Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who wrote the scores for “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and many others, is this year’s Billboard/THR TV & Film Conferences’ Maestro Award recipient. During Menken’s live interview with Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde yesterday (Oct. 24), “Glee” star Darren Criss made a surprise appearance — acoustic guitar in hand — and proceeded to serenade Menken.
What shared history do the two have? Well, Menken once handed a hundred dollar tip to a college kid doing an acoustic medley of his songs at a coffee shop. These days that “kid” is better known as Darren Criss.
Criss takes some rather radical lyrical liberties with Menken’s songs, joking about his “handsome royalty checks” and plethora of Oscars before performing a duet with Lea Salonga, the voice of Jasmine in “Aladdin.” And head over to Billboard.biz for more photos and a complete report on Criss’ performance .
After the impromptu performance, Criss sat down to discuss how his Menken ode came to be, the influence of Disney scores, “Glee,” and his Billboard cover. Watch below.