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Disney has been entertaining the masses for decades, with generations brought up on the classic animated blockbusters. The 1990s saw the dawn of the Disney Renaissance, with classics like Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Best remaining part of the fabric of pop culture decades later. All three of those classics had music written by the combination of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Disney+ is putting out a documentary about the latter writer, and the first trailer for Howard arrived-- including plenty of nostalgic emotional feels.
Since launching Disney+ has released a variety of original content. While all eyes are on Hamilton, the streaming service has also put out documentaries that peel back the curtain on production within the House of Mouse. Howard is all about the legacy of late writer Howard Ashman, whose casting choices and music would become a beloved part of movie history. Check out the first trailer for Howard below, and prepare to possibly well up in the process.
I'm not crying, you're crying. Howard Ashman created a legacy for himself before his death, and Disney+'s Howard looks like a touching tribute to the playwright and lyricist. Let's break down what we're being shown so far, in the documentary that will head to streaming in early August.
This first trailer for Howard opens on the recording of The Little Mermaid. Howard Ashman can be seen coaching Ariel actress Jodi Benson on the iconic song "Part of Your World", which he wrote alongside Alan Menken. In the brief clip, you can see how his direction helped to shape the voice performance for the song we know and love. The Little Mermaid was Disney's first fairy tale in decades, so there was a ton of pressure associated with its production. But we all know what a success it grew to be.
From there, we're shown some of the Disney projects that Howard Ashman contributed to through the years. His lyrics found a way to piece the hearts of audiences, and allow characters like Ariel and The Beast to be fully fleshed out onscreen. Ashman had already had a successful career in theater prior to joining the House of Mouse, working on the original productions of Little Shop of Horrors and Nine. But it's his trio of Disney animated blockbusters that would truly make Ashman a household name.
Howard will be available exclusively on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
Howard will feature footage from the production of movies like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, with the documentary's trailer featuring a few brief clips of him working with actors in the studio. The footage of the late writer brings a whole new meaning to the term Disney Vault, and shows how beloved movies came to fruition.
Aside from his professional life, Howard will also focus on the late writer's personal life, and his eventual death. Howard Ashman died in 1991 from heart failure , which was caused as a result of his battle with AIDS. He worked on projects like Beauty and the Beast while fighting the virus, with the Oscar winning movie dedicated to his memory.
Overall it looks like Howard is going to be a powerful documentary on Disney+, which will honor Howard Ashman's memory and legacy. While he didn't get to live long enough to see it, his work was beloved by generations of fans, especially the Disney animated blockbusters. Smart money says we should keep a box of tissues around for this one.
Howard will be released on Disney+ August 7th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.