Lyricist, playwright, and theater director Howard Ashman was most celebrated as part of the powerhouse songwriting team of Ashman and Menken with famed composer Alan Menken. The authors of such musicals as Broadway's Little Shop of Horrors (1982) and Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty and the Beast (1991), Ashman's Oscar- and Grammy-winning legacy was cut short by his death in 1991 at the age of 40. Born in Baltimore on May 17, 1950, Howard Elliott Ashman studied at Boston University before earning his master's degree from Indiana University in 1974. He then relocated to New York City, accepting a publishing job while moonlighting as a playwright. Dreamstuff, his musical adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, was soon produced at the WPA Theatre, where Ashman served as artistic director from 1976 to 1982. For the 1979 ...
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