Academy and Grammy award-winning composer Alan Menken and Tony- and Academy award-winning lyricist Sir Tim Rice were inducted into NYU’s Musical Theater Hall of Fame on November 14, at an event at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts. Menken, an NYU alumnus, and Rice were on hand for a gala performance of their musical King David, produced by NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.
Directed by Bill Wesbrooks and featuring a cast of 20, a 25-voice choir, and a 65-piece orchestra of music performance majors from NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, King David presents the life of the biblical monarch David, from his youth to his slaying of Goliath, to his role as ruler of Israel.
Presenting the award to Menken and Rice was L. Jay Oliva, president emeritus of NYU, Lawrence Ferrara, director of Steinhardt music studies, and Mary Brabeck, dean of NYU Steinhardt. Menken and Rice are among the Hall of Fame’s 33 honorees, “the most successful music makers and dreamers whose accomplishments inspire us,” said Oliva.
Upon accepting the award, Menken said, “It’s been tremendous to revisit this work and see it at NYU.” Rice added, “To work with young people on the foothills of success is particularly rewarding.”
The Musical Theater Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1993 by President Oliva to help perpetuate and strengthen an original and important American cultural art form, musical theatre. Past inductees include Leonard Bernstein, Carol Channing, George and Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern, Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe, Mary Martin, Ethel Merman, and Richard Rodgers.