A socially-distanced audience of around 600 people were at the Sondheim Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue on Thursday to watch a staged concert version of the hit musical which was suspended after only 10 performances in December because of Covid-19 restrictions.
Mackintosh, whose hits include The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and Hamilton, said: “This musical is about the survival of humanity and the human spirit and there couldn’t be a better ethos behind the show than what is happening at the moment.
“The emotional impact of seeing this incredible young cast saying ‘We’re going to do this and there is One Day More and we are coming back’ is an incredible rallying spirit lifter and that’s why it is the right show to be charging ahead of the big shows coming back into London now.”
Mackintosh said despite having had to close the show once already in the last six months he was “more confident that we’re here and we’re going to stay here this time”.
He said: “What is very gratifying is that the advance sales for both the concert and the stage show has gone back to almost the same as it was pre-pandemic. People are definitely wanting to come out and see the show and I believe it’s the same with my neighbours, Six and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, so at last the Shaftesbury Avenue lights will be on and people will be coming to the theatre again.”
The return of Les Mis comes after the West End’s longest-running show, The Mousetrap, reopened on Monday and this week also saw the opening night of a new show, Cruise, set in 1980s Soho and performed at The Duchess Theatre in Aldwych.
But Mackintosh warned the industry and people in it needed to know their jobs would not “switch off again” when they were taking the chance of re-opening without any insurance to protect them in the event of further closures.
He said: “It’s been awful having so many people not working and also more importantly to see London not thriving in the way this brilliant city does and the theatre is a vital component working with the restaurants and shops and bars, all working to make London such a great city.
“The industry, particularly with no insurance, cannot under any circumstances survive as an industry if were to open and shut again and I think hospitality and everybody is saying the same thing.”