Disney composer Alan Menken talks career writing well-known songs

CHICAGO (WLS) -- "Aladdin" is wowing audiences at the Oriental Theatre this summer and got great reviews.

ABC 7 Chicago spoke to legendary Disney composer Alan Menken, the man behind the music of the show as well as "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and more.

Everyone knows an Alan Menken song. Not just from this show, but from over a dozen Disney musicals on screen and stage he's composed.

With Oscars, Grammys and Tonys, Menken has a career that began with writing jingles, off Broadway shows and "Sesame Street" songs. When he collaborated with the late lyricist Howard Ashman for "The Little Mermaid" life changed, and so did the story.

"Originally we had the idea that Jasmine was a princess, she was really spoiled and it was really a buddy picture with this ditsy princess," Menken said.

Now Menken is doing a live action version of "Mermaid" with "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. He met Lin as a kid.

"I would sign posters because he was a big fan of 'Little Mermaid,' God, what a talent he is," Menken said.

It's not all Disney musicals, right now Menken has "A Bronx Tale" on Broadway starring Chaz Palminteri, directed by Robert Deniro.

"I'm really proud of that score, we had a great time, again working with Bob, it was a learning curve for him and it was a learning curve for us, but it worked," Menken said.

Back to "Aladdin the Musical" another encore is in the works, a live action film directed by Guy Ritchie with new songs and old.
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