“Such sad news,” Underwood tweeted. “Craig was a visionary, a risk-taker, a lover of music and just an all around nice guy! I am honored to have worked with him. He will be greatly missed.”
Underwood starred as Maria von Trapp in NBC’s live version of the musical that aired on Dec. 5, 2013 and co-starred Stephen Moyer as Captain Georg von Trapp and Audra McDonald as Mother Abbess.
Despite Underwood’s limited acting and Broadway experience, Zadan and long-time producing partner Neil Meron took a chance on her to headline the live event. In part because of Underwood’s popularity, The Sound of Music was such a huge ratings success, it led to Zadan and Meron executive producing four more live productions for NBC: Peter Pan (2014), The Wiz (2015), Hairspray (2016), and most recently Jesus Christ Superstar.
Robert Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment Chairman announced Tuesday that Zadan had died from complications related to a shoulder replacement surgery.