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the last impressario

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Archival photo of Michael White with one of his celebrity friends, Jack Nicholson

THE LAST IMPRESSARIO is a documentary about “the most famous man you have never heard of,” the theatre producer Michael White. Michael was responsible for Oh! Calcutta!, A Chorus Line, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Joseph & The Technicolour Dreamcoat, Annie, and The Comic Strip Presents.

This warm tribute is a tale full of fascinating details of life in London’s swinging sixties and the numerous artistic, professional and personal relationships with fascinating people who were drawn to Michael’s vibrant and fun loving personality. Numerous people tell us about being in awe of his achievements and his popularity. We learn of this second hand and do not experience this ourselves as he is now a frail, elderly man. Some of the people sharing their impressions of Michael are Kate Moss, Yoko Ono, John Cleese, Bill Oddie, Naomi Watts, the American director John Waters, Barry Humphries, Anna Wintour, Rachel Ward and Jim Sharman.

Gracie Otto met Michael by chance in Cannes 2010 and was drawn to this character that numerous high profile performers, arts and entertainment people would approach at the exclusive industry parties. So began the journey of bringing his fascinating and untold story to screen, which led her to travel to 6 countries over 3 years, interviewing 70 people, including the man himself.

Across his 50 year career Michael has produced 101 stage productions and 27 films. A prolific London theatre and film impresario, playboy, gambler, bon vivant and friend of the rich and famous, he is now in his late 70’s. He is renowned for breaking the next big thing, including fostering Australian talent such as Greta Scacchi, Rachel Ward, Naomi Watts, Meryl Tankard and Barry Humphries, to name a few. White brought Yoko Ono to Britain, introduced dance pioneers Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch to the wider world and made Vogue editor Anna Wintour to pay attention to Kate Moss.

This is an celebrity studded film covering the highs and spectacular lows of Michael’s career.There is plenty of archival footage and evocative photographs of the rich and famous including David Bowie, Jack Nicholson, Prince Charles, Koo Stark, Mick Jagger, Maggie Thatcher, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Jim Sharman, Elizabeth Taylor and Paul McCartney give glimpses into Michael’s life.

My only reservation with the film is with its celebrity focus how well do we really get to know the man behind the legend?!  We only seem to see certain aspects of him.

THE LAST IMPRESSARIO  screened at the 2014 Sydney Film Festival and is on limited release from 26th June. For more about The Last Impresario, visit


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