70s were a cruel mistress. Menken's remembrances of Ashman are so sweet, he made me cry. 

Watch and rewatch this.  

Updated On: 8/8/20 at 04:58 PM
Islander_fan
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#18
Posted: 8/8/20 at 8:46pm

I had found out a few years ago that the lyrics to “Gaston” where just “dummy” lyrics Ashman came up with to help Menkin with the song structure. I then remember going back and listening to the song, I walked away thinking, “those were dummy lyrics?” He’s just that good a writer. 

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jv92
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#19
Posted: 8/8/20 at 9:39pm

Islander_fan said: "I had found out a few years ago that the lyrics to “Gaston” where just “dummy” lyrics Ashman came up with to help Menkin with the song structure. I then remember going back and listening to the song, I walked away thinking, “those were dummy lyrics?” He’s just that good a writer."

There are a FEW (but very few) lines in that lyric that could scan better, but that's just the persnickety lyric-writing perfectionist in me. The jokes are so wonderful, though, so no wonder the "dummy" was kept. That lyric is so shockingly subversive for a Disney movie anyway. In preparation for the documentary, I re-watched the movie and  when the folks in the tavern sang "Makes those beauts like Gaston?" I thought, WOW! How'd get get away with that? Is Gaston Ben Stone wanting to make that waitress at the party all night?  

bear88
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#20
Posted: 8/9/20 at 4:24am

There were a few times when I wished the documentary told me more, but there was only so much time, and it does a nice job tying together Ashman's creative spirit as a child entertaining his little sister and the adult who was the perfect fit to bring Disney animation back. It was almost surreal seeing that Katzenberg letter wooing Ashman, given what was to come. 

I'm also glad Disney+ didn't put it on Hulu. The company gets a lot of deserved grief, but they did right in this instance. The documentary is also almost unbearably sad, as it's made clear that Ashman was frustrated that he found the perfect place at the right time to do what he did best but was out of time because AIDS was killing him. I didn't realize just how sick he was even during The Little Mermaid. His bitterness about Smile isn't sugarcoated, nor is his impatience with what seems in retrospect to be insane recommendations. They wanted to cut "Part of Your World"? It's easy in retrospect to forget that the idea of reviving Disney animated musicals was kind of a left-field idea. It seems like some of the Disney brass didn't have basic knowledge of musical theater structure at the time. 

The footage of the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack recordings are both a delight and agonizing to watch. Alan Menken looks understandably thrilled and awestruck at the performances of Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach. But while everyone else is giddy, Ashman just looks sick. His ability to churn out three classic movie musicals in almost no time, while dying and trying for a time to hide his illness, is both extraordinary and depressing.  

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#21
Posted: 8/9/20 at 7:35am

Here are my questions:

1) Did he have a relationship with his father once he cane out? If not, I feel like that may be an important reason for his temper when always trying to prove himself.

2) Where is his partner today? And that house?

Updated On: 8/9/20 at 07:35 AM
xtzg
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#22
Posted: 8/9/20 at 9:13am

DramaTeach said: "Here are my questions:

1) Did he have a relationship with his father once he cane out? If not, I feel like that may be an important reason for his temper when always trying to prove himself.

2) Where is his partner today? And that house?
"

 

1) His sister mentioned elsewhere that their father got sick when they were still young kids and died relatively early.

2) Some years ago (I think in the 2000s or early 2010s) there was an article about Ashman, and the author, who interviewed his partner, wrote that he was living alone in that house. I don't know about now, but it's not something that the public needs to know. His partner did show up when Little Shop of Horrors opened off-broadway last year.

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#23
Posted: 8/9/20 at 11:10am

Very well done and thorough documentary. Don Hahn did an amazing job with this. I'll be watching again soon.

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#24
Posted: 8/9/20 at 11:41am

Agreed with everyone here...very well done and so emotional...my partner at the time and i saw LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS when it played the Orpheum Theatre in the early 1980's...and LOVED the movie version as well...my partner Dan passed in 1990,  so this brought back many painful memories of that time, but also some very wonderful memories...and i do remember first time seeing BEAUTY AND THE BEAST on film and thinking that opening number BELLE was a Broadway musical...

Updated On: 8/9/20 at 11:41 AM
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#25
Posted: 8/9/20 at 1:19pm

xtzg said: "2) Some years ago (I think in the 2000s or early 2010s) there was an article about Ashman, and the author, who interviewed his partner, wrote that he was living alone in that house. I don't know about now, but it's not something that the public needs to know. His partner did show up when Little Shop of Horrors opened off-broadway last year."

 

I totally agree that it's not something we're entitled to know. It's just something I was wondering as I watched. Hope he's happy after dealing with that tragedy.