Alan Menken helped define Disney animation’s sound for decades—helping score some of the most beloved films of the company’s renaissance, and changing its soundtracks forever with The Little Mermaid’s establishment of the “I Want” song. But the legendary composer has only just snagged an Emmy for his work with the studio—and it’s for a Disney soundtrack you’re probably sleeping on.
Over the weekend, Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater snagged the Daytime Emmy for Best Original Song in a Children’s, Young Adult, or Animated Program for their work on Disney’s Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, the animated continuation of the 2010 film. The win was for “Waiting in the Wings” from the show’s second season, sung by Eden Espinosa, who plays Rapunzel’s handmaiden/guard captain/best friend/occasional frenemy, Cassandra, in the series.
Although Menken had previously received an honorary Primetime Emmy in 1990 for Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, this is his first win in a competitive Emmy category, making him only the 16th person ever to reach the laudable claim of the “EGOT”—that’s winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award. Menken has won eight Oscars and 11 Tonys for his work on the Disney films, namely The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and the original Tangled, and won a Tony award in 2012 for the stage production of Newsies (but sadly, he didn’t win for the Disney movie itself!). So it’s fitting then, that he caps off his EGOT run with another Disney score—and for one that’s actually really good.
Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure (which used to be simply titled Tangled: The Series) has been running since 2017 before wrapping up its third and final season earlier this year. Aside from being a surprisingly great continuation of where the movie left off, the soundtrack, featuring original songs from Menken and a score by Kevin Kliesch, is just jam-packed with some killer tunes that would be highlights of any Disney movie, let alone getting to exist as a regular occurrence on a Disney Channel kid’s show. Seriously, you have not lived until you’ve heard Jeremy Jordan (Newsies and Supergirl star!) and the rest of the cast—including Espinosa and the movie’s returning stars—belt out “Ready As I’ll Ever Be.”
It’s great! It’s almost what you could consider a “shame” that they’re being used on the show, rather than on the big screen, but hey: across its three seasons, we got way more songs than we would’ve gotten out of a Tangled 2: Rapunzel Boogaloo. At least Menken, Liesch, and Slater’s work is getting the recognition it deserves.
You can see the full list of winners from this year’s Children’s, Lifestyle, and Animation Daytime Emmys here.
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