Menken, who won Academy Awards for his scores for Disney's "Pocahontas," "Aladdin," "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid," told Playbill On-Line Aug. 13 that he and lyricist Glenn Slater are currently writing a new film for Disney. Said the composer, "[Glenn] and I are working on a new film musical called 'Enchanted.' He and I have done quite a few things in the last five years. 'Enchanted' is the story of an animated ingenue who has a spell. Basically, it involves animation and live action film." Menken wouldn't elaborate on the film, explaining, "It's a Disney film, and I'm gonna let them [announce the details]. I'm not gonna spill the beans on that!"
Slater is also the lyricist for Menken's other Disney film project, "Home on the Range," an animated adventure of a group of cows on a farm. Among the voices that will be heard in this movie are Judi Dench, David Burnham, Jason Graae, Gregory Jbara, Sarah Jessica Parker and Cuba Gooding Jr.
The ever-busy composer also has several other projects in the works. Menken told PBOL, "I'm desperate to see [King David] done again. I've done a lot of reworking on that, a lot of restructuring, but it's a very expensive, big piece to get done. . . . It will be somewhat altered, but I need to get back in the saddle on things like Duddy Kravitz, King David, even Kicks."
A reading of another Menken show was also recently held, a stage musical version of his award-winning Disney film "The Little Mermaid." Kerry Butler — who will star as Audrey in the Little Shop revival — was cast as Ariel in the reading, which featured 12 new songs by Menken and Slater. The score also features the original tunes by Menken and the late Howard Ashman. Menken explained that the "thorniest" issue about the musical is its physical production, how to stage a musical that is set under water. "I can't imagine how we're going to physically get it on stage," Menken said. "That's one reason right now, very quietly, there's a lot of talk going on with a lot of directors and a lot of designers. Until that's figured out we're just in a little bit in a holding pattern, and I hope we will break that holding pattern soon."