Alan Menken, a true living legend and the composer behind (amongst other things) Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, has now reached the legendary EGOT status with a Daytime Emmy win for his typically exemplary work on Tangled: The Series (for a song called “Waiting in the Wings”). He is one of only 16 artists who have achieved this threshold, having now won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Bow down to the King.
Menken was first nominated for an Oscar in 1987 for Little Shop of Horrors’ “Mean Green Mother from Outer Space” (a song specifically written for the big-screen version of the hit stage show) but wouldn’t win an Oscar until 1990 when he took home two – one for the score to The Little Mermaid and the other for “Kiss the Girl.” (That same year he won an honorary Emmy with his lyricist and close friend Howard Ashman, but apparently that doesn’t count towards your EGOT.) He would win six more Oscars in the years that followed, for music and songs from Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Pocahontas. (He’d be nominated for another six Oscars.)
While his scores for the lavish stage versions of Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Sister Act would be nominated for Tonys, his one and only win came from the underrated Newsies musical. (Seriously. It’s amazing.) While he was also nominated for the stage version of Little Shop of Horrors, his first Grammy wins would also correlate to The Little Mermaid, winning Best Recording for Children and Best Song Specifically Written for a Motion Picture or Television (for “Under the Sea”). He would win nine more Grammys and his score for Beauty and the Beast was nominated for Album of the Year, which is just staggering to think about these days.
On Twitter, Menken responded to the win (and to the outpouring of support and love from just about everyone): “Really proud of everyone who contributed to the TANGLED series,” Menken tweeted. “As far as me finally reaching my official EGOT status what can I say? I’m honored, thrilled and humbled.” (He also noted that he and Ashman had technically already received an Emmy, but still.)
Menken’s recent projects include last year’s live-action Aladdin (which grossed, incredibly, over $1 billion worldwide), this year’s Apple TV+ series Central Park (he wrote “Spoiler Alert!”) and the documentary Howard, about Ashman’s life, coming to Disney+ next week (Menken composed the score and is frequently interviewed). In development, Menken has Spellbound, the new animated film from Paramount Pictures and Skydance, currently slated for 2022; a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid from director Rob Marshall, featuring new songs Menken wrote with Lin-Manuel Miranda, which is set to start filming in London very soon; a live-action remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame overseen by Josh Gad; and sequels to both Enchanted and the live-action Aladdin. He’s also writing music and songs for the upcoming Gaston-led live-action series (starring Luke Evans and Gad). For the stage, Menken is working on a full-on Broadway version of the Hercules live show (based on the Disney animated musical) that premiered in Central Park last summer. So, Menken’s awards haul could significantly increase in the years ahead. He’s an unstoppable force of nature and he is showing no signs of slowing down.