Debra Messing Remembers Craig Zadan: ‘I Hope Ethel Merman Is Singing to Him Right Now’

Craig Zadan dead
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Craig Zadan and his producing partner, Neil Meron, are responsible for one of the most meaningful professional experiences in my career.

They brought the magic of Broadway to primetime television with “Smash,” and for two 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 Rebeck 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. Craig wanted the world to be touched by the power of theater. He was lifted and changed by the magical communal experience of watching a living, breathing story unfold in real time.

Craig always had a smile on his face, always excited about the next project he had in the works. He was full of life and joy. He was a man who navigated the world with integrity and dignity. He loved talent more than anything else and was always looking for ways to showcase those he admired. Craig was a kind, talented man who I’d never really imagined would ever stop creating.

The theater world has lost a legend, and Hollywood has lost one of its most prolific and singular producers. I hope Ethel Merman is singing to him right now.

Debra Messing starred in Zadan and Meron’s “Smash,” which ran for two seasons on NBC.