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Cameron Mackintosh scraps plans to restage Martin Guerre

Cameron Mackintosh epitomises the typical image of a producer as the commercial entrepreneur. Photo: Chicago Tribune Cameron Mackintosh. Photo: Chicago Tribune
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Cameron Mackintosh has revealed he has abandoned efforts to rework Martin Guerre.

The producer said he had given the Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil musical “three shots” and acknowledged that the writing team had “unfinished business” with it.

But he added: “I firmly believe there is something wonderful in there but I am not the person that will ever get it out of them.”

Mackintosh was speaking to Graham Norton as part of a BBC Radio 2 programme celebrating his career.

Boublil and Schonberg previously indicated they were working with Mackintosh on reworking the musical, which was first staged in 1996 in London, followed by a revival in 1999 and a new production in 2007 at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury.

However, speaking to Norton, Mackintosh revealed further plans for the show had been shelved.

He said Schonberg had written “some of the greatest music of his career” in the show but said: “I don’t think we ever found what it was that made the story sing in the way the music required it to.”

He also revealed it had taken him a long time to consider producing it at all, claiming a story about “deceit is very hard to tell in a musical” and describing it as a “problem” for the production.

In the two-hour programme, Mackintosh also spoke about his relationship with critics, and said he felt social media meant critics could no longer “make or break a show”.

“I think they can only ‘make something’ people already want,” he said, adding: “My career has ridden a fantastic flow of word of mouth. Social media is part of that. I am putting on shows for the public and therefore I need to see what they think of what I do.”

Speaking about his legacy, he said he believed he had “raised the standards of musical theatre” around the world, as he had insisted that, when staged overseas, his productions were not “cut down versions”.

Mackintosh added that he had also helped to get a number of theatres built that could house his shows, so they could be staged properly.

He claimed he had “rebuilt the theatre system over the 1980s and 1990s” and also strived to make sure his productions never waned in terms of quality.

Mackintosh said he had seen the closing night of the original production of My Fair Lady as a 16-year-old, having seen it twice before. He claimed he had noticed there had been a “degeneration”.

“I said, ‘If I ever become a producer, I don’t want that to happen’,” he added.

The show can be listened to in full here.

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