On This Day (March 14) in 1991, Howard Ashman who wrote the lyrics for “Beauty and the Beast” passed away at age 40 from complications due to AIDS. He also wrote the lyrics for The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. While finishing “Beauty and the Beast” his health began to decline due to his illness. He grew weaker but he remained productive and continued to write and he completed the lyrical work on “Beauty and the Beast” before succumbing to AIDS. The film was released mere months after his death and is dedicated to him. “Beauty and the Beast” is dedicated “To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful. Howard Ashman 1950–1991.
I’d like to dedicate this performance to my dear friends Peggy and Dan, who treated my new wife and I to an unforgettable performance of the play at the Schubert Theatre in Los Angeles in 1995.