When Cats pounced onto the West End stage in 1981 Mr Mistoffelees and his fellow felines, brought to life from TS Eliot's poems, ended the financial struggles of Mackintosh, the show’s producer. The impresario, who has since been knighted, scraped by on a few pounds each week in his early career, learning to cook “because I had to”. A few expensive flops down and living in a fiver-a-month rented flat, he got his big break with Lord Lloyd-Webber (qv). Cats became one of the longest-running musicals on either side of the Atlantic, and Mackintosh got the cream he had been working for. The hits kept coming, Les Misérables and Miss Saigon among them.
Describing a childhood without silver spoons but with a (minor) boarding school education, Enfield-born Mackintosh said: “Compared with many people I had a lot, but I didn’t have a trust fund. I had to borrow £10 here and £20 there.” His wallet must bulge now. Barely a West End board gets trodden that 70-year-old Mackintosh fails to turn a profit on. He owns eight London theatres and receives a fee for every professional or am-dram production of his shows. His main company made £27.8m profit on £146.7m turnover in 2015-16 and his business empire is easily worth £1bn. Private assets – including the 1,630-acre medieval Stavordale Priory in Somerset, where Mackintosh lives with his long-term partner, the theatre photographer Michael Le Poer Trench – and last year’s £35m dividend take him to £1.18bn.
Let’s get on with the show