`Miss Saigon' to end 10-year run

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The Independent Online
SIR CAMERON Mackintosh, the West End impresario, has made a surprise decision to close his musical Miss Saigon, which has been running at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, since 1989.

Sir Cameron, who is currently in the United States, will pull Miss Saigon either by the end of the year or by next spring, and replace it with a musical of The Witches of Eastwick, the John Updike novel which became a Hollywood film starring Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cher and Susan Sarandon.

Stars being considered by Sir Cameron are said to include Kelsey Grammer, television's Frasier, to play the Nicholson role, and actress/ singers such as Ruthie Henshall, Maria Freedman, Lulu and Twiggy.

Miss Saigon is still attracting large audiences, but close associates of Sir Cameron said yesterday that he thought 10 years was a long-enough run and there was no other available theatre in London large enough for his next project.

Significantly Sir Cameron was given a doctorate in literature at University College London earlier this week and in his acceptance speech he stressed that he was proud to be seen as the man who brought classic novels to the stage as musicals. "It occurred to me that I could be the first person in history to receive an honours degree in literature not for studying classics but for turning them into musicals and thereby inspiring at least some of my audiences to read the source material," he said.

"Over the years I've put to music Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, TS Eliot, Herman Melville, Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Pinero and shortly John Updike. As I regularly pass the new British Library, I can't help wondering how many more classic novels are waiting to sing and dance themselves off the shelves."

Non-musical adaptations of literary works may also feature in Sir Cameron's thinking. He recently bought two West End theatres, the Queen's and the Gielgud. Neither is suitable for large-scale musicals, and the purchase may indicate a desire to stage straight plays.

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