Alan Menken Q&A: ‘Sausage Party’ composer
“I didn’t know what to expect,” admits Alan Menken during our recent webcam chat (watch above) when talking about “Sausage Party,” the outrageous, R-rated animated comedy from Seth Rogen. Directed by Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, this Columbia Pictures release centers on Frank (voiced by Rogen), a sausage who leads a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth of their existence. The legendary tunesmith co-wrote the score with Christopher Lennertz and penned an original song, “The Great Beyond,” with lyricist Glenn Slater and co-writers Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
Menken intended “The Great Beyond” to be, “a wink at one of those Disney opening numbers,” he has become so famous for. He and Slater worked on the song for over a year, trying to find, “what was going to connect up with the audience that loves ‘Sausage Party,’ and loves Seth’s sensibility.” Initially, he reveals, “we went to the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ place. We were being very clever, and rhyme oriented. I had three counter-melodies, and of course, a lot of profanity.” Over time, “we refined the humor,” receiving input from Rogen and his team.
With eight Oscars (Song and Score for “The Little Mermaid” , “Beauty and the Beast” , “Aladdin” , and “Pocahontas” ), 11 Grammy Awards (two for “Little Mermaid,” three for “Beauty and the Beast,” four for “Aladdin,” one for “Pocahontas,” and one for “Tangled” ), and a Tony for his original score to “Newsies” (2012), Menken is one of the most rewarded composers in history. In fact, he’s just one Emmy win away from becoming the 13th person to claim the EGOT. Is Oscar #9 next for “Sausage Party?”