STAGE TO SCREENS: Broadway's Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Set the Oscar Broadcast to Music

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20 Feb 2013

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron
Photo by Charles Sykes/NBC

Hollywood, TV and Broadway producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are producing the 2013 Academy Awards show, airing Feb. 24. During a busy week, Playbill caught up with the duo that helped shape "Chicago," "Smash," How to Succeed... and Promises, Promises.


When you hire Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to produce your awards ceremony, you're going to get a certain level of showbiz with the package. After all, these two men, for all their movie and television credentials, originally hail from the theatre, and still retain a foothold in that world (including recent Broadway revivals of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Promises, Promises). It would be unthinkable to them to create a show that didn't possess a considerable dose of razzmatazz. So viewers of the 2013 Academy Award broadcast on Feb. 24 should expect one of the singing-est Oscars in history.

"The show will be very different from usual, in that there is more entertainment than in previous shows," said Zadan in a recent interview. "There's more music than has been on the Oscars in a very long time."

Appropriately, the theme of the program will be music in movies. There will be a celebration of the movie musicals of the past decade and a tribute the the James Bond franchise, which turned 50 in 2012. Even the host, "Family Guy" and "Ted" creator Seth McFarlane, will sing, swinging his way through a McFarlane-penned big band number with Norah Jones by his side.

"I think they expected us to be showmen," said Meron, when asked why he thought the Academy hired him and his business partner to produce the show. "I think the reason is because we have a history in producing feature films, like 'Chicago,' and television, like 'Smash,' and live musicals, like How to Succeed. So the combination of all that made them think we'd be good to produce the Oscars."

The job was not one Zadan and Meron sought. "We didn't solicit it, we didn't go after it, we didn't campaign for it," said Zadan. "We were minding our own business, doing all our own shows. The only situation similar to this is when we got the call out of the blue from Steven Spielberg saying, 'I'm going to do a show that I sold and I want you to produce with me,' and that was 'Smash.' That was one of those calls where you go, 'Oh My God.' And this was one of those calls."


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