In the wake of the news of prolific producer Craig Zadan’s death, luminaries of stage and screen shared messages celebrating the life of the renowned producer who brought countless musicals to film and television alongside producing partner Neil Meron.
Zadan died unexpectedly following complications from surgery at the age of 69 on Tuesday.
The news was met with shock from many of Zadan’s former collaborators, ranging from singer John Legend — who worked with the producer on the recent live TV adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar — to director Adam Shankman, whom Zadan tapped to bring Hairspray to the big screen.
“RIP to our friend Craig. He produced Jesus Christ Superstar with us and also produced the Oscars when Common and I sang “Glory” in front of a replica of the Pettus Bridge. A wonderful producer and a lovely man,” Legend wrote on Twitter. Shankman shared the news on Instagram, saying he was “in shock” and that Zadan and Meron gave him “the opportunity of a lifetime” on Hairspray.
Zadan produced three Oscar telecasts alongside Meron, choosing song-and-dance man Neil Patrick Harris to host in 2015. Harris paid tribute to the producer on Twitter, writing, “I’m stunned and saddened the unexpected passing of Craig Zadan. He’s been a friend my entire adult life, championed me to host the Oscars, brought musical theatre back to TV. A wonderful, kind spirit. My sincere condolences to his family and his partner, Elwood. #RIP.”
Broadway great Kristin Chenoweth posted a photograph of her and Zadan on Instagram, reminiscing about their collaborations on both stage and screen. She wrote, “Annie, The Music Man, Promises, Hairspray… Craig, you were there with me from the beginning. This is a true loss not only for me, but for the world. Rest in peace, sweetheart.”
In a statement obtained Wednesday by EW, famed composer Andrew Lloyd Webber said of Zadan, “I first met Craig in 1977 and we formed a great friendship at the time which I was hugely glad to resume over his fantastic production of Jesus Christ Superstar for NBC. Craig, Neil Meron, and I were planning other projects and I have lost a friend and valued colleague. Music will be the poorer without him.”
Others including Kevin Bacon, Michael Chiklis, Debra Messing, and more took to social media to express their shock over Zadan’s passing and honor his contributions to entertainment, particularly when it came to musicals and their return to television.
See more of their posts below.