Scene shows performers collaborating with lyricist on 'Be Our Guest' from Beauty and the Beast
One of the most gifted lyricists of his generation is getting his due in a documentary about to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Howard, directed by Don Hahn, celebrates the career and tragically short life of Howard Ashman, the creator of the Off-Broadway musical Little Shop of Horrors, as well as songs from the Disney animated hits Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He died from AIDS in 1991 at the age of 40.
Though legendary lyricist Howard Ashman died far too young, his impact on Broadway, movies, and the culture at large were incalculable.
Ashman died six months before the release of Beauty and the Beast, which would become a giant success at the box office, later transformed into a Broadway show that is still running at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on West 46th Street. The original animated film featured the voices of Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts and Jerry Orbach as Lumiere.
In this newly-released clip from the documentary, Lansbury and Orbach record "Be Our Guest" under Ashman's watchful eye.
The film includes the participation of Alan Menken, the composer who worked closely with Ashman on his biggest hits; Jeffrey Katzenberg, who ran Disney's animation unit during the Ashman-Menken heyday, as well as Bill Lauch, Ashman's partner who survived him. Howard premieres Sunday, April 22 at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.