Cameron Mackintosh Staged and Praised 


Columbia Tri-Star, $24.95. 164 minutes

Things don't look good at the beginning of "Hey, Mr. Producer! The Musical World of Cameron Mackintosh." When numbers from "My Fair Lady" (like "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face") are falling flat, the concert in question must be in trouble. Which makes it doubly amazing that this concert, filmed at the Lyceum Theater in London and now on video, recovers and goes on to some stirring re-creations of songs from stage shows that Mr Mackintosh, 52, has produced. (In the case of "My Fair Lady" and several others, the productions were revivals, of course.)

Judi Dench of all people, steals the show. Her quiet, piercing rendition of "Send In The Clowns" makes Stephen Sondheim's bittersweet lyrics new again. The numbers from "Les Miserables," including "Bring Him Home" and ending with "One Day More," are exhilarating. Bernadette Peters, doing selections from various shows, is her usual winning self. And Ellen Greene does a lovely job with "Somewhere That's Green" from "Little Shop of Horrors."

Lea Salonga reminds the audience just how good she was as the star of "Miss Saigon." (She's now back in the Broadway version of the show.) Her co-star Jonathan Pryce does well with "American Dream" from that show, but his performance here can't hold a candle to what it was like on Broadway. The number has been toned down (after all, the Queen and Prince Philip are watching from the royal box), so Mr. Pryce doesn't have the opportunity he had in the original show to display his affection for a big American convertible.

The video, which is almost three hours long, is wildly uneven and sometimes a bore, but the parts that work are well worth adding to a musical theater fan's collection.

The New York Times, February 7, 1999 By ANlTA GATES