‘Newsies’ Composer Alan Menken Learned He Got Razzie As He Won Oscars

  • Legendary composer Alan Menken found out he got a Razzie for worst song while winning two Oscars. 
  • The EGOT winner got the Razzie for “High Times, Hard Times” from the 1992 movie musical “Newsies.”
  • “Newsies” was a box-office flop, but Menken won a Tony for its Broadway adaptation 20 years later. 

Legendary composer Alan Menken told Insider he learned he’d won the title of worst original song while accepting two Academy Awards.

In 1992, Menken received a Razzie, a parody award that highlights industry lows, for “High Times, Hard Times,” which he created with lyricist Jack Feldman for the 1992 movie musical “Newsies.” The song was performed by Ann-Margret, who played Medda Larkson in the movie. 

“I found out that it won the Razzie Award for worst song of the year literally backstage when I was in the press room for having received the two Oscars for ‘Beauty and the Beast,'” he told Insider ahead of the film’s 30th anniversary.

The composer won the “Beauty and the Beast” Oscars for best original score and best original song.

“Razzies are really kind of a way to pinch people who are actually doing well and go ‘ha, ha, ha,’ so I took it as a badge of honor,” he told Insider.

“I loved winning the Razzie. I hardly think that ‘High Times, Hard Times’ is the pinnacle of my career. There were things about it that were a little ridiculous here and there.”

newsboys singing in Newsies

A still from the 1992 movie “Newsies.”

Walt Disney Pictures

“I loved the acknowledgment, even if it was a Razzie award,” he said. 

In a YouTube video shared by the Razzie Channel in 2019, Menken accepted the golden-raspberry award and placed it between five of his Grammys.

Menken was the first person to ever receive a Razzie and an Oscar in the same year, an honor he now shares with director Brian Helgeland and actress Sandra Bullock.

‘Newsies’ didn’t earn Menken any major accolades until it was adapted into a Broadway musical 20 years later

“Newsies” was famously a box-office flop, grossing $1.2 million against its $15 million budget. The 1992 movie has also not received any major awards. 

Menken told Insider that “Newsies” was the “poor, underprivileged child of the bunch” during his “renaissance time” of success composing music for Disney classics like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin” in the ’90s. Both films have won multiple Oscars and Grammys.

original broadway cast of newsies bowing on opening night

“Newsies” opened on Broadway in 2012.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Menken won a Tony award for best original score for “Newsies” when he worked on the Broadway adaptation of it 20 years later. “High Times, Hard Times” was one of few songs not included in the Broadway adaptation.

The composer is one of 16 people in the world who have won an EGOT — an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony. 

Read Insider’s 30th-anniversary retrospective on “Newsies” here.

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