August 20, 2019

Musical Theater Producer Craig Zadan Dies at 69

Craig Zadan, who co-produced the Broadway musicals “Chicago” and “Gypsy,” and brought musical theater to NBC with live versions of “The Sound of Music,” “Peter Pan,” “The Wiz,” “Hairspray” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” has died at 69 due to complications related to shoulder replacement surgery.

“On behalf of his life partner, Elwood Hopkins, and his producing partner, Neil Meron, we are stunned that the man behind so many incredible film, theatre, and television productions — several of them joyous musicals — was taken away so suddenly,” NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement. “Craig’s distinguished career as a passionate and consummate producer is eclipsed only by his genuine love for the thousands of actors, directors, writers, musicians, designers, and technicians he worked with over the years. His absence will be felt in our hearts and throughout our business.”

The prolific producer’s credits also include “Brian’s Song,” movie and TV versions of “Footloose” and “The Music Man,” the Lifetime remake of “Steel Magnolias,” the movie version of “Chicago,” the TV series “Smash” and “Drop Dead Diva” and the 2013-2015 Academy Awards telecasts. Zadan and Meron’s productions have earned six Oscars, five Golden Globes, 17 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, a Grammy Award, and two Tony Awards.

“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” which aired last April, earned 13 Emmy nominations, including a nod for Outstanding Variety Special (Live). The next Zadan/Meron production is “Hair Live!” due to air on NBC in spring 2019.