Cameron Mackintosh to Build the Sondheim Theatre in London

News   Cameron Mackintosh to Build the Sondheim Theatre in London Producer Cameron Mackintosh announced this week that he will invest £35 million — $58.2 million — to makeover seven London theatres.

Variety reports that part of that investment will also go toward building a new theatre that will sit on top of the Queen's Theatre. Mackintosh plans to call the new playhouse the Sondheim Theatre, in honor of Broadway's famed composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. When asked why he wanted to honor the 73-year-old composer, producer Mackintosh told Variety, "Most of Steve's work has thrived in the sort of space we're trying to build. . . . A lot of Sondheim hasn't worked in proscenium theatres but has been brilliantly acclaimed in places like the Donmar and the Cottesloe." The 251-seat Donmar, in fact, is currently presenting a production of Sondheim's Pacific Overtures.

The Sondheim Theatre will seat 500, and work is expected to begin in early 2006 with an opening scheduled for the end of 2007. Among the theatres Mackintosh plans to refurbish are the Queen's, the Prince of Wales, the Strand, the Albery and Wyndham's. The producer already spent $5 million in 1992 to renovate the Prince Edward Theatre, which currently houses the hit ABBA musical Mamma Mia!.

Producer Cameron Mackintosh made the bulk of his fortune producing four global hits: Cats, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon. Stephen Sondheim's works as lyricist and/or composer include West Side Story, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Company, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Passion, Merrily We Roll Along, A Little Night Music and the Broadway-bound Bounce.