Zadan and Meron Projects Include Peter Pan TV Movie and New Stage Musical

By Andrew Gans
and Robert Simonson
August 6, 2007

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the producing team behind the Oscar-winning film of Chicago and the current, acclaimed movie of Hairspray, confirmed that they will create a new version of Peter Pan for the small screen.

Variety had previously reported the duo was at work on a TV Peter Pan. Zadan told NY1's "On Stage," "Our next musical that we're going to do is for TV. We're going to do Peter Pan. No one's ever made a movie musical of the Mary Martin Peter Pan. [The previous televised version] was on videotape." Although the title role has yet to be cast, Zadan added, "We would never break the tradition of casting a woman in it. . . because it was written for Mary Martin and it was conceived for a woman, and we wouldn't think of changing that."

Zadan and Meron whose stage-to-screen credits also include the Alicia Morton-Audra McDonald "Annie," the Bette Midler "Gypsy" and the Matthew Broderick-Kristin Chenoweth "The Music Man" said they are also planning to produce their first original Broadway stage musical. "We're negotiating a property to do our stage debut," Meron told NY1, although he declined to name the property.

A film version of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods, which had been in pre-production a "number of years ago," is currently off Zadan and Meron's list of projects. The producers said the head of Columbia Pictures had greenlit the movie musical on a Friday but was subsequently fired the following Monday. A starry reading of the Into the Woods film had been presented in L.A. Composer Sondheim attended the reading, which, according to Zadan and Meron, featured Robin Williams as the Baker, Goldie Hawn (filling in for Meryl Streep, who missed her flight) as the Baker's Wife, Cher as the Witch, Danny DeVito as the Giant, Steve Martin as the Wolf, Roseanne Barr as Jack's Mother and Elijah Wood as Jack.

Peter Pan, which is based on the play by James M. Barrie, has lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, music by Mark Charlap with additional music by Jule Styne and additional lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. It first played on Broadway in 1954 with Mary Martin in the title role. It returned for a long run in 1979 with Sandy Duncan as the boy who won't grow up. Revivals in 1990, 1991, 1998 and 1999 all starred Cathy Rigby. Martin's performance was captured on television in 1955.