Between them, they own a sizeable chunk of Theatreland, and their biggest success — on which they worked together — is the world’s highest-grossing entertainment, The Phantom of the Opera. Apparently, Lloyd Webber was so touched by Mackintosh’s moving of Les Misérables from the Palace Theatre to the nearby Queen’s to make way for the composer’s latest show, The Woman in White, that he’s given the impresario an oversized gift. Double-decker, in fact. Mackintosh, it transpires, is a fan of London buses. So Lloyd Webber presented him with a gift-wrapped double-decker bus outside the Palace. Mackintosh was reportedly delighted with the present.
The camaraderie between the men bodes well for their renewed partnership, which will get underway in 2005 with a high-profile revival of Lloyd-Webber’s Evita. The production will not only mark the continuation of one of theatre’s most successful-ever teamings, but also the first time that Mackintosh has worked with lyricist Tim Rice.
It’s not known what Mackintosh plans to do with his bus. Perhaps he’ll use it to transport confused Les Miz fans from the Palace to the musical’s new home, which is approximately a 30-second drive.