For Your Playbill

HOWARD ASHMAN (Book and Lyrics), 1950-1991, is best known as a pivotal creative mind behind the Disney animation renaissance with such films as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and The Beast (which is dedicated “to our friend, Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul”)

 Mr. Ashman’s first love was theater; he was a founder of Off-Off-Broadway’s renowned WPA Theatre, where he conceived, wrote, and directed God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, as well as the classic musical Little Shop of Horrors (both with music by Alan Menken). In 1986 he wrote and directed the Broadway musical Smile (music by Marvin Hamlisch). Lamented as a lost treasure of the 1980s theater scene, Smile remains popular on high school and college campuses throughout the country. Howard Sings Ashman, a compilation of Mr. Ashman’s recorded demos is available from PS Classics. His papers are in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress.  Mr. Ashman died in 1991 of complications of AIDS.