In the annals of Disney history, Howard Ashman is a legend. The out gay lyricist was perhaps the key crative force behind the Disney renaissance of the late 1980s and early 1990s. After a couple of decades in the wilderness, Disney animation suddenly recaptured its magic with the likes of The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast and Aladdin, all of which Ashman worked on.
Previously best known for his work alongside Alan Menken on Little Shop Of Horrors, Ashman’s importance to Disney wasn’t just to do with writing lyrics. He also produced, was heavily involved in the story creation and writing, and even held masterclasses with animators and others at the studio to help teach them how musicals worked and what it was they needed to do.
Tragically, he died of complications from AIDS before Beauty & The Beast hit cinemas (it’s been suggested Ashman saw that film as an AIDS metaphor) in 1991. Now a new documentary, simply titled Howard, is set to explore his life. A trailer has arrived to tie in with Disney’s annual expo, D23, which you can take a look at below. [Read more…]