|Born||April 15, 1949|
Miami, Florida, U.S.
|Died||August 20, 2018 69) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Producer, director, writer|
|Alma mater||Hofstra University|
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.
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.
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".
Zadan was born in Miami, Florida. He grew up in New York City, and attended Hofstra University.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. He was openly gay.
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 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.
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.
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Storyline Entertainment has had success with film musicals, such as Chicago (2003) and Hairspray .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"; she played "Velma Kelly" in the original 1975 production.
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.
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 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."
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 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.
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.
Zadan and Meron produced the Academy Awards telecast from 2013 to 2015.
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".
Zadan died on August 20, 2018, at his home in Los Angeles of complications from shoulder replacement surgery at the age of 69.
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.
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).
Mandel Bruce Patinkin is an American actor and singer.
Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theatre. Sondheim has received an Academy Award, eight Tony Awards, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been described by Frank Rich of The New York Times as "now the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater". His best-known works as composer and lyricist include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1990), and Passion (1994). He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).
Harvey Forbes Fierstein is an American actor, playwright, and voice actor. Fierstein has won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his own play Torch Song Trilogy and the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for playing Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. He also wrote the book for the musical La Cage aux Folles, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, and wrote the book for the Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots. He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2007.
Gypsy is a 1959 musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents. Gypsy is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist, and focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother." It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters to perform onstage and casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life. The character of Louise is based on Lee, and the character of June is based on Lee's sister, the actress June Havoc.
Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on John Waters’s 1988 film of the same name. The songs include 1960s-style dance music and "downtown" rhythm and blues. In 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, plump teenager Tracy Turnblad's dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight, and meets a colorful group of characters, leading to social change as Tracy campaigns for the show's integration.
Robert Marshall is an American film and theatre director, producer, and choreographer. His most notable work is the Academy Award-winning film Chicago (2002), for which he won the Directors Guild of America Award, in addition to receive nominations for the Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award for Best Director. A five-time Tony Award nominee, he also won a Primetime Emmy Award for his choreography in the television film Annie (1999).
Marc Shaiman is an American composer and lyricist for films, television, and theatre, best known for his collaborations with lyricist and director Scott Wittman. He wrote the music and co-wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical version of the John Waters film Hairspray. He has won a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony, and been nominated for seven Oscars.
Tom McGrath is an American media executive and the chief operating officer of STX Entertainment and senior managing director of private equity buyout vehicle Crossroads Media. He was formerly the chairman of Key Brand Entertainment, a producer and distributor of live theatre in the United States and parent of website Broadway.com; president and COO of Act III Communications; and executive vice president and COO of Viacom Entertainment Group. He is a seven-time Tony Award-winning producer, a member of the National Recording Academy and a Board member of the International Television Academy. He also serves as a Trustee of The New England Conservatory of Music and the American Repertory Theater at Harvard
Maria Friedman is an English actress and director of stage and screen, best known for her work in musical theatre. She is a seven-time Olivier Award nominee, winning three. Her first win was for her 1994 one-woman show, By Special Arrangement. She has also twice won Best Actress in a Musical for the original London productions of Passion and Ragtime. She is more recently known for her role as Elaine Peacock in EastEnders. She also made an appearance as the narrator in the 1999 straight to video version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Tracey Bennett is an English stage and television actress. She trained at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in Clapham, London. She played the role of Sharon Bentley in Coronation Street from 1982-1984 and then returning to the role in 1999.
Sunday in the Park with George is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. It was inspired by the French pointillist painter Georges Seurat's painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The plot revolves around George, a fictionalized version of Seurat, who immerses himself deeply in painting his masterpiece, and his great-grandson, a conflicted and cynical contemporary artist. The Broadway production opened in 1984.
Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella is a 1997 American musical fantasy television film produced by Walt Disney Television, directed by Robert Iscove and written by Robert L. Freedman. Based on the French fairy tale by Charles Perrault, the film is the second remake and third version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, which originally aired on television in 1957. Adapted from Oscar Hammerstein II's book, Freedman modernized the script to appeal to more contemporary audiences by updating its themes, particularly re-writing its main character into a stronger heroine. Co-produced by Whitney Houston, who also appears as Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, the film stars Brandy in the titular role and features a racially diverse cast consisting of Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, Veanne Cox, Natalie Desselle, Victor Garber and Paolo Montalban.
Douglas "Doug" Besterman is an American orchestrator, musical arranger and music producer. He is the recipient of three Tony Awards out of six total nominations and two Drama Desk Awards out of six total nominations, and was a 2009 Grammy Award nominee.
The Sound of Music Live! is a television special that was originally broadcast by NBC on December 5, 2013. Produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the special was an adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway musical The Sound of Music. The television special starred country singer and American Idol winner Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp, and was performed and televised live from Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York.
Bombshell is an American musical with music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman based on the original fictitious musical from the first season of the NBC television series Smash. The songs include soulful jazz anthems and upbeat pop songs. Bombshell is the life story of Marilyn Monroe. It tells the story of the aspiring starlet who transforms herself into a worldwide sex symbol, including her early life and her alleged affair with American President John F. Kennedy.
Peter Pan Live! is a television special that was broadcast by NBC on December 4, 2014. The special featured a live production of the 1954 musical adaptation of Peter Pan, televised from Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York, starring Allison Williams in the title role and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook.
David Hill is an Australian-born American executive producer who served as the president of Fox Sports from 1993-2000, and as a senior EVP of 21st Century Fox for twenty-four years. He left the Fox Group in June 2015 to open his own production company that focused on live TV events. David was a chairman of National Geographic Channels. He served as an executive producer of the American version of The X Factor and the last season of American Idol.
Hairspray Live! is a television special that aired live on NBC on December 7, 2016. Produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and hosted by Darren Criss, it is a performance of a new adaptation of the 2002 Broadway musical Hairspray.
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