The cancellation of ABC’s fairy tale musical comedy “Galavant” after two seasons came as no surprise to composer Alan Menken, who’s still competing for best song Emmy consideration with “A New Season” romp and exploring a potential stage spin-off.
“There are people in theatrical circles who think that young audiences in colleges and community theater will [go for this] over time,” said Menken. “So we have to figure out a way of bringing this to the stage. That’s where it is now.
“I look at my experience on ‘Newsies,'” Menken continued, “which was a hideous flop, and 20 years later it’s beyond a cult classic and that led to it becoming a [Tony Award-winning] Broadway show.”
For Menken, “Galavant” (created by Dan Fogelman as a mid-season replacement for “Once Upon a Time”) was the perfect vehicle to indulge in self-parody while honing his collaboration with lyricist Glenn Slater.
“For me, the joy of the show was how eclectic I got to be as a composer and all the different styles,” added Menken, who indulges in further parody with his score and song, “The Great Beyond,” for “Sausage Party,” Seth Rogen’s R-rated send-up of animation (opening August 12).
“It could go anywhere — an homage to The Beatles and Queen to a piece of Yiddish theater or a disco number that could’ve been out of ‘My Fair Lady’ or the MGM movies, but all of them tongue-in-cheek. And Glenn and I churned them out — 60 songs — that’s crazy!”
And none was crazier than “A New Season,” which celebrated the shock of being renewed. “We’re excoriating ourselves, and the whole tone of the song is pure TV special with each of the actors doing kick lines,” Menken continued. “When they asked what song we wanted to put up for consideration, it wasn’t an easy choice. But of all of them, this is the one that encapsulates our mission.”
Meanwhile, on a more serious note, Menken finds himself coming full circle with Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” live-action adaptation directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens (opening March 17, 2017). In addition to scoring the music, Menken and Tim Rice have written three new songs, including “Days in the Sun,” in which the enchanted objects remember being human, and “Forever More,” in which Stevens’ Beast rejoices about falling in love.
“I don’t mind the gift [that keeps on giving], but I’m a very hands-on guy and if they want to add songs, then I have to be involved,” Menken noted.