Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who found gold in the sewers and catacombs under 19th-century Paris, is so in season right now. Not only is his movie-epic edition of Les Misérables up for Best Picture and seven other Oscars, but his theatrical production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's richly romantic musical, The Phantom of the Opera, became, on Jan. 26, the first show to rack up a full quarter-century on Broadway.
Sir Cameron arrived at the Majestic Theatre, Phantom's home-away-from-London where it has been playing a year and a half longer, with a full tank of exuberance.
"I'm actually busier than I ever have been," the kingpin "Mr. Producer" declared. "I have about 30 productions running currently and another 20 I'll put on over the next two years around the world. I've never had my shows in such demand before. I have new versions for the stage going of Les Miz, Miss Saigon, Oliver! — and now a new Phantom that we have done in England will be coming to America in the not-too-distant future. All these are taking on a new life, as if the shows were brand new. The people who liked the original show are coming to see it and are loving the new staging as much as they loved the old. We are bringing in a new generation."
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(Maybe it goes with the territory, but all of the above sounded like William Powell at the end of "The Great Ziegfeld": "I need more steps. I've got to get higher. Higher!")
The Great Mack did admit a movie of Miss Saigon was in the works — but "it's down the tracks. I'm certainly not wanting to do another movie for a bit. It's exhausting!"
As for the enduring, apparently timeless appeal of The Masked One, he chalked that up to "the basic idea that Phantom is another spinoff of 'Beauty and the Beast.' It's a mythic subject, and a mythic subject has always served Andrew wonderfully well.
"Also, Andrew brought something to it that nobody else brought. He brought an emotional center to the love triangle, which made it something special. Plus, it is absolutely one of the most beautiful and brilliantly staged productions ever."
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