Martin McCallum, a British theatrical producer whose work on more than 500 Broadway and West End shows saw his participation in some of the most successful stage productions in modern theater history, died peacefully, surrounded by family, on January 14 in Sydney, Australia. He was 73.
His death was announced by his family. A cause was not disclosed.
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The President of the Society of London Theatre from 1999 to 2002 and a member of the Broadway League since 1988, McCallum made an indelible mark on Broadway with massive hits (Les Misérables, executive producer, and Miss Saigon, associate producer), critical favorites (the Stephen Sondheim revue Putting It Together, executive producer, and The Cripple of Inishmaan, producer) and even two high-profile flops (Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, executive producer, and Hughie, producer).
His impact on the London theater scene was even greater. Born in Blackpool on April 6, 1950, McCallum began his stage career as an assistant stage manager at the Castle Theatre Farnham, later becoming a production manager at the Old Vic, then home to the National Theatre and under the leadership of Laurence Olivier.
McCallum managed numerous shows at the National, including Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (1971), starring Olivier and Constance Cummings, and the premiere production of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land (1975), with John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson. Martin remained at the National Theatre after Olivier’s departure and in 1975 worked on the opening of the company’s South Bank complex under the leadership of director Peter Hall.
After leaving the National Theatre in 1978, McCallum, with his colleague Richard Bullimore, established The Production Office in London’s Covent Garden. The firm was soon engaged to supervise shows including productions of Franco Zeffirelli’s Filumena, Harold Prince’s Evita and Sweeney Todd, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar.
In 1981, The Production Office was hired to work on Lloyd Webber’s Cats, and the endeavor’s success led producer Cameron Mackintosh to hire Martin, first as his Managing Director and later his Vice Chairman. During his nearly 22-year tenure with Mackintosh, McCallum was involved in what would be an unparalleled run of hits in London and New York that included Cats, Les Misérables,The Phantom of the Opera and Miss Saigon.
While collaborating with Mackintosh, McCallum was often consulted by major theater companies on venue design and refurbishment to accommodate their shows. In 2001 he was consultant on the refurbishment and rebuild of Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre, and his other notable architectural projects would include Stuttgart’s Musical Hall, Duisburg’s Musical Theatre,and the Mackintosh-owned West End venue the Prince Edward.
McCallum continued working with Mackintosh until 2003, when he and his family moved to Australia.
From 1992 to 2003, McCallum was Chairman of the Donmar Warehouse and from 2005 to 2014 he was on the Board of the Sydney Theatre Company.
McCallum is survived by his partner Gwynne and children Gabriel, Fabian, Amy, Toby and Sophie.
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