Craig Zadan

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

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 materHofstra University
Years active1972–2018
PartnerElwood Hopkins[1]

Life and careerEdit

Early lifeEdit

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]

Storyline EntertainmentEdit

Storyline Entertainment has had success with film musicals, such as Chicago (2002)[5] and Hairspray (2007).[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.

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."

Later careerEdit

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


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





  • Smash (2012) (executive producer)


Live productionsEdit

Awards ceremoniesEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit

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).


  1. ^ a b c 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 Archived October 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, accessed September 7, 2009
  3. ^ "Sondheim: A Musical Tribute", accessed September 7, 2009
  4. ^ Giltz, Michael (December 24, 2002). "Chicago's gay mafia". The Advocate. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  5. ^ a b " Chicago 2003", accessed December 7, 2016
  6. ^ " Hairspray 2007", accessed December 7, 2016

External linksEdit