Theatre League Gives Mackintosh Lifetime Service Award

News   Theatre League Gives Mackintosh Lifetime Service Award
 
At a May 7 reception at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre, the League of American Theatres & Producers bestowed a Distinguished Lifetime Service Award For Touring Broadway on producer Cameron Mackintosh. In London with the new musical, The Fix, Mackintosh couldn't be at the award ceremony but responded with a gracious acceptance letter.

At a May 7 reception at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre, the League of American Theatres & Producers bestowed a Distinguished Lifetime Service Award For Touring Broadway on producer Cameron Mackintosh. In London with the new musical, The Fix, Mackintosh couldn't be at the award ceremony but responded with a gracious acceptance letter.

The producer of Cats, Phantom Of The Opera, Les Miserables and Miss Saigon (all of which tour extensively) wrote, "This is an unusually busy week for me in London, as I am in preview madness for my new American musical, The Fix, at the Donmar Warehouse, putting a new star, Barry Humphries, into Oliver! at the Palladium, a new cast into the second year of Martin Guerre at the Prince Edward, and launching the British National Tour of Les Miserables in Plymouth...

Mackintosh's letter continued, "Next month I will celebrate 30 years of being a producer. For the first 15 years, nearly all my productions were done on tour in Britain. It...taught me that the most important audiences live in the country, not in the capital cities. A new hit attracts a so-called `smart' audience, but a show only runs when the real public start coming from out of town -- people who are not influenced by hype but by word-of-mouth... Broadway is just a street, but the road is a whole continent. I strongly believe that the touring circuit in America is every bit as important as New York, and perhaps even more important... The only way we can insure that the public will continue coming to the theatre in the next century is by offering audiences the very best productions we can, without ever compromising artistic standards...

He continued, "For me, producing is a combination of common sense, intuition, hard work and a little bit of luck. But none of these qualities are any use without original and inspired writing... For a show to succeed, it [also] requires a local partner who is just as passionate as I am in [the] belief that a particular show is special... I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the people in all the towns across America who have worked on my shows for their contributions as well -- from the marketing people to the local stagehands, from the box offices to the group sales bookers, from the dressers to the ushers. Especially the ushers -- having started my career as an usher, I recommend you be nice to them!"

The award ceremony was part of the League's Spring Road Conference, attended by 250 Broadway touring professionals from 90 American cities. The idea is for Broadway businesses to share marketing information -- since two-thirds of Broadway's business rest on tours outside the state. --By David Lefkowitz

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