Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron – executive producers of NBC TV's just-renewed series Smash, and currently represented on Broadway with the popular revival of the Frank Loesser musical How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – make their first appearance on THEATER TALK in an all-new interview premiering tonight at 1 a.m. on Thirteen, followed by airings on CUNY TV Saturday (8:30 PM), Sunday (12:30 PM) and Monday (7:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 7:30 PM).
CUNY TV, the City University of New York television station, is carried in New York City's five boroughs – on Channel 75 on Time Warner and Cablevision, Channel 77 on RCN, and on Channel 30 on Verizon FiOS. The show is available online anytime at www.cuny.tv and www.theatertalk.org, and via audio-only iTunes podcasts.
Co-hosted by Michael Riedel of the New York Post and producer Susan Haskins, THEATER TALK's wide-ranging interview with Zadan and Meron covers the origins of Smash, beginning with a phone call from Steven Spielberg wanting to do "an Upstairs, Downstairs about the Broadway musical." The producers were flattered to be asked to meet Spielberg, and they were soon on their way to full production.
Zadan and Meron virtually singlehandedly revived the film musical – commonly thought to be a dead genre in Hollywood after the box office failures of Hello, Dolly! and Star! – with TV productions of Gypsy with Bette Midler (1993), Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella starring Brandy and Whitney Houston (1997), Annie (1999), and The Music Man with Matthew Broderick (2003). Their motion picture musical breakthrough was the Academy Award-winning adaptation of Chicago (2002) and it led to the hit film of Hairspray (2007) and the remake of Footloose (2011), among many other film and TV projects.
Zadan speaks of his early days producing cabaret acts at the Ballroom restaurant in the then-desolate SoHo neighborhood in New York, and his authorship of a definitive book about Stephen Sondheim, titled Sondheim & Company, published in 1974 after Zadan produced the all-star benefit, Sondheim: A Musical Tribute, at the Shubert Theatre in 1973.
THEATER TALK series co-host Michael Riedel appears as himself in the Smash series.
THEATER TALK is jointly produced by not-for-profits Theater Talk Productions and CUNY TV. The program is taped in the Himan Brown TV and Radio Studios at The City University of New York (CUNY) TV in Manhattan, and is distributed to 60+ participating public television stations nationwide. THEATER TALK is made possible in part by The New York State Council on the Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The TDF/TAP Plus Program, The CUNY TV Foundation and The Friends of THEATER TALK.