De­bra Mess­ing: ‘Craig Wanted the World to Be Touched by the Power of Theater’

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CRAIG ZADAN AND HIS pro­duc­ing part­ner, Neil Meron, are re­spon­si­ble for one of the most mean­ing­ful pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ences in my ca­reer.

They brought the magic of Broad­way to prime­time tele­vi­sion with “Smash,” and for two years I felt like I was liv­ing in a dream. They brought ac­com­plished ac­tors, real Broad­way dancers and singers, Tony-win­ning lyri­cist/score writ­ers, Steven Spiel­berg and Pulitzer Prize nom­i­nee Theresa Re­beck to­gether with a pure love and drive to bring Broad­way to all those who can’t af­ford or travel to see a show in NYC.

I loved it and I loved Craig for his pas­sion and heart and ab­so­lute be­lief in the en­deavor. Craig wanted the world to be touched by the power of theater. He was lifted and changed by the mag­i­cal com­mu­nal ex­pe­ri­ence of watch­ing a liv­ing, breath­ing story un­fold in real time.

Craig al­ways had a smile on his face, al­ways ex­cited about the next project he had in the works. He was full of life and joy. He was a man who nav­i­gated the world with in­tegrity and dig­nity. He loved talent more than any­thing else and was al­ways look­ing for ways to show­case those he ad­mired. Craig was a kind, tal­ented man who I’d never re­ally imag­ined would ever stop cre­at­ing.

The theater world has lost a leg­end, and Hol­ly­wood has lost one of its most pro­lific and sin­gu­lar pro­duc­ers. I hope Ethel Mer­man is singing to him right now.

De­bra Mess­ing starred in Zadan and Meron’s “Smash,” which ran for two sea­sons on NBC.

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