Sir Cameron Mackintosh
- (1946 - ) British producer and theater owner, whose hit musicals have made him one of the most successful impresarios in history. The son of a Scottish father and a French-Maltese mother, Mackintosh resolved to become a producer of stage musicals when he was taken to see Salad Days at the age of eight. He began his career in the theater as a stage hand at Drury Lane and produced his first musicals when barely out of his teens. Although he found some success with the revue Side by Side by Sondheim (1976) and a revival of Oliver! (1977), his first major triumph came in 1981, when he collaborated with the RSC's Trevor Nunn on the staging of Lloyd Webber's Cats. The show ran for exactly 21 years in the West End and has now been seen by some 50 million people worldwide (as one journalist has remarked, Mackintosh's shows have a tendency "to send you out humming the statistics"). Further money-spinning collaborations with Nunn followed in the form of Les Misérables (1985), which would eventually surpass Cats as Britain's longest-running musical, and the National Theatre's My Fair Lady (2000) and Oklahoma! (2002). After almost 25 years Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera (1986) is still running in the West End, where it was joined by Richard Eyre's £9 million realization of Mary Poppins in 2005. Miss Saigon, by the composer and lyricist behind 'Les Mis', ran for a comparatively fleeting ten years (1989 - 99). In 2000 Mackintosh suffered a rare flop with The Witches of Eastwick.
Since the early 1990s Mackintosh has invested much of his vast wealth (he is said to be worth some £400 million) in London's theatrical heritage. He currently owns seven of the historic West End theaters: the Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales,the Novello (formerly the Strand), the Queen's, the Gielgud (formerly the Globe),Wyndham's, and the Nöel Coward (formerly the Albery).From 2004 he embarked on the remarkable project of refurbishing these theaters from top to bottom using some £35 million of his own money - a proposition that has been compared to "throwing sacks of tenners from the balcony of the Ritz". At around the same time he unveiled a still more audacious plan: to join the Queen's to its neighbour, the Gielgud, and to build a new 500-seat theater, to be named the Sondheim, on the roof. This will be the first purpose-built theater in the West End for 70 years.