Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to receive the Vito Russo Award at GLAAD Media Awards in NYC
When I think of some of my favorite television shows, movies and musicals, many of them have one thing in common: the extraordinary producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.
Their most recent television success is NBC’s Smash which I am just crazy about and love it all the more because it actually has gay characters featured prominently.
Anyway, it has just been announced that Mr. Zadan and Mr. Meron will receive the Vito Russo Award at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City on March 24.
The award is named after one of GLAAD’s founders and is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting LGBT equality.
In a career spanning over two decades, Zadan and Meron’s productions have garnered six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, 11 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, two Tony Awards and a Grammy Award.
In addition to producing iconic films such as the Academy Award-winning Chicago, The Bucket List, Hairspray and Footloose, two of their television movies have received GLAAD Media Awards, Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story in 1996 and What Makes a Family in 2002.
They also received GLAAD Media Awards nominations in 2004 and 2007 for It’s all Relative and Wedding Wars.
Their current hit TV series Drop Dead Diva this year received its second nomination in the Outstanding Individual Episode category.
Through many of their projects, Zadan and Meron have been trailblazers in telling the stories of the LGBT community.
In 1995, their film Serving in Silence, which aired on NBC, recounted the legal battle of Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer, who challenged “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” following her involuntary discharge under the law.
In the 2001 Lifetime movie What Makes a Family, Zadan and Meron recounted the story of a woman who had to fight for the custody of the child she shared with her deceased partner, and in their 2006 Wedding Wars (A&E), they told the story of a gay man who speaks out in favor of marriage equality when he discovers his straight brother, whose wedding he was planning, is behind an anti-gay speech.
In 2010, the duo returned to their theater roots with the Tony winning Broadway revival of Promises, Promises starring openly gay actor Sean Hayes and GLAAD Vanguard Award-recipient Kristin Chenoweth.
Zadan and Meron’s Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying starred outspoken LGBT equality advocate Daniel Radcliffe.
Their current hit series Smash on NBC features a prominent gay character whose dating life is an important part of the show.
Previous Vito Russo Award honorees include Ricky Martin, Cynthia Nixon, Suze Orman, Rosie O’Donnell, Alan Cumming, Nathan Lane, Elton John, Liz Smith, k.d. lang, David LaChapelle, Brian Graden, and Tom Ford.