Part of His World

The thing that's moved me the most with this site is the response from so many people who never knew Howard and yet feel that he's been so much a part of their lives, especially their childhoods. It moves me, too, to know that Howard helped influence a new generation of writers, composers, directors and actors.


  • I really love your website, Ms. Ashman. I think it's such a great tribute to Howard, Howard's legacy and your relationship with Howard. Keep it up!!
  • Wow, thank you. Howard gave me so many gifts during his life - I feel that the response to this website has been another.
  • Howard's gift is one that keeps on giving even now, and you're doing an amazing job at facilitating its growth by providing invaluable context. Thank you!
  • Wow, thank you. Howard gave me so many gifts during his life - I feel that the response to this website has been another.
  • Howard was nothing short of a genius, Ms. Ashman. His ability to understand and so radically change styles etc is something I have only seen in Sondheim's work. I am frustrated by the fact his work and story isnt so widely available but am so pleased to see you create this website in his honour. The website is amazing! Are there any outlets where we can see him at work? either in the studio or backstage? I have seen Waking Sleeping Beauty and was so impressed by him! :) Thanks Joe
  • Hi Joe, Some of the footage in Waking Sleeping Beauty was even news to me. I don't know of much more of him at work. 60 Minutes followed Smile as it prepared for Broadway and there's some material there though not as much as I'd like.

    Howard was a pretty private guy. One time, after Little Shop broke, a publicist asked him if he wanted to be famous, because she could make that happen. He said no thank you. I'm trying to honor that while still getting his story out (and making sure he gets his due). It's not an easy balance.

    Thanks for writing.

  • Is it true that Howard didn't want to move "Little Shop" to broadway, despite its successes, because he thought it belonged off-Broadway in a small theatre. If that's true, I couldn't agree more. Little Shop is such an intimate show. the audience really needs to connect with the characters, and need to feel like a plant's eating them by the end.

    I only wish it could have been on Broadway in the 1980's because i'm sure it would have one a whole lot of Tonys!
  • Yes, he thought it should remain intimate. He also felt that the NY critics wouldn't like him on Broadway, that his sensibility worked better under the radar. He gave some interviews to that effect, I'll see if I can find them to post.
  • I definitely agree that a show like Little Shop plays better to 500 people rather than 1600. Did you see the broadway production that came out a few years ago and how do you think it compared to the original production? Also, what were your thoughts upon seeing Little Shop when it first came out

    *random side note: but I got to see Rob Bartlett (who played Mushnik in the broadway production a few years ago, in How to Succeed yesterday. Fantastic actor and hilarious Mushnik)
  • Frankly, I thought every show Howard did was going to be his big breakout so I just thought the same of Little Shop. Finally, I was right! One of my favorite moments - in a preview Orin's dentists chair failed to roll on - Howard just quietly walked out with a straight back chair, put it down and walked off. And the scene began...
  • Did Howard do the voiceover during the Prologue in the actual show? I remember reading somewhere that he did it on the cast album.
  • Yes, that's him on the cast album and he recorded the vo for the show as well. He also sings Big Bob on the Smile CD that's floating around.
  • edited June 2011
    I found this site while looking for something, it might have been for info on if there were anymore demos out there, and I was astonished at how awesome this site is. I love it. :)
  • edited June 2011
    Also, did Howard voice Burnside ("from NBC") during "The Meek Shall Inherit" on the original cast album for Little Shop? Because it sounds alot like him to me.
  • I just listened to "The Meek Shall Inherit" again, and it sure does sound like Howard. I'd be really surprised if it's not! (Incidentally, I THINK the character is called "Bernstein." I'm not 100% sure, though.)
  • That's Howard all right, and that's Bernstein.
  • Do you know if Howard as Bernstein that was just a fun little cameo for the cast recording or if the actor who usually played Orin and Everybody Else (i think it was Franc Luz) was able to perform that part on the album
  • Not sure of the question. I don't really know why Howard did Bernstein on the album.
  • I always assumed it was because the joke of the one actor playing the different roles complete with rapid fire costume changes doesn't really work on an album where you can't see anything.
  • Makes sense to me.
  • Speaking of The Meek Shall Inherit, the whole feel of the song really seems to tie into Howard's desire to not be famous.
  • I wouldn't say that Howard didn't want to be famous as much as he just wasn't interested in it one way or the other. It wasn't his motivation for his work.
  • 'Part of His World', that is the best name for this website, I love it!
  • Thank you. I'd been saving it for a memoir but what the heck...
  • edited January 2012
    Oh kinda late but I forgot to congratulate this site on one year online! I found it when I saw this article last January...


    ...and I've had it bookmarked ever since
  • Thank you. It's never too late for congratulations!
  • Originally, I didn't know of Howard Ashman and his work. Soon, when I found out about how he wrote lyrics for some of my favorite Disney animated features, I couldn't help but feel a debt of gratitude to a man who made such timeless characters accessible through the art of prose. Now he has become a source of inspiration for me and my future as a composer/lyricist of my own work, maybe even taking it as far as writing songs for the Disney company. But first, I gotta start off-Broadway (I sense a pattern emerging here). Again, an amazing human being with whom I would've given anything to meet and talk with.
  • Thanks for you comment and welcome to Feed Me.
  • Hi, Ms. Ashman.
    If you will allow me to do so, I would like to put forward a requiem to Howard, one of my own invention, with verses set to the tunes of (in this order) "For Good" (Wicked), "If I Never Knew You" (Pocahontas), and last, but definitely not least, "Part of Your World". Here goes:

    Verse 1: I've heard it said that we are put on Planet Earth for a reason
    Bringing things people must learn
    It is the will of the gods that we all do our part to make life livable
    And we help people to grow
    Never before were words so true
    We all are where we are today because we knew you
    Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes the Sun
    Like a fig seed dropped by a hornbill in a tropical wood
    You touched our lives and changed them for the better
    Because we knew you, and because we loved you
    The world has changed for good

    Verse 2: If we never knew you
    Were it not for your great vision
    We would never ever know how precious life can be
    We're all so grateful to you
    We'd have lived our whole lives through
    Empty as the sky
    But never knowing why
    We'd be lost forever if we never knew you

    Verse 3: Thanks for brightening the world with music and magic
    Giving a soul to a beast and a voice to a mermaid
    The flame that you stoked long ago shall burn forever and on
    Now, you are gone, and you will be missed
    But now you shine bright among the stars up above
    (spoken) Howard Elliott Ashman
    (sung) Farewell, dear friend
    You'll always be part of our world

    (All rights go to Disney, Universal, etc.)

    All the best, and hoping that your brother's legacy will continue for thousands of years to come, Howard's devoted fan,
    Jordan Salim Hashemi-Briskin

  • Your website is amazing Sarah! :)
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