The life and work of prolific producer Craig Zadan will be celebrated Nov. 11 at a tribute that will be part of a fundraising gala for the Educational Theatre Foundation.Zadan and his longtime producing partner, Neil Meron, were already scheduled to be feted by the ETF with its inaugural Theatre for Life Award at the event, to be held at Television Academy headquarters in North Hollywood.Zadan died Aug. 20 as he was recovering from shoulder replacement surgery. The decision was...
Whether it’s remaking “Brian’s Song” (2001) or “A Raisin in the Sun” (2008), Craig Zadan has a knack for knowing when the time is right to revive the classics, and that goes not only for specific titles but whole genres.
With 2013’s “Sound of Music Live!” on NBC, Zadan and producing partner Neil Meron revived the live TV musical, a format that had been dormant for decades. That success sparked a large roster of stars across multiple productions for NBC, including 2014’s “Peter Pan Live!,” 2015’s “The Wiz Live!” and 2016’s “Hairspray Live!” Next up: NBC’s “Bye Bye Birdie” starring Jennifer Lopez for 2018.
“We’ve spoken to a lot of friends who are stars who could be great and they say to us, ‘Look, if you were doing a movie musical, and we could pre-record and lip-synch, sure. But live? So if we hit a bad note it’s there for posterity? We’re not going to go out there without a safety net.,’” Zadan told Variety in 2016. “There are lot of people who want to do these shows, but they don’t want to do them live.”
Zadan got his start producing the hit feature film “Footloose” in 1984. With Meron, Zadan produced the Oscars telecast from 2013 through 2015.