Disney pacts with Menken
One of Disney’s top tunesmiths is expanding his kingdom.Composer Alan Menken has inked a multipic deal with Walt Disney/Touchstone Pictures that will cover his work for films and other arenas, including stage and theme park attractions. Menken, whose string of hits with the Mouse House began with 1989’s “The Little Mermaid,” will contribute five songs to and score the animated pic “Enchanted” as his first project under the deal. He’ll work with lyricist Stephen Schwartz, his collaborator on “Pocahontas” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Menken is also developing “The Frog Princess” for Disney Animation. He will also be taking on a number of live-action projects. For Disney Theatrical, he is in pre-production on the stage version of “Little Mermaid”; for Disney Creative Entertainment, he is creating tuner “The Snow Queen” for Tokyo DisneySea; and for Walt Disney Imagineering, he is writing music for a Sinbad attraction in Japan. Menken is also composing a score for the tuner adaptation of “Sister Act,” which will debut in October at the Pasadena Playhouse. “The only reason he hasn’t done more work for us in live action to date is because the rest of Disney keeps him so busy,” said Mitchell Leib, president of music and soundtracks for Walt Disney Pictures & Television/Buena Vista Music Group. Eight years ago, Menken signed a deal with Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Theatrical Prods. that allowed him to compose for Disney animated films and write songs for the studio’s live-action films. He was allowed to do only one other non-Disney live-action project every two years. Menken’s most recent score is for “The Shaggy Dog,” which opens March 10.