Howard Ashman was the composer of the wonderful music for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin. He unfortuantely died after he got the oscar for TLM and didn't get to see Beauty be released. He wrote the music for the play based on an old movie called Little Shop of Horrors, Frank Oz made a film out of that. And films to plays to films hasn't ended: The Producers and upcoming Hairspray.
Here he is showing much passion along with Jodi Benson (Ariel) as the songs where a part of him and many in the doc admit that it has hard to find someone could beat Howard's demos. Howard is behind a lot of the nuances in the film. Certain ways the voice would sound in the song would be his input. The only smart thing Katzenberg did was have a second recording session to catch those nuances.
Pat Carroll who did the voice for Urusla admits she 'stole' how Ashman said 'Isn't it' as 'Innit?' for Ursula and other such.
Howard was quite a looker.
Also interesting to mention, Howard rewrote some scenes for the duo for the movie. One scene he wrote was where Sebastian makes a turning point and decides to go on Ariel's side to help her. Everyone felt he did it of the sudden so the scene was designed for it. It is the scene where she holds him in her hands and he ;ppls at her face of dispair and realizes that she 'will be miserable.' Another was at the end where instead of just a silent scene where Triton makes Ariel a human, he wrote where he says, "How much I will miss her."
They didn't go out and say Howard was gay or what was the cause of his death but they did put 'partner of Howard Ashman' under Bill Lauch. He accepted some awards in Howard's behalf. But I'm happy they atleast put 'partner'. If you're wondering, Bill died of AIDS in the early 90's.
In watching the movie again, I notice not only many Broadway-ness of the movie but also some gay innuendo. That is not a bad thing and I'm not saying the movie has sublimial messages, it just feels knowable by me, maybe something only gay people or people in the know would get.
Howard once said how honored he was he could write music for Disney and how his legacy will live on and it does every night as Jodi sings to her children 'the mermaid song.' You will be remembered very fondly by me.