The event, to be held at the Television Academy’s headquarters in North Hollywood, was originally set up to be the ETF’s annual West Coast gala Thespians Go Hollywood, which was to honor Zadan and his producing partner Neil Meron with the group’s first-ever Theatre For Life Award. But after Zadan’s sudden death a week ago at age 69 due to complications from shoulder surgery, the evening will now become the official memorial and celebration of Zadan’s legacy.
Elwood Hopkins, Zadan’s partner, said today donations in Zadan’s honor should be made directly to the Educational Theatre Foundation, which has set up a Craig Zadan Memorial Fund (click here).
“I can’t think of a better way to honor Craig since his entire life was devoted to theatre and the performing arts,” said Hopkins. “He also knew the transformative power of the arts especially for young people, and I’m certain Craig would have loved to raise a great deal of money for ETF and their important work. I thank Julie for being so generous and wanting to honor him and Neil in the first place, and I truly hope his legacy for entertainment turns into one for education and advocacy.”
The plans were announced today by NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt and ETF president Julie Cohen Theobald. NBC was where Zadan and Meron had revitalized the live musical specials from The Sound of Music Live to Peter Pan Live to most recently Jesus Christ Superstar, with more in the works. The duo also produced three Oscarcasts as well as the Oscar-winning musical Chicago.
More details will be announced in the coming weeks for the event, officially titled “Thespians Go Hollywood – Honoring the Life and Work of Craig Zadan,” but plans are underway to turn the evening into a musical tribute featuring performances and remembrances from many of the artists who knew and worked with Zadan throughout his career in movies, TV and on Broadway.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we will celebrate Craig’s life in a way that he, the consummate producer, would have liked,” said Greenblatt. “And at the same time I know nothing would give him more satisfaction than raising money for the work of the Educational Theatre Foundation. We already miss Craig terribly, but his spirit and his joy for the theatre lives on in the dozens of movies and television projects we’re fortunate to have which will remain with us always.”