Howard, a new documentary celebrating Disney Legend Howard Ashman, will debut August 7 exclusively on Disney+.
Ashman was an Oscar- and Grammy-winning lyricist and writing partner of Alan Menken, with whom he was behind such Disney classics as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. His work extended into the theater world as well, with shows like Little Shop of Horrors. It is no overstatement to say that without Ashman’s influence, feature animation would be completely different today, if it even still existed at all.
“Spanning his childhood in Baltimore, to his formative years in New York, and his untimely death due to AIDS,” Disney said in a press release, “Howard goes in-depth to explore his journey to become the lyricist behind some of the most beloved and well-known classic family films in the world.”
Howard is directed by Don Hahn, who worked with Ashman as a producer on Beauty and the Beast and previously directed Waking Sleeping Beauty (2010), a documentary about the making of the films of the ’90s known as the Disney Renaissance (which you can also find on Disney+). It should be a treat to revisit that era with a focused intentionality on Ashman’s involvement. Hahn hinted the arrival of Howard to Disney+ last year on the Maltin On Movies podcast. Howard initially debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018.
In the meantime, you can check out past Animation Addicts podcast episodes highlighting the films Ashman wrote songs for.
Blake is a scriptwriter at Elevation Church, where he develops documentary shorts and creative elements as part of the film team. He graduated Appalachian State University studying Electronic Media Production and is an alumni of the Disney College Program. Blake’s favorite films are Mary Poppins, The Lion King, and Toy Story 3. You can find him on Twitter (@blake_242) and visit his blog at blakeonline.com.