Craig Zadan

Last updated

Craig Zadan
Born(1949-04-15)April 15, 1949
Miami, Florida, U.S.
DiedAugust 20, 2018(2018-08-20) (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationProducer, director, writer
Alma mater Hofstra University
Years active1972–2018
PartnerElwood Hopkins [1]

Craig Zadan (April 15, 1949 – August 20, 2018) was an American producer, director, and writer. Working alone and with Neil Meron, his partner in the production company Storyline Entertainment, he produced such films as Footloose and such Broadway hits as Chicago.

Neil Meron is an American film producer known for producing the 2002 film Chicago and the 2007 film Hairspray. With partner Craig Zadan he ran the production company Storyline Entertainment until Zadan's death in 2018. Meron continues to run the company.

<i>Footloose</i> (1984 film) 1984 American musical-drama film directed by Herbert Ross

Footloose is a 1984 American musical comedy-drama film directed by Herbert Ross. It tells the story of Ren McCormack, an upbeat Chicago teen who moves to a small town in which, as a result of the efforts of a local minister, dancing and rock music have been banned.

<i>Chicago</i> (musical) musical set in Prohibition-era Chicago

Chicago is an American musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Ebb and Bob Fosse. Set in Jazz-age Chicago, the musical is based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins about actual criminals and crimes she reported on. The story is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the "celebrity criminal".

Contents

Life and career

Early life

Zadan was born in Miami, Florida. He grew up in New York City, and attended Hofstra University. [1] He wrote for New York magazine and also contributed articles to publications such as After Dark . He co-produced a Broadway tribute to Stephen Sondheim, Sondheim: A Musical Tribute, featuring Angela Lansbury and Alexis Smith in 1973. He wrote a book relating the "behind-the-scenes" of the musicals of composer Stephen Sondheim titled "Sondheim & Co." published in 1974, which has been updated with a subsequent edition and revisions until 1990. Meron invited Zadan to speak at a lecture series at Brooklyn College, and they became professional partners upon Meron's 1976 graduation. They worked for Joseph Papp at the Public Theater before going to California in the early 1980s to work for Peter Guber. [2] [3] He was openly gay. [4]

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States and thus also in the state of New York. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Hofstra University university in Nassau County, New York

Hofstra University is a private, non-profit, nonsectarian university in Hempstead, New York. Long Island's largest private university, Hofstra originated in 1935 as an extension of New York University (NYU) under the name Nassau College – Hofstra Memorial of New York University at Hempstead, Long Island. It became independent Hofstra College in 1939 and gained university status in 1963. Comprising ten schools, including the Northwell School of Medicine and Deane School of Law, Hofstra is noted for a series of prominent Presidential conferences and hosting several United States presidential debates.

<i>New York</i> (magazine) American magazine on life, culture, politics, and style, focusing on New York City

New York is an American biweekly magazine concerned with life, culture, politics, and style generally, and with a particular emphasis on New York City. Founded by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker in 1968 as a competitor to The New Yorker, it was brasher and less polite, and established itself as a cradle of New Journalism. Over time, it became more national in scope, publishing many noteworthy articles on American culture by writers such as Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Nora Ephron, John Heilemann, Frank Rich, and Rebecca Traister.

Storyline Entertainment

Storyline Entertainment has had success with film musicals, such as Chicago (2003) and Hairspray . [5] [6] Andrea McArdle, who originated the title role in Annie on stage, featured prominently in Zadan's televised version. Chita Rivera appears in Chicago as "Nickie"; [5] she played "Velma Kelly" in the original 1975 production.

<i>Chicago</i> (2002 film) 2002 Musical film directed by Rob Marshall adapted from the satirical stage musical of the same name

Chicago is a 2002 American musical crime comedy-drama film based on the stage-musical of the same name, exploring the themes of celebrity, scandal, and corruption in Chicago during the Jazz Age. The film stars Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere. Chicago centers on Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Zellweger), two murderesses who find themselves in jail together awaiting trial in 1920s Chicago. Velma, a vaudevillian, and Roxie, a housewife, fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows. Directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall, and adapted by screenwriter Bill Condon, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Chicago won six Academy Awards in 2003, including Best Picture. The film was critically lauded, and was the first musical to win Best Picture since Oliver! in 1968.

<i>Hairspray</i> (2007 film) 2007 film directed by Adam Shankman

Hairspray is a 2007 musical romantic comedy film based on the 2002 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was based on John Waters's 1988 comedy film of the same name. The film was a British-American venture produced by Ingenious Media and Zadan/Meron Productions. Adapted from both Waters's 1988 script and Thomas Meehan and Mark O'Donnell's book for the stage musical by screenwriter Leslie Dixon, the 2007 film version of Hairspray was directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman and has an ensemble cast including John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden, Queen Latifah, Brittany Snow, Zac Efron, Elijah Kelley, Allison Janney, and Nikki Blonsky in her feature film debut. Set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, the film follows the "pleasantly plump" teenager Tracy Turnblad as she pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation.

Andrea McArdle American actress

Andrea McArdle is an American singer and actress best known for originating the role of Annie in the Broadway musical Annie.

The film adaptation of Hairspray featured John Waters (writer/director) as "the flasher who lives next door;" Jerry Stiller ("Wilbur Turnblad") as "Mr. Pinky;" and Ricki Lake ("Tracy") as a reporter. On the soundtrack, Lake joins Nikki Blonsky and Marissa Jaret Winokur ("Tracy" from the Broadway production) to sing "Mama I'm a Big Girl Now" over the closing credits, and Harvey Fierstein (Broadway's "Edna") can be heard briefly soon after. Mink Stole ("Tammy" in the original film) appears as the smoking woman on the street whom Waters flashes, and is also seen in the musical number, "Welcome to the 60s". Corey Reynolds ("Seaweed" in the Broadway production) appears on the soundtrack as singer of "Trouble on the Line."

Jerry Stiller American comedian

Gerald Isaac Stiller is an American comedian and actor. He spent many years in the comedy team Stiller and Meara with his wife, Anne Meara. He later played Frank Costanza on the NBC sitcom Seinfeld and Arthur Spooner on the CBS comedy series The King of Queens. Stiller and Meara are the parents of actor Ben Stiller, with whom Stiller co-starred in the films Zoolander, Heavyweights, Hot Pursuit, The Heartbreak Kid and Zoolander 2. Stiller is known for his angry, yelling acting style.

Ricki Lake American actress and T.V. host

Ricki Pamela Lake is an American actress, television presenter and producer. Lake is best known for her lead role as Tracy Turnblad in the 1988 film Hairspray. She is also known for her talk show which was broadcast internationally from September 1993 until May 2004. When Lake's show debuted, she was 24 and credited as being the youngest person to host a syndicated talk show at the time. In autumn 2012, Lake embarked on a second syndicated talk show project The Ricki Lake Show, which aired on weekdays. The series was canceled in 2013 after a single season, but Lake won her first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host.

Nikki Blonsky American actress and singer

Nicole Margaret "Nikki" Blonsky is an American actress, singer, and dancer. She is best known for her role as Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 film Hairspray and as Maggie Baker in the 2008 film Queen Sized. She is also known for her starring role in the ABC Family original series Huge.

Later career

Zadan and Meron produced the Academy Awards telecast from 2013 to 2015.

Academy Awards American awards given annually for excellence in cinematic achievements

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry. Given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar".

Death

Zadan died on August 20, 2018, at his home in Los Angeles of complications from shoulder replacement surgery at the age of 69. [1]

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

Filmography

Awards and nominations

In 2008, Zadan and Meron were awarded the "Career Achievement Award" by the Casting Society of America. He has been nominated for the Emmy Award eight times, along with his co-executive producer Meron (and the respective producers).

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Littleton, Cynthia (August 21, 2018). "Craig Zadan, Prolific Stage, TV, and Film Producer, Dies at 69". Variety . Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  2. Zadan and Meron Career glbtq.com, accessed September 7, 2009
  3. "Sondheim: A Musical Tribute" sondheim.com, accessed September 7, 2009
  4. Giltz, Michael (December 24, 2002). "Chicago's gay mafia". The Advocate . Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  5. 1 2 " Chicago 2003" tcm.com, accessed December 7, 2016
  6. " Hairspray 2007" tcm.com, accessed December 7, 2016