Over the past 25 years, Mackintosh, along with his one-time partner Andrew Lloyd Webber, has dominated theatreland with his lavish musicals. Hits include Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Hair, Oklahoma! and The Witches of Eastwick. Along the way, he has accumulated an estimated £400 million as well as seven West End theatres.
My Fair Lady - which opens later this month at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, following its sell-out success at the National Theatre - could be his swansong. "It is time for the next generation," he said in one interview, with The Sunday Times. He went on to say: "It's from the next generation that new musicals will come...It is inconceivable I could be responsible for the next wave. What musicals need is a new me."
However, he conceded that young producers today face much tougher prospects than he did starting out, mainly because of the enormous costs involved. "It horrifies me how much it costs to put on shows now, mainly due to EU regulations," Mackintosh told the paper. "The freedom to be entrepreneurial is no longer there. It's a massive business now."
Though he is by no means idle - big projects underway include a UK-wide tour of Miss Saigon and a Broadway transfer for the acclaimed National co-production of Oklahoma! - Mackintosh is said to be relishing spending more time on holiday with his boyfriend of 20 years. "I am not driven. I love the shows and want them to succeed but no more than that. I do not want to do any new musicals, certainly not for the moment. As my famous shows are nearly through their first flush, I am really enjoying putting them on around the world. It's a holiday at someone else's expense!"
- by Terri Paddock