Howard submitted his original treatment for an animated Aladdin to Disney in early 1988, almost a year before The Little Mermaid was released. Work on the film began as soon as Mermaid wrapped, but after an early screening for Jeffrey Katzenberg, it was scrubbed. Howard was disappointed and even briefly considered asking Disney for the rights to his original concept so that he could recreate it as a children’s theater piece. Instead, Howard went to work on another film, Beauty and The Beast.
After the success of Beauty, Disney revived the idea of an animated retelling of the Aladdin tale. Howard was only able to work on this revised version for a short time before his death. This time the film was done with a different story line but three songs Howard and Alan Menken had written for the original treatment (“Friend Like Me,” “Prince Ali,” and “Arabian Nights”) remained in the film. Additional songs were written to suit the new storyline by Menken and Sir Tim Rice.
In 1992, the film opened to great critical and commercial acclaim, adding a third success to the Disney animation renaissance that, with Howard’s help, began with The Little Mermaid. After the film won Oscars for Best Score and Best Song (for “A Whole New World”, written by Menken and Rice), Sir Tim Rice wrote to Howard’s sister Sarah that “without the great talent and inspiration of Howard I would not have been thus honored.” He went on to say “his work will never die.”
Going back to Howard’s original material, Disney revised Aladdin for Broadway. Coming full circle, the new creative team restored many of Howard’s original concepts and brought back the Ashman/Menken songs that had been cut from the original film, including the popular "Proud of Your Boy".
Productions & Awards
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker
Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Music by Alan Menken
NOTABLE STAGE PRODUCTIONS
Opened on Broadway in 2014
London West End May 2016
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1992)
Broadway Cast Recording (2014)
The film won 2 Oscars & 3 Golden Globes (and garnered 27 more wins and 22 nominations)
The Broadway musical was nominated for six Tony Awards, and won one. It was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.