Exclusive: Ben Sprecher Still Intends to Bring REBECCA to Broadway This Year; Rehearsals to Begin in October?
Ben Sprecher, the lead producer of Rebecca, the Broadway musical that was cancelled last Fall, is still intent on bringing the show to Broadway this year. Sprecher told BroadwayWorld that the producing team has brought in an additional $2 million for the production. Another $7 million will need to be raised to reach the $15 million needed to bring the show to Broadway. If the show is to open by the end of 2013, the fundraising goal must be reached by the end of June, and if things go as planned, Sprecher intends to begin rehearsals in October 2013.
Sprecher also revealed that a reading for the show was held on March 11, featuring the talents of Ryan Silverman, Karen Mason, Jill Paice, James Barbour (all of whom were attached to star in the Fall 2012 Broadway run) and Rob Gallgher.
Sprecher also informed BWW that he is aggressively pursuing his case against former press rep Marc Thibodeau, who reportedly warned a potential investor to stay away from the project. Sprecher commented that "In my opinion the emails sent by Marc Thibodeau is the single reason that Rebecca is not currently playing on Broadway."
Following REBECCA's cancellation on Broadway and the news that financier and stock broker Mark C. Hotton was arrested and called 'a considerable threat' to the community, he is now awaiting trial. 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.
In October, producers filed a $100 million fraud lawsuit in state Supreme Court against Mark C. Hotton, a former stockbroker from Long Island on whom they were relying to raise $4.5 million of the show's $12-million budget. For his criminal trial, Hotton faces 20 years for each of two counts of wire fraud, if convicted.
Earlier in October, 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."
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 had its world premiere in 2006 at Vereinigte Buhnen Wien in Vienna, where it played to sold-out houses for more than three years. Vastly successful productions of REBECCA have also played Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest, Romania; Helsinki, Finland; Stuttgart, Germany; St. Gallen, Switzerland and at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo.