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Published: November 5, 2006

WHO knows what power is?” Cameron Mackintosh said, cutting off a question, as he went into the kitchen of his New York apartment for a fresh cup of coffee.

It was a day off, and Mr. Mackintosh, the British producer, had just received a book of photographs of his Scottish castle, the first of many presents for his 60th birthday on Oct. 17. It put him in a reflective mood. He seemed just as happy to leaf through the pictures pointing out the mist on the cove or Frank, who runs the boats, as to talk about the reasons he was in New York: the American premiere of “Mary Poppins” and the revival of “Les Misérables.”

Reflective is not one of the words usually associated with Mr. Mackintosh. Those would be: big, artful, lavish, tear-jerking. English music hall meets global passion on a stage near you, and the helicopter wins. Mr. Mackintosh remade the modern theatrical spectacle and transformed Broadway and the American road (not to mention old cinemas from Vienna to Tokyo) with his big four: “Cats,” “Les Misérables,” “Miss Saigon” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” At 50, he was knighted, partly because of his shows’ impact on Britain’s ’s economy. And now “Phantom” is the longest-running show on Broadway.
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