Broadway Remembers Producer Craig Zadan | Playbill

Industry News Broadway Remembers Producer Craig Zadan
The longtime producer, along with his collaborator Neil Meron, worked on NBC's live musicals, the Chicago film adaptation, and more.
John Legend and Craig Zadan Evans Vestal Ward/NBC

The beloved and prolific producer Craig Zadan passed away August 21. Zadan, along with his producing partner Neil Meron, are often noted as bringing Broadway back to the mainstream, beginning with the Bette Midler-led Gypsy airing on CBS in 1993. Shortly after came Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, starring Brandy and Whitney Houston, airing on ABC in 1997. In 1999, their made-for-television adaptation of Annie aired on ABC, featuring a host of Broadway favorites, including Victor Garber, Audra McDonald, and Kristin Chenoweth.

The pair were also the minds behind NBC's Smash as well as annual live musical broadcasts, with this year's Jesus Christ Superstar Live earning 13 Emmy nominations. In addition to their television projections, Zadan and Meron also produced the Oscar-winning film adaptation of Chicago, Footloose, Hairspray, as well as several Broadway shows, including How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Promises, Promises.

The Broadway community has taken to social media to share their memories, gratitude, and thoughts.

I just found out that Craig Zadan has passed on. He and his producing partner @neilmeron are responsible for one of the most meaningful professional experiences in my career. They brought the magic of Broadway to prime time television with SMASH, and for 2 years I felt like I was living in a dream. They brought accomplished actors, real Broadway dancers and singers, Tony winning lyricist/score writers, Steven Spielberg, and Pulitzer Prize nominee Theresa Reback together with a pure love and drive to bring Broadway to all those who can’t afford, or travel to see a show in NYC. I loved it. And I loved Craig for his passion, and heart, and absolute belief in the endeavor. A kind, talented man who’d never really imagined would ever stop creating. RIP.

A post shared by Debra Messing (@therealdebramessing) on

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