Alan Menken: On Adaptations

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2013 edition of The Dramatist.

Alan Menken

When it comes to adapting a play, film, or a book into a musical, there are a number of questions I always ask myself.


1. Will this material be enhanced by musical adaptation?

2. Is there anything about the tone, the attitude, the time period, or the world of the story that suggests an interesting and original songwriting palette?

3. Is the basic dramatic arc compatible with the structural needs of a musical?

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Alan Menken
Alan Menken

’s theatre and film musicals include Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Enchanted, Tangled, Sister Act, Leap of Faith, Newsies, and Disenchanted. In 2020, he earned EGOT status having won an Emmy, eleven Grammys, eight Oscars, and a Tony for Best Score.