The Educational Theatre Foundation will honor the life and legacy of Craig Zadan during their annual West Coast gala, scheduled for November 11 at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences headquarters in North Hollywood.
A host of all-star alums of Zadan's stage and screen projects will be on hand to pay tribute to the late producer with performances and remembrances. Set to take part are Kristin Chenoweth, Harry Connick, Jr., Sean Hayes, Megan Hilty, Jennifer Hudson, Robert Greenblatt, Kenny Leon, Audra McDonald, Debra Messing, Bernadette Peters, Amber Riley, Martin Short, John Stamos, Nia Vardalos, and Renée Zellwegger.
Scott Wittman will direct the evening, which will honor the breadth of Zadan's half-century of producing movies, television, and Broadway. Wittman's Hairspray collaborator Marc Shaiman will music direct.
Zadan and producing partner Neil Meron were previously scheduled to receive the first annual Theatre For Life award; however, due to Zadan’s death on August 21, the evening will now become the official memorial and celebration of his legacy.
“This is a cause that was near and dear to Craig’s heart,” said Meron, “and we were so honored to be receiving this award from the Foundation because we knew it would bring attention to their work which literally changes the lives of so many young people. We’re so pleased this night will now also become a celebration of Craig’s legacy as he was devoted to theatre and so believed in the work of this organization. It makes perfect sense, though is sadly ironic, that we can honor Craig and support something that meant so much to him at the same time.”
It is the wish of Zadan’s life partner, Elwood Hopkins, that anyone wanting to honor Craig’s memory should send donations directly to the Educational Theatre Foundation for which the following fund has been established: Craig Zadan Memorial Fund.
“I can’t think of a better way to honor Craig since his entire life was devoted to theatre and the performing arts,” said Hopkins. “He also knew the transformative power of the arts especially for young people, and I’m certain Craig would have loved to raise a great deal of money for ETF and their important work. I thank Julie for being so generous and wanting to honor him and Neil in the first place, and I truly hope his legacy for entertainment turns into one for education and advocacy.”
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we will celebrate Craig’s life in a way that he, the consummate producer, would have liked,” added Greenblatt. “And at the same time I know nothing would give him more satisfaction than raising money for the work of the Educational Theatre Foundation. We already miss Craig terribly, but his spirit and his joy for the theatre lives on in the dozens of movies and television projects we’re fortunate to have which will remain with us always.”