Congrats to Alan Menken, honored May 13 at the BMI annual film and television music awards. As reported by Variety, Menken won the Richard Kirk Award for his compositions for theatre and film. Disney CEO Michael Eisner praised Menken at the Regent Beverly Wilshire gala, as someone who will be remembered as a major figure in this era of popular entertaiment. The Eisner tribute is more than coincidental. On Feb. 5, Menken inked a deal with Disney to write animated scores solely for them. Menken's agent, Scott Shukat, told Playbill On-Line (Feb. 5) the long term deal (he wouldn't disclose how long, nor the sum paid) would allow Menken to work in theatre, animated film and live-action film for many years to come. No titles of future projects are yet available, though Shukat did say Menken is busy with the workshop of the theatrical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with collaborators Stephen Schwartz and James Lapine.
Menken's credits include the film and theatre scores of Beauty and the Beast and the films The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas. He also achieved great success (with late partner Howard Ashman) for his score to Off-Broadway's Little Shop of Horrors. Other works include King David, Weird Romance, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater for the stage; Aladdin, Newsies and Hercules for film.
-- By David Lefkowitz