The man behind the music: Alan Menken

Alan Menken is a highly acclaimed American composer, songwriter, and pianist, who has composed music for some of the most beloved and successful musicals and movies of all time. He was born on July 22, 1949, in New Rochelle, New York.

Menken is best known for his work with Disney, having composed the music for many of their classic animated films, including ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’, and ‘Pocahontas’. He has won eight Academy Awards, more than any other living individual, and also won numerous Tony Awards, Grammy Awards, and Golden Globe Awards.

In addition to his work with Disney, Menken has also composed music for many other films, including ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, ‘Hercules’, and ‘Enchanted’, as well as numerous stage musicals, including ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, ‘Sister Act’, and ‘Newsies’.

Menken’s music is known for its catchy melodies, lush orchestrations, and clever lyrics, and his work has helped to define the sound of modern musical theatre and animation.


Menken has won several Tony Awards for his work on Broadway, including Best Original Score for ‘Newsies’ and ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Which brings me to an incredible production, which features some of Menken’s finest work, Newsies. A professional production which has yet to make it to Australian shores.

Newsies is a musical based on the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899, where a group of young newspaper sellers in New York City organized and went on strike to protest against unfair wages and working conditions. The musical follows the story of Jack Kelly, a charismatic and ambitious newsboy, who rallies his fellow newsies to stand up to powerful newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst.

Throughout the musical, the newsies sing and dance their way through the streets of New York City, fighting for their rights and inspiring others to join their cause. Along the way, Jack Kelly falls in love with a young journalist named Katherine Plumber, and together they work to spread the news about the strike and gain public support.

The musical features music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Jack Feldman, and it premiered on Broadway in 2012. The show received critical acclaim for its high-energy choreography, catchy songs, and heartwarming story of perseverance and triumph.

Menken’s music has touched the hearts of millions of people around the world, and his work continues to be celebrated and enjoyed by audiences of all ages.

Would you be interested in seeing Newsies in Australia?

Sarah Johnson

Sarah is a British born Communication and Media Graduate from the University of Leeds. Sarah has written for a number of publications and has an avid interest in theatre and the arts in general.

Sarah Johnson

One thought on “The man behind the music: Alan Menken

  • I have seen the New York version of Newsies and would love to see it again. The chorography and dancing are great. It is also something different from what we are used to. A good diversion.


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