Music Monday: Our Favorite Alan Menken Songs

In honor of award-winning composer/songwriter Alan Menken’s birthday, we’re featuring his music in our first Music Monday post. We had the pleasure of seeing Alan Menken live in concert earlier this year in March and got to hear quite a few of our favorite Disney songs there.

Menken is best known for his work on many Disney films, including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and more. He’s also done several musicals, such as Little Shop of Horrors and A Bronx Tale. With such an extensive resume, it’s no surprise he has won numerous Academy Awards, Golden Globes, Grammys, and one Tony Award.

Like most people, we discovered Alan Menken and his work while we were kids by watching Disney movies, so most of our favorite Alan Menken songs are from Disney movies. Quite a few Disney animated movies have been turned into Broadway musicals, and songs are often added for the stage version. Even though we have yet to watch a Disney Broadway show, we love many of the Broadway-exclusive songs. We can’t wait to see what new songs Menken will release next, such as those for the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. But for now, we’ll keep listening to the following favorites. Continue reading

Broadway Adventures: My My, A Whole New Journey To the Past!

The last few weeks have been rather busy for us as we ended March by going to an Alan Menken concert, began April with watching the national tour production of Anastasia, and watched a regional production of Mamma Mia! about two weeks ago.

On March 30, we attended “A Whole New World of Alan Menken” to hear the legendary composer and songwriter―best known for his work with Disney―perform some of his most popular songs at the Auditorium Theatre in downtown Chicago. He played a little bit of everything, from “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid to “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors to the skit song Captain America and the dancers perform to in Captain America: The First Avenger. He also told some stories about his career, how he collaborated with other well-known songwriters, how various songs came to be, and how he got to work on certain projects.

A lot of what we already knew about Menken concerned his involvement with various projects, but we didn’t know much about the collaborations he had or much about his personal life. So it was really great to learn more about a person whose music has brought us so much joy throughout the years. It was also cool learning more about his work that were unfamiliar with, such as Sister Act the Musical and the television show Galavant. We’re especially appreciative of the time he took to perform a show in Chicago, because he said his mom had just passed a few days prior.

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Broadway Adventures: Songs of Female Empowerment

Photo credit Joan Marcus

Songs in musicals are not only entertaining but play integral roles in telling stories, explaining situations, and detailing how characters are feeling. In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re featuring some songs from Broadway musicals that are sung by female characters and show strong emotions while conveying a message of feminism and female empowerment. Continue reading