THE MUSICAL MAN
AS MISS SAIGON PLAYS TO PACKED HOUSES ON ITS LATEST RUN AT THE PALACE THEATRE, WE TALK TO PRODUCER SIR CAMERON MACKINTOSH
HE is the man behind some of the most successful musicals of all time, and we have Sir Cameron Mackintosh to thank for finally bringing Miss Saigon back to the city for an ongoing eight-week run at the Palace Theatre.
The theatre impresario has certainly made us wait for the show’s epic return though - it has been a decade for theatre-goers to wait for their most requested show to return to Manchester.
The reason for keeping us all waiting?
Sir Cameron laughs: “It’s such a complicated show to put together that you can only ever bring it back again every 20 years or so.
“It has such a highly specialised cultural quantity, a huge, very active ensemble of actors and this new production is on the scale of the original one 26 years ago.”
The Boublil and Schonberg musical tells the story of 17-year-old Kim, who flees to Saigon after watching her village burn to the ground.
Alone and vulnerable, she is forced to accept a job in a bar and brothel, run by the infamous Engineer, where she meets US marine Chris, thus starting their doomed romance.
Sir Cameron beams with pride at what his show has achieved - seen by some 36 million people across the world since it debuted on the West End in 1989.
He says: “A whole new generation are now discovering this show. You can just see the audience reaction, it’s incredibly powerful, and the best version I think we’ve ever done.”
While Miss Saigon is delighting audiences for the next month, Sir Cameron is already busy getting his next big tour ready for the road - Les Miserables.
It caused huge excitement last month when it was revealed the show would be heading back to Manchester next year (at the Palace Theatre from February 19 to March 30, 2019), and Sir Cameron said: “It’s still doing phenomenal business. It’s appealing to a whole new audience particularly after the big screen version.”
Sir Cameron, now 71, shows no signs of slowing down, having last year brought one of the most talked about shows of the modern era, Hamilton, to his recently renovated Victoria Palace Theatre in London.
And as for what’s next? Well it’s one to bring yet more shivers down the spine of theatre lovers in Manchester. Yep, the return of Phantom of the Opera.
He says: “I’m planning that now, it won’t be too long, within the next two or three years Phantom will be back on tour. And then it will soon be time to have Oliver back after that.
“I’ve got so much to do, I’ve got half a dozen great shows in huge demand all around the world that I’m still excited to be working on. Doing that, running my theatres, they’re brilliant old theatres, and I’m still capable of getting around!” Miss Saigon is at Manchester’s Palace Theatre until May 12. ●●
Sir Cameron Mackintosh and, inset, Miss Saigon