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Zadan, Craig (b. 1949), and Neil Meron (b. 1955)  
 
page: 1  2  

Among the issues of contention was a line that had Reagan saying of AIDS sufferers, "Those who live in sin shall die in sin." The specific sentence was apparently the invention of the writers, but it reflected an opinion quoted by Reagan biographer Edmund White: "Maybe the Lord brought down this plague [because] illicit sex is against the Ten Commandments."

CBS declined to run the mini-series, claiming that the decision had nothing to do with the protests but rather was motivated by a belief "that it [did] not present a balanced portrait of the Reagans."

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Zadan and Meron put out a statement expressing disappointment that the network had chosen not to air The Reagans—"produced for them, from a script that they approved"—but saying that they were pleased that the Showtime channel had picked it up.

The move to a cable channel meant that fewer people would be able to see the show. This led a number of commentators to express concern over political influence on broadcasting. Steve Randall of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting stated, "When you have people in the government and close to the government, like the Republican National Committee, like Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), with Ed Gillespie, organizing against the film, you're talking about chilling if not censorious behavior. You're talking about people with direct oversight of the media."

Another television project produced by Zadan and Meron was the short-lived but memorable ABC sitcom It's All Relative (2003-04). Centered around an upper-class gay couple whose Harvard-educated daughter is determined to marry her working-class boyfriend, the comedy focused on the conflicts caused by the different values of the future in-laws.

Zadan and Meron also produced several television films based on the lives of stars of the entertainment industry: The Beach Boys: An American Family (2000), The Three Stooges (2000), Martin and Lewis (2002), Lucy (2003), and Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows (2001).

The Garland film starred Australian actress Judy Davis, who was surprised to be chosen to play the iconic American entertainer. "I had to put my faith in these producers," said Davis, who had previously portrayed Cammermeyer's partner in Serving in Silence. "Fortunately, they are extremely professional, efficient, [and] understand the musical form."

Never was Zadan and Meron's understanding of the musical form more evident than in the production of Rob Marshall's Chicago (2002), a theatrical film interpretation of John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Bob Fosse's stage musical. William Condon contributed the script for the movie.

The stylish production was a runaway hit, winning rave reviews and garnering thirteen Academy Award nominations. Among the six Oscars that went to Chicago was the prize for Best Picture. It was the first such win for a film musical in 34 years.

Zadan and Meron also produced the screen version of another hit Broadway musical, Hairspray (2007), based on John Waters' film of the same title. Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman wrote three new songs for the movie.

Zadan and Meron are also planning to film Randy Shilts's book on slain San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, The Mayor of Castro Street. "The last time we saw Randy before he passed away from AIDS, we promised him we'd make this movie, but only if it was done properly," stated Zadan. After fifteen years of looking for the right combination of talent, they now anticipate a 2009 release of the film.

Zadan and Meron's recent television projects include the series Empire (2005), set in ancient Rome. They have produced a version of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon, which is scheduled to air on television in 2008.

Another current project is a film released in January 2008. The Bucket List, directed by Rob Reiner, stars Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two terminally ill cancer patients who escape from the hospital and go on the road for a last chance to do some of the things that they have always wanted to do. Sean Hayes is among the supporting cast. Marc Shaiman composed music for the soundtrack.

The productions of Zadan and Meron have won them an impressive collection of honors—66 Emmy nominations with ten wins, six Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, two Peabody Awards, and two awards from GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation).

As well as being recipients of GLAAD Media Awards, Zadan and Meron were the executive producers of the first broadcast of the ceremonies in 2005. They also produced the 2006 event.

Both Zadan and Meron have been out as gay men since the beginning of their careers. They acknowledge a certain "gay sensibility" in their productions, but insist that this expands rather than limits the projects that interest them. They are, for example, planning to make a film version of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (expected to be released in 2008) because of the importance of the issue of censorship.

In choosing their vehicles, Zadan and Meron look for solid storylines and engaging characters. Zadan observed, "If you look at all our films, they have a strong emotional core and they're ultimately about family."

Linda Rapp

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   Related Entries
  
arts >> Overview:  American Television, Drama

American television has made significant strides in its portrayal of homosexuals in dramatic series and movies, but cable networks have been more daring than the "big three" broadcast networks.

arts >> Overview:  American Television, Situation Comedies

American television sitcoms have consistently reflected the presence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, often in distorted and stereotyped ways, but occasionally in ways that acknowledge our humanity and complexity.

arts >> Overview:  Musical Theater and Film

The musical has been a significant aspect of American gay male culture, manifesting itself both in diva worship and, more recently, in the presentation of openly gay characters and shows written by gay writers primarily for gay audiences.

arts >> Black, Dustin Lance

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black has quickly established himself as both an accomplished filmmaker and a committed activist.

social sciences >> Cammermeyer, Margarethe

The highest-ranking official in the United States military to acknowledge her homosexuality while in the service, Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer served a number of years in the Washington State National Guard as an open lesbian.

arts >> Condon, William "Bill"

Having earned critical acclaim for his work on Gods and Monsters (1998), Chicago (2002), and Kinsey (2004), screenwriter and film director William "Bill" Condon has become a leading American filmmaker.

arts >> Cumming, Alan

Versatile actor Alan Cumming has performed a wide variety of roles on stage, screen, and television, earning numerous awards for his acting and also for his support of glbtq causes.

arts >> Fierstein, Harvey

Actor Harvey Fierstein has had phenomenal success as both a performer and a playwright, and has been steadfastly committed to the cause of glbtq rights.

arts >> Garland, Judy

The fragile persona and emotion-packed voice of actress and singer Judy Garland are powerfully linked to gay culture and identity; she appealed especially to gay men, but also to lesbians.

social sciences >> Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a watchdog group dedicated to promoting accurate representations of the glbtq community in the media.

arts >> Hayes, Sean

Actor Sean Hayes gained renown and awards for his role as a gay character on the hit comedy series Will & Grace, but did not come out publicly as a gay man until 2010.

arts >> Jones, Cherry

Versatile American actress Cherry Jones became the first out lesbian to win a Tony Award when she was chosen as Best Actress in 1995.

arts >> Kander, John (b. 1927) and Fred Ebb (1932?-2004)

Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb are the musical poets of the poymorphous perverse; their works glorify the creativity inherent in sexual ambivalence and celebrate unorthodox forms of political activism.

arts >> King, Michael Patrick

Writer, director, and producer Michael Patrick King has been creatively involved in a number of ground-breaking television series featuring gay themes and strong women.

social sciences >> Milk, Harvey

Harvey Milk, among the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States, was assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall, making him the American gay liberation movement's most visible martyr.

arts >> Shaiman, Marc (b. 1959), and Scott Wittman (b. 1955)

Composer Marc Shaiman and lyricist and director Scott Wittman, partners in life and collaborators in theater, film, and television projects, have a long list of credits in the entertainment industry.

literature >> Shilts, Randy

Randy Shilts pioneered as an openly gay journalist in the 1970s and 1980s and was an astute interpreter of the various issues affecting American gay men and lesbians.

arts >> Sondheim, Stephen

One of the most innovative talents of the musical theater in the second half of the twentieth century, Stephen Sondheim has only indirectly reflected his homosexuality in his work.

arts >> Star, Darren

Responsible for such pop culture touchstones as Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, and Sex and the City, writer-director-producer Darren Star has had a prolific career in television.

arts >> Waters, John

A director, writer, producer, and photographer, John Waters became well known in the early 1970s through his filmic collaboration with actor--and drag queen--Divine.


    Bibliography
   

Andreeva, Nellie. "Fierstein, Brandy Net TV Projects." The Hollywood Reporter (December 5, 2005).

Buckley, Michael. "Channeling Theatre: Storyline's Zadan and Meron Discuss TV 'Music Man.'" Playbill (September 29, 2002). www.playbill.com/features/article/print/72399.html.

Cohen, David S. "Zadan/Meron: Life's a Cabaret." Daily Variety 279.14 (April 25, 2003): A1.

Fleming, Michael. "WB Readies Milk Biopic." Daily Variety (May 6, 2005): 1.

Frost, Dan. "CBS Won't Air Reagan Miniseries." San Francisco Chronicle (November 5, 2003): A1.

Mermelstein, David. "Tandem Spices up GLAAD Gala." Daily Variety (April 28, 2005): A1.

Weinraub, Bernard. "A Second Act for the TV Musical? Producers Bet on It." New York Times (May 13, 1999): E1.

Willens, Michele. "The Music Men, Bringing Broadway to the Screen." New York Times (February 16, 2003): 2, 28.

www.unrv.com/executive-producer.php.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Zadan, Craig , and Neil Meron  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated March 17, 2012  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/zadan_c.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
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Chicago, IL   60607
 
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    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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