Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Broadway Buzz: What do Les Mis, Phantom and Cats Have in Common?

What do Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and Cats have in common? Not only are they three of the longest running musicals of all time, but they all have been produced by Cameron Mackintosh. Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, most of the musicals he has produced will. Take a look at his production history and see how many titles you recognize. Ever wonder how such an influential man got his start?

According to The NewYork Times, Mackintosh knew at the age of eight that he wanted to be a producer when he attended a matinee of the musical Salad Days. He spent his early days as a stagehand and produced smaller musicals in London, but really boomed in the 1980s. In 1980 Andrew Lloyd Webber suggested they work together, and they produced a Broadway favorite, Cats. Les Misérables was produced in 1985 followed by The Phantom of the Opera in 1986 – both shows recently celebrated 25th anniversaries! Les Mis is currently the longest running music in the world, having played for over 25 years at the Queen’s Theatre in London.

But unlike other 80’s stars Cameron Mackintosh has continued the trend into the 2000s. Mackintosh is behind the comedic Avenue Q and family friendly Mary Poppins, coming to the Fox Cities P.A.C. this spring. He had a long standing ambition to produce a stage version of Mary Poppins, and met with original “Mary Poppins” author Pamela Travers in 1993 to acquire the stage rights for the show. After spending years in the planning process, Mary Poppins took flight in 2004 in London.

You won’t want to miss two of Cameron Mackintosh’s masterpieces this season at the Fox Cities P.A.C., Les Mis next week November 15-20 and Mary Poppins March 6-11. Let’s celebrate the 45 years Cameron Mackintosh has been producing musicals, and here’s to many more!

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