Though legendary lyricist Howard Ashman died far too young, his impact on Broadway, movies, and the culture at large were incalculable. He and his artistic partner, composer Alan Menken, scored an Off-Broadway sensation with their musical redux of Little Shop of Horrors. And, when Disney snatched up the two in the mid-’80s, they revitalized the struggling Mouse House with hits like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. When the lyricist and librettist died of AIDS-related complications, at age 40, in 1991, one of his biggest triumphs—Disney’s instant classic Beauty and the Beast
—wouldn’t hit theaters for another six months.
Told entirely through rare archival footage and interviews with Ashman’s family, friends, associates, and longtime partner Bill Lauch, Howard
is an intimate tribute to a once-in-a-generation talent and a rousing celebration of musical storytelling itself.