Howard Ashman Headshot

Howard Ashman

Date of Death: March 14, 1991

Birth Place: Baltimore, MD, USA

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Howard Ashman BIO

Howard Ashman followed a distinguished career as a musical comedy librettist, lyricist, playwright, and director with his animated feature film debut, Disney's critically and popularly celebrated The Little Mermaid. Ashman received the 1989 Academy Award® for Best Song for "Under the Sea," written with his longtime collaborator, Alan Menken. Ashman and Menken garnered a total of six awards for The Little Mermaid, including two Academy Awards®, two Golden Globe Awards®, and two Grammy Awards®.


Born in Baltimore, Ashman received his education at Goddard College and Boston University, and earned an MFA from Indiana University. He moved to New York in 1974 and became an editor at Grosset & Dunlap, while he wrote plays, including 'Cause Maggie's Afraid of the Dark, The Confirmation, and Dreamstuff, a musical version of The Tempest. Dreamstuff marked the start of his association with the Off-Off Broadway WPA Theatre, of which he became Art Director when it reopened in the fall of 1977. Ashman was the WPA's guiding force from 1977 to 1982. In 1979, he and Alan Menken wrote a musical version of Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.
Ashman's greatest success at WPA was the musical version of Roger Corman's film Little Shop of Horrors, also written with Alan Menken. The musical received many awards, including the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for the Best Musical of 1982-83. Little Shop of Horrors became the third longest-running musical in Off-Broadway history, as well as the highest-grossing musical in Off-Broadway history. The subsequent London production received the prestigious Evening Standard Award for Best Musical, and productions of Little Shop of Horrors were seen all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Mexico, Israel, South Africa, France, Austria, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and Germany. Little Shop of Horrors is currently tied with Our Town as the most-produced play in high schools throughout America.
Little Shop of Horrors was subsequently filmed by Frank Oz for David Geffen. For the screen version, Ashman and Menken wrote two songs not included in the stage production. Ashman received his first Academy Award® nomination for Best Song, for "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space," in 1986.
Howard Ashman's unique theatrical gifts enabled him to create the book, lyrics, and direction for not only God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and Little Shop of Horrors, but also for the 1986 Broadway production of Smile, written with Marvin Hamlisch, for which he received a Tony Award® nomination for Best Book.
Ashman completed work on the animated Disney feature Beauty and the Beast, as well as Aladdin, prior to his death in March 1991.

Howard Ashman Productions

 
[St. Louis, MO (Regional), 2015]
Lyrics
 
[Broadway, 2008] [Replacement]
Lyrics[Replacement]
 
[Broadway, 1986]
Director
 
[Off-Broadway, 1982]
Director
Director
 
[Off-Off-Broadway, 1982]
Director
 
[Off-Broadway, 1979]
Director
 
[Off-Broadway, 1979]
Director

Writing

Lyricist
Lyricist
Lyricist
Bookwriter/Lyricist
Lyricist
Bookwriter
lyricist
Lyricist
Bookwriter
Lyricist
Bookwriter
Lyricist
Lyricist
Bookwriter

Howard Ashman Movies

Little Shop of Horrors
[ 1986 ] book
The Little Mermaid
[ 1989 ] producer
Beauty and the Beast
[ 1991 ] songs
Aladdin
[ 1992 ] songs
Aladdin: Live from the West End
[ 2022 ] Lyrics by

Howard Ashman Awards and Nominations

Drama Desk Awards - 2014 - Outstanding Lyrics

Howard Ashman, Aladdin

Tony Awards - 2014 - Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Howard Ashman, Aladdin

Tony Awards - 2008 - Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Howard Ashman, The Little Mermaid

Drama Desk Awards - 1994 - Outstanding Lyrics

Howard Ashman, Beauty and the Beast

Tony Awards - 1994 - Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Howard Ashman , Beauty and the Beast

Tony Awards - 1987 - Best Book of a Musical

Howard Ashman, Smile

Drama Desk Awards - 1983 - Outstanding Director of a Musical

Howard Ashman, Little Shop of Horrors


winner
Drama Desk Awards - 1983 - Outstanding Lyrics

Howard Ashman, Little Shop of Horrors


winner
New York Drama Critics Circle Awards - 1983 - Best Musical

Howard Ashman, Little Shop of Horrors

Olivier Awards - 1983 - Musical of the Year

Howard Ashman, Little Shop Of Horrors


winner
Outer Critics Circle Awards - 1983 - Best Score

Howard Ashman, Little Shop of Horrors

Howard Ashman Videos

Howard Ashman News


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Howard Ashman FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How many shows has Howard Ashman written?

Howard Ashman has written 10 shows including Maggie May (Lyricist), God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (Bookwriter/Lyricist), Real Life Funnies (Conceiver), Little Shop of Horrors (Bookwriter), Diamonds (Lyricist), Smile (Bookwriter), Beauty and the Beast (Lyricist), Hundreds of Hats (Lyricist), The Little Mermaid (lyricist), Aladdin (Lyricist).

What awards has Howard Ashman been nominated for?

Howard Ashman has been nominated for several awards throughout his career. He received nominations for Outstanding Lyrics at the Drama Desk Awards for Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Little Shop of Horrors. He was also nominated for Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre at the Tony Awards for Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. Additionally, he received a nomination for Best Book of a Musical at the Tony Awards for Smile. Ashman's work on Little Shop of Horrors earned him nominations for Outstanding Director of a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards, Best Musical at the New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, Musical of the Year at the Olivier Awards, and Best Score at the Outer Critics Circle Awards.

What awards has Howard Ashman won?

Howard Ashman has won several awards for his work in the Broadway musical "Little Shop of Horrors." He received the Outstanding Lyrics award at the Drama Desk Awards, the Best Musical award at the New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, and the Best Score award at the Outer Critics Circle Awards.

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