EXCLUSIVE: If you love a song from a classic Disney animated feature, it is likely that Howard Ashman was the mind behind the words. Don Hahn’s documentary Howard takes a look at the life of the Academy Award-winning lyricist and the legacy he left behind. In the exclusive clip above, we see him at work recording the memorable Beauty and the Beast song “Be Our Guest” with composer and frequent collaborator Alan Menken as well as the movie’s stars Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach. Howard will make its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 22.
Ashman grew up with love for musical theater and after living the life of a starving artist in New York, he adapted Roger Corman’s film The Little Shop of Horrors into a musical with Menken which served as a turning point in his career. The success led to some speed bumps but he eventually ended up in Los Angeles where he re-teamed with Menken to write songs that would later become benchmarks in Disney’s Renaissance of animation. He received many Oscar nominations for his work and won for songs in The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and the aforementioned Beauty and the Beast. However, while he was writing songs for Beauty and the Beast, he was struggling with AIDS. Howard died at age 39 before he was able to see his final Disney films release, but his legacy continues to inspire new generations.
“There’s no better home for the world premiere of Howard’s story than the Tribeca Film Festival, which celebrates everything he loved about film and music and New York,” said Hahn in an exclusive quote for Deadline. “We’ve been honored to share this legend’s story and showcase his enormous legacy, a privilege second only to having known and worked this special man whose life touched so many. This clip is just one of those special moments we can’t wait for audiences to discover in our film.”
Watch the clip above and check out the poster below.