Craig Zadan (April 15, 1949 – August 20, 2018) was an American producer, director, and writer. Working alone and with Neil Meron, his partner in the production company Storyline Entertainment, he produced such films as Footloose and such Broadway hits as Chicago.
|Born||April 15, 1949|
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Died||August 20, 2018 (aged 69)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Producer, director, writer|
|Alma mater||Hofstra University|
Zadan was born in Miami, Florida. He grew up in New York City, and attended Hofstra University. He wrote for New York magazine and also contributed articles to publications such as After Dark. He co-produced a Broadway tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Sondheim: A Musical Tribute, featuring Angela Lansbury and Alexis Smith in 1973. He wrote a book relating the "behind-the-scenes" of the musicals of composer Stephen Sondheim titled "Sondheim & Co." published in 1974, which has been updated with a subsequent edition and revisions until 1990. Meron invited Zadan to speak at a lecture series at Brooklyn College, and they became professional partners upon Meron's 1976 graduation. They worked for Joseph Papp at the Public Theater before going to California in the early 1980s to work for Peter Guber. He was openly gay.
Storyline Entertainment has had success with film musicals, such as Chicago (2003) and Hairspray. Andrea McArdle, who originated the title role in Annie on stage, featured prominently in Zadan's televised version. Chita Rivera appears in Chicago as "Nickie"; she played "Velma Kelly" in the original 1975 production.
The film adaptation of Hairspray featured John Waters (writer/director) as "the flasher who lives next door;" Jerry Stiller ("Wilbur Turnblad") as "Mr. Pinky;" and Ricki Lake ("Tracy") as a reporter. On the soundtrack, Lake joins Nikki Blonsky and Marissa Jaret Winokur ("Tracy" from the Broadway production) to sing "Mama I'm a Big Girl Now" over the closing credits, and Harvey Fierstein (Broadway's "Edna") can be heard briefly soon after. Mink Stole ("Tammy" in the original film) appears as the smoking woman on the street whom Waters flashes, and is also seen in the musical number, "Welcome to the 60s". Corey Reynolds ("Seaweed" in the Broadway production) appears on the soundtrack as singer of "Trouble on the Line."
Zadan and Meron produced the Academy Awards telecast from 2013 to 2015.
In 2008, Zadan and Meron were awarded the "Career Achievement Award" by the Casting Society of America. He has been nominated for the Emmy Award eight times, along with his co-executive producer Meron (and the respective producers).
The 85th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2012 and took place on February 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST. The ceremony was the first in the Academy's 85-year history to adopt the phrase "The Oscars" as the ceremony's official name during the broadcast and marketing. During the ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories. The ceremony was televised in the United States by ABC, and produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and directed by Don Mischer. Actor Seth MacFarlane hosted the show for the first time.In related events, the Academy held its 4th annual Governors Awards ceremony at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland Center on December 1, 2012. On February 9, 2013, in a ceremony at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by hosts Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana.Life of Pi won four awards including Best Director for Ang Lee. Argo won three awards, including Best Picture, the fourth film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture without its director nominated. Other winners included Les Misérables also with three awards, Django Unchained, Lincoln, and Skyfall with two, and Amour, Anna Karenina, Brave, Curfew, Inocente, Paperman, Searching for Sugar Man, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty with one. The telecast garnered more than 40 million viewers in the United States.86th Academy Awards
The 86th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2013 and took place on March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST. The ceremony was scheduled well after its usual late-February date to avoid conflicting with the 2014 Winter Olympics. During the ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories. The ceremony was televised in the United States by ABC, and produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan and directed by Hamish Hamilton. Actress Ellen DeGeneres hosted the show for the second time, having previously hosted the 79th ceremony held in 2007.In related events, the Academy held its 5th annual Governors Awards ceremony at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland Center on November 16, 2013. On February 15, 2014, in a ceremony at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by hosts Kristen Bell and Michael B. Jordan.12 Years a Slave won three awards including Best Picture. Gravity won the most awards with seven including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón. Other winners included Dallas Buyers Club also with three awards, Frozen, and The Great Gatsby with two, and Blue Jasmine, The Great Beauty, Helium, Her, The Lady in Number 6, Mr Hublot, and 20 Feet from Stardom with one. The telecast garnered nearly 44 million viewers in the United States, making it the most watched Oscar ceremony since the 72nd Academy Awards in 2000.87th Academy Awards
The 87th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2014 and took place on February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories. The ceremony was televised in the United States by ABC, produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan and directed by Hamish Hamilton. Actor Neil Patrick Harris hosted the ceremony for the first time.In related events, the Academy held its 6th Annual Governors Awards ceremony at the Grand Ballroom of the Hollywood and Highland Center on November 8, 2014. On February 7, 2015, in a ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by hosts Margot Robbie and Miles Teller.Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and The Grand Budapest Hotel each won four awards, with the former film earning the Best Picture honor. Other winners include Whiplash with three and American Sniper, Big Hero 6, Boyhood, Citizenfour, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, Feast, Ida, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, The Phone Call, Selma, Still Alice, and The Theory of Everything with one. The telecast garnered more than 37 million viewers in the United States.Bombshell (musical)
Bombshell is an American musical with music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman based on the original fictitious musical from the first season of the NBC television series Smash. The songs include soulful jazz anthems and upbeat pop songs. Bombshell is the life story of Marilyn Monroe. It tells the story of the aspiring starlet who transforms herself into a worldwide sex symbol, including her early life and her alleged affair with American President John F. Kennedy.
In the television series, Bombshell is an attempt by Smash characters Julia Houston (Debra Messing) and Tom Levitt (Christian Borle) to write their next Broadway sensation, with book and lyrics by Julia and music by Tom. Bombshell centers around Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, and Kennedy.
A soundtrack featuring the music from the musical was released in 2013. The songs were featured in a one-night charity concert, and the musical is being adapted to a real stage musical on Broadway.Cinderella (1997 film)
Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (also known as simply Cinderella) is a 1997 American musical fantasy television film produced by Walt Disney Television, directed by Robert Iscove and written by Robert L. Freedman. Based on the French fairy tale by Charles Perrault, the film is the second remake and third version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, which originally aired on television in 1957. Adapted from Oscar Hammerstein II's book, Freedman modernized the script to appeal to more contemporary audiences by updating its themes, particularly re-writing its main character into a stronger heroine. Co-produced by Whitney Houston, who also appears as Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, the film stars Brandy in the titular role and features a racially diverse cast consisting of Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, Veanne Cox, Natalie Desselle, Victor Garber and Paolo Montalban.
Following the success of the 1993 television adaptation of the stage musical Gypsy (1959), Houston approached Gypsy's producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron about starring in a remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella for CBS. However, development was delayed for several years, during which time the network grew disinterested in the project. By the time the film was greenlit by Disney for ABC, Houston felt that she had outgrown the title role, which she offered to Brandy instead. The decision to use a color-blind casting approach originated among the producers to reflect how society had evolved by the 1990s, with Brandy becoming the first black actress to portray Cinderella on screen. Among the most significant changes made to the musical, several songs from other Rodgers and Hammerstein productions were interpolated into the film to augment its score. With a production budget of $12 million, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella ranks among the most expensive television films ever made.
Heavily promoted to re-launch the anthology series The Wonderful World of Disney, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella premiered on ABC on November 2, 1997 to generally lukewarm reviews from critics. While most reviewers praised the film's costumes, sets and supporting cast, particularly Peters, Alexander and Goldberg, television critics were divided over Brandy and Houston's performances, as well as Disney's more feminist approach to Brandy's character. Cinderella proved a major ratings success, originally airing to 60 million viewers and establishing itself as the most-watched television musical in decades, earning ABC its highest Sunday-night ratings in 10 years. Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella was nominated for several industry awards, including seven Primetime Emmy Awards, winning one for Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program. The program's success inspired Disney and ABC to produce several similar musical projects. Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella is regarded by contemporary critics as a groundbreaking film due to the unprecedented diversity of its cast and Brandy's role.GLAAD Vito Russo Award
The GLAAD Vito Russo Award is a special GLAAD Media Award presented annually by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. It is named in honor of Vito Russo, a founding member of GLAAD, and presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community.Hairspray (2007 film)
Hairspray is a 2007 musical romantic comedy film based on the 2002 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was based on John Waters's 1988 comedy film of the same name. The film was a British-American venture produced by Ingenious Media and Zadan/Meron Productions. Adapted from both Waters's 1988 script and Thomas Meehan and Mark O'Donnell's book for the stage musical by screenwriter Leslie Dixon, the 2007 film version of Hairspray was directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman and has an ensemble cast including John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden, Queen Latifah, Brittany Snow, Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley, Allison Janney, and Nikki Blonsky in her feature film debut. Set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, the film follows the "pleasantly plump" teenager Tracy Turnblad as she pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation.
The film began development in 2004, and Dixon reworked Meehan and O'Donnell's first draft of the screenplay to tone down the musical's campiness. In 2005, Shankman agreed to direct the film. Composer/lyricist Marc Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman reworked their songs from the Broadway musical for the film's soundtrack, and also wrote four new songs for the film. Principal photography commenced in September 2006 with a budget of $75 million, and ended in December of that year; filming took place on locations in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and on soundstages at Toronto's Showline Studios. Recording sessions for the film's songs and soundtrack took place in Los Angeles, California in the United States.
Hairspray premiered on July 13, 2007 at the Mann Village Theater and was released on July 20, 2007 in the United Kingdom and the United States. The film was a critical and financial success, breaking the record for biggest sales at opening weekend for a movie musical, which the film held until July 2008 when it was surpassed by Mamma Mia! and later High School Musical 3: Senior Year in October. Hairspray went on to become the tenth highest grossing musical film in US cinema history, behind the film adaptations of Grease, Chicago, and Mamma Mia!, and stands as one of the most critically and commercially successful musical films of the last decade. Available in a variety of formats, Hairspray's Region 1 home video release took place on November 20, 2007. USA Network purchased the broadcast rights to Hairspray and was scheduled to debut the film on cable television in February 2010, but in the end it did not broadcast that month, instead the film was pushed back and premiered on USA on July 24, 2010, with sister channel Bravo also showing it multiple times, and in February 2011 aired on ABC for over-the-air broadcasts.Hairspray Live!
Hairspray Live! is a television special that aired live on NBC on December 7, 2016. Produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and hosted by Darren Criss, it is a performance of a new adaptation of the 2002 Broadway musical Hairspray.Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert is an American musical television special that was broadcast live on NBC on April 1, 2018 (Easter Sunday). Executive produced by Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, and Marc Platt, it was a staged concert performance of the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar.Living Proof (film)
Living Proof is a 2008 Lifetime Television film, directed by Dan Ireland, starring Harry Connick, Jr.
The film is based on the true life story of Dr. Dennis Slamon and the book HER-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer by Robert Bazell. Vivienne Radkoff wrote the film script, and is also one of the film's executive producers. Renée Zellweger is another executive producer, together with Neil Meron and Craig Zadan.
Tammy Blanchard, Amanda Bynes, Jennifer Coolidge, Angie Harmon, John Benjamin Hickey, Regina King, Swoosie Kurtz, Paula Cale Lisbe, Amy Madigan, Bernadette Peters, and Trudie Styler are featured in the supporting cast.
The film premiered on October 18, 2008, for Lifetime's "Stop Breast Cancer for Life" public service and advocacy campaign, during the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.A red carpet premiere evening screening took place in New York on September 24, 2008, with a reception following with Harry Connick, Jr. and Bernadette Peters performing. Subsequent screenings took place in Washington, D.C. (September 25), Los Angeles (October 7), and London (October 9).Neil Meron
Neil Meron (born October 26, 1955) is an American film producer known for producing the 2002 film Chicago and the 2007 film Hairspray. With partner Craig Zadan he ran the production company Storyline Entertainment until Zadan's death in 2018. Meron continues to run the company.Peter Pan Live!
Peter Pan Live! is a television special that was broadcast by NBC on December 4, 2014. The special featured a live production of the 1954 musical adaptation of Peter Pan, televised from Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York, starring Allison Williams in the title role and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.
The production was a follow-up to The Sound of Music Live!—a similar adaptation of The Sound of Music which aired on NBC in December 2013 and brought the network's highest Thursday-night ratings since 2004. NBC's entertainment head Bob Greenblatt would sign Craig Zadan and Neil Meron—who served as the executive producers of the special, to produce another live musical for the 2014 holiday season. Additionally, the production served as a follow-up to three productions of Peter Pan produced for NBC in 1955, 1956, and 1960 that featured cast members from its original Broadway run. While similar in content to the original, the version of Peter Pan featured in the special contained revisions to its book to emphasize the character of Captain Hook, along with additional songs from its revivals, new songs adapted from the musicals Do Re Mi and Say, Darling, and the restoration of a song that had been cut from the musical before its original Broadway premiere.Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie
This is a list of the winners of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie, which is awarded since 1992. The category was originally called Outstanding Drama or Comedy Special.In 1991, Outstanding Drama or Comedy Special category was merged with Outstanding Miniseries category to form Outstanding Drama or Comedy Special and Miniseries and the number of nominations increased from five to six. For this year, two miniseries had competed with four "made for television movies". The following year, 1992, the new category was split to re-form the Outstanding Miniseries and Outstanding Made for Television Movie categories.
In 2011, the category was merged with the Outstanding Limited Series category to create the Outstanding Miniseries or Movie category. However, in 2014, the decision was reversed, and the separate Miniseries and Television Movie categories were reinstated. Rules were also changed in 2019 requiring at least a 75-minute runtime for movies to be eligible.In the history of this category, there has been four incidents of ties. The first occurred in 1976 when Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years tied with Sybil, the second occurred in 1989 when Day One tied with Roe vs. Wade, the third occurred in 1990 when Caroline? tied with The Incident, and the fourth occurred in 1993 when Barbarians at the Gate tied with Stalin.Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special (Live)
The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special (Live) is awarded to one live television special each year. The award was presented as Outstanding Special Class Program until it was restructured for the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.In the following list, the first titles listed in gold are the winners; those not in gold are nominees, which are listed in alphabetical order. The years given are those in which the ceremonies took place.Sing (1989 film)
Sing is a 1989 American drama film directed by Richard J. Baskin, written by Dean Pitchford (who also co-wrote the songs) and produced by Craig Zadan (both previously collaborated on Footloose), and starring Lorraine Bracco, Peter Dobson, and Jessica Steen.
The film follows a fictional New York City SING! production. The supporting cast includes Louise Lasser, George DiCenzo, Patti LaBelle, Yank Azman, Ingrid Veninger, and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Sing was released in the United States on March 31, 1989. It received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office bomb, grossing only $2.3 million from an $11.5 million budget.The Sound of Music Live!
The Sound of Music Live! is a television special that was originally broadcast by NBC on December 5, 2013. Produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the special was an adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway musical The Sound of Music. The television special starred country singer and American Idol winner Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp, and was performed and televised live from Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York.
Spearheaded by NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt, the network positioned the special as being a live television "event". In preparing for the broadcast, Meron and Zadan emphasized the logistical challenges that they would face due to the live aspects of the special, and the fact that The Sound of Music Live! was an adaptation based on the musical itself and not the 1965 film version. Meron felt that if the telecast were successful, the concept could become "another kind of entertainment that can exist on TV." By her request, Underwood's casting as Maria was personally endorsed by Julie Andrews, who starred in the 1965 film.
The production was met with mixed reviews; much of its criticism was directed towards the casting of Carrie Underwood to play Maria, whom critics (including the real-life von Trapp family) believed was not experienced enough in theatre to portray such an iconic role. While her vocal performance was praised, her acting was described by critics as "amateur", "lifeless" and lacking emotion. The production was a ratings success for NBC; with a total of 18.62 million live viewers, The Sound of Music Live! brought the network its highest Thursday night viewership for an entertainment program since the series finale of Frasier in 2004, and prompted NBC to sign Zadan and Meron on to produce more live musicals for the network in the future.The Wiz Live!
The Wiz Live! is a television special that aired live on NBC on December 3, 2015. Produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, it is a performance of a new adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz, a soul/R&B reinterpretation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The broadcast is performed live from Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York. This adaptation of the musical combines aspects of both the Broadway play and its 1978 film adaptation.Wedding Wars
Wedding Wars is a 2006 American-Canadian made-for-television LGBT romantic comedy film directed by Jim Fall and starring John Stamos, Eric Dane, Bonnie Somerville, James Brolin and Sean Maher. Executive produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, the film was written by Stephen Mazur. It premiered in the US on December 11, 2006 on A&E.Stamos portrays gay wedding planner Shel, who is prompted to speak out for his own right to marry when his brother Ben's (Dane) boss and future father-in-law Governor Welling (Brolin) speaks out publicly against gay marriage.Stamos appeared on the cover of the LGBT news magazine The Advocate to promote Wedding Wars. The film was well-received, and it is the first of its kind to explore gay marriage.Zhadan
Zhadan or Zadan (Russian or Ukrainian: Жадан) is a gender-neutral Slavic surname that may refer to
Craig Zadan (1949–2018), American producer, director, and writer
Maria Zhadan (born 1983), Russian volleyball player
Serhiy Zhadan (born 1974), Ukrainian poet, novelist, essayist, and translator