REBECCA Producers Have 10 Weeks to Raise $4.5 Million
Following REBECCA's cancellation on Broadway and the news that financier and stock broker Mark C. Hotton was arrested yesterday for his role in the show's collapse, Bloomberg reports that REBECCA's producers now have 10 weeks-until Dec. 31-to raise $4.5 million or face returning millions more to their investors.
As reported in a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court yesterday against Mark Hotton, REBECCA has already spent $6 million in production costs.
Hotton was arrested for defrauding the show's producers of $60,000 and for an unrelated $750,000 real estate scheme which prosecutors said featured some of the same deceptions used in the REBECCA fraud. To read the full 19-page criminal indictment on Hotton, click here.
Two weeks ago, Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza, producers for Rebecca, the Musical, announced that they were left with no option but to postpone the show. They released a statement at that time, noting that "After Paul Abrams, a major investor, passed away in London, on August 5th, 2012, and who, with three other colleagues, represented the last portion of $4.5 million of the full capitalization for the production... On September 28th, Sprecher and Forlenza were informed that an extremely malicious e-mail, filled with lies and innuendo, had been sent directly to a new investor that morning from an anonymous third party. The e-mail was designed to scare this investor away and it succeeded. The investor withdrew."
According to the New York Post on Sunday, October 7, Ronald Russo, lawyer for producer Ben Sprecher has now said that "Sprecher had been led to "Abrams" by shadowy Long Island businessman, Mark Hotton, who told him Abrams died before he could hand over the dough, sources have said. There also were three other investors Hotton told Sprecher about who supposedly promised another combined $2 million for the show, the sources have said. But "following an extensive search over the last week, I can now confirm that there is no evidence whatever that "Paul Abrams" or any of the other three investors brought to this production by Mr. Hotton, ever existed," said Sprecher's lawyer, Ronald Russo. The lawyer said they conducted an investigation in both the US and England."
REBECCA, the new musical based on the classic novel by Daphne Du Maurier novel, previously delayed the start of its rehearsals by two weeks due reportedly to the death of a key investor responsible for a $4.5 million investment pool in the production. REBECCA was scheduled to begin rehearsals Monday, September 10 prior to an October 30 first preview and November 18 premiere at the Broadhurst Theatre.
REBECCA features original book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, music by Sylvester Levay, English book adaptation by two-time Tony Award winner Christopher Hampton (Sunset Boulevard), English lyrics by Hampton and Kunze, and direction by Tony Award winner Michael Blakemore (Kiss Me, Kate; City of Angels; Noises Off) and Francesca Zambello (Little Mermaid). Multiple Tony-nominated director/choreographer Graciela Daniele (Ragtime) will create The Musical staging for the show. Scenic design is by Peter J. Davidson, costumes by Jane Greenwood, lighting by Mark McCullough, sound by Peter Fitzgerald, hair & wig design by Tom Watson and special effects by Gregory Meehand projections by Sven Ortel. Musical direction and supervision is by Kevin Stites.