October 17, 1946
Enfield, Middlesex, England
Producer, Chorus boy, Stage manager
Michael La Poer Trench
One of the most prominent and important theatrical producers to emerge in the late Twentieth Century, Cameron Mackintosh was able to realize his childhood dream. At the age of eight, he was taken to see his first stage musical, "Salad Days," and was so enchanted he decided then and there he would grow up to produce similar entertainments. After dropping out of London's Central School of Speech and Drama, Mackintosh landed his first professional job as a chorus member and assistant stage manager for a touring company of "Oliver!" in 1965. Within four years, however, he had achieved his goal and produced an unsuccessful revival of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes." Undaunted, Mackintosh persevered and finally had an international success with a revue of Stephen Sondheim songs, "Side by Side by Sondheim," in 1976. After mounting a long-running revival of "Oliver!" (1977-80) and "My Fair Lady" (1979), he teamed with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber to present Lloyd Webber's "Cats" in London in 1981. The musical, adapted from poems by T.S. Eliot, was one of the longest-running musicals in Broadway history. Mackintosh's streak continued in the 1980s with such London and NYC successes as "Little Shop of Horrors." He twice reteamed with Lloyd Webber for "Song and Dance" and "The Phantom of the Opera" and also forged alliances with the French team of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg ("Les Miserables," "Miss Saigon" and "Martin Guerre"). Additionally, he pioneered the superspectacle, big-budgeted musicals with flashy scenery and ensemble casts, cutting down on the reliance of a star to bring in the audience. Not that there have not been "name" performers in his casts; their presence, however, is not necessarily germane to the production. For television, Mackintosh mounted a 10-year anniversary concert of "Les Miserables" which was also released on video. In 1998, his 30-year career was saluted with "Hey, Mr. Producer!," a gala performed in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip that was taped for broadcast and aired in the USA on PBS stations.