Howard, a documentary on the life of Academy Award winning lyricist Howard Ashman, premieres Friday, August 7 on Disney+. The movie, which initially premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, is directed by Don Hahn (Waking Sleeping Beauty). This post features a rare interview with Howard Ashman (sitting down with The Little Mermaid collaborator Alan Menken) along with information on Howard.
Bill Lauch (Ashman’s partner), Jodi Benson (The Little Mermaid), Paige O’Hara (Beauty and the Beast), Sarah Gillespie (Ashman’s sister) are among the interviewees featured in Howard.
“You may not know his name, but you sure know Howard Ashman’s music,” said Director, Writer and Producer Don Hahn. “He’s one of the greatest storytellers of the twentieth century who helped to revitalize the American musical and re-energize Disney Animation. He left us a songbook that still lives on in us today, yet his personal story has never been fully told until now.”
I taped The Little Mermaid episode of Matt and Greg Used to Interview Movie Stars over two years ago with Matt Levitz, and hopefully we’ll resume the podcast sometime down the road. To check out some of the other films we covered on the podcast, subscribe to the YouTube channel or audio wise we’re available on Apple Podcasts and Soundcloud. The interview with Ashman starts at 56:00.
During that press junket, Ashman talked about one of the biggest musical influences of his life:
“Jule Styne’s Peter Pan score was probably the first thing I ever memorized. I knew every word of it. I could do all of Captain Hook. Biggest thrill of my life – I was sitting in a Chinese restaurant in New York and I heard some people say “Oh sing Seymour’s song, sing Seymour’s song.” I saw this little 5-year-old kid perform ‘Grow for Me’ from Little Shop of Horrors for his family. I said ‘My God that’s me being Captain Hook. I grew up with show music in a very serious way.”