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The "Rebecca" Saga Continues

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AHLiebross
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The "Rebecca" Saga Continues#1
Posted: 5/13/15 at 3:22am

"Rebecca" has as many plot twists off-stage as on. Now, a judge has found Marc Thibodeau liable for his anonymous emails and decreed that the civil trial can move forward on the question of damages.


I'm wondering whether we will finally see "Rebecca" hit Broadway in 2016 and whether there are rumors regarding who will be cast in the main roles.


I'm also wondering how someone in a similar position to Mr. Thibodeau's (representing a show and worrying that the producers are con artists) can appropriately blow the whistle: go to the police, knowing that they'll dismiss vague suspicions?


Have at it, folks!

Audrey, the Phantom Phanatic, who nonetheless would rather be Jean Valjean, who knew how to make lemonade out of lemons.
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The #2
Posted: 5/13/15 at 4:24am

Oing & Groothius - I love it!


Is this likely to help the show, I'm not sure why it would (unfortunately)?

Why don't you go? Why don't you leave Manderley? He doesn't need you... he's got his memories. He doesn't love you, he wants to be alone again with her. You've nothing to stay for. You've nothing to live for really, have you?
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The #2
Posted: 5/13/15 at 7:56am

If this ever makes it to opening night, the critics will be having a feeding frenzy ala,Dr. Z although maybe a tad less vicious.

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The #3
Posted: 5/13/15 at 9:12am

As "sagas" go, this one is a dull slog.

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The #4
Posted: 5/13/15 at 9:47am
And the rub is, it's still more interesting than the musical itself.

If it ever opens, people will say, "THIS is what all the fuss was about?"
"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
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The #5
Posted: 5/13/15 at 9:54am

And the worst part is, it all reads like a (rapidly failing) attempt on Sprecher's part to save face for desperately accepting the word of a stockbroker known for fraud when no one else would put money in. From this viewer's perspective, it seems he's pissed that he's back to square one, and is doing anything he can to make himself look like the good guy, and perhaps buy time to either actualize the show (highly unlikely at this point, in my subjective opinion, as one can only extend the option for so long, and he's postponed the opening how many times now?) or pay back the investment before he himself is liable.


As for Thibodeau... no producer wants to see a potential investor go, but, again in my subjective opinion, the circumstances warranted his actions. His crucifixion at the hands of the New York State Supreme Court, while technically of legal merit (he didn't complete his resignation before these e-mails were sent), is an absolute shame.


Anybody with eyes and a brain will tell you that Rebecca is probably not going to open any time soon, and especially not in the English production originally proposed, which is no doubt a pain in the hole for its fans, but it could have been avoided had those involved been above-board with their other investors and any new ones racing to the rescue, returned any money spent by any means necessary, and let the option lapse until such time as they could once again address the issue of presenting the show. (Provided, of course, that VBW was willing to give them another shot after all that.) Better to leave with as much dignity as one can muster than to compound the egg on your face, in my book.

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Updated On: 5/13/15 at 09:54 AM
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The #6
Posted: 5/13/15 at 10:15am

VWB probably keeps extending  the rights to Sprecher because they know that no one else is going to touch this. The sets are nearly all constructed, I wonder if Sprecher can't get it done he would allow to be bought out of his main producer credit for additional funding.


There needs to be a Not Since Carrie 2 featuring this story too... I mean the original theatre in London the basement flooded right before rehearsals! 

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The #7
Posted: 5/13/15 at 10:18am

But who would put money into this venture at this point? Sprecher's lost all credibility as a producer.


I would think the repeated failures of similar musicals, such as Dr. Zhivago, would also make people wary.

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
Updated On: 5/13/15 at 10:18 AM
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The #8
Posted: 5/13/15 at 10:27am

"VWB probably keeps extending  the rights to Sprecher because they know that no one else is going to touch this. "


I suppose it's better in their eyes to keep extending the rights and not get a production, than trust the rights to someone and have the resulting production effectively kill the brand outside of Europe (I refer of course to Dance of the Vampires).

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The #9
Posted: 5/13/15 at 10:28am

Is Rebecca really like Dr. Z?  Dr. Z wasn't glowingly received in its prior productions.  But, wasn't Rebecca fairly well received in Europe?

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The #10
Posted: 5/13/15 at 10:32am

"I would think the repeated failures of similar musicals, such as Dr. Zhivago, would also make people wary."


But people have always invested in fiascoes in the making. P.T. Barnum got it right.

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The #11
Posted: 5/13/15 at 10:34am

""But people have always invested in fiascoes in the making."


 Indeed. Just look at how Sprecher got here.

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The #12
Posted: 5/13/15 at 10:43am

In Europe, yes. But the European musical market is very different from the UK, Australian or Broadway market.


To massively oversimplify, you've got two very separate markets in Europe:


i) the rep houses (Eastern Bloc countries, most Nordic theatres) where the primary musical programming is operetta, and the 80s style seems generally quite fresh or at least more in tune with popular music.


ii) the big "reproduction" houses, primarily in Germany which shares a similar sensibility to the Austrian market VBW controls (the rep houses in Austria generally programme Sondheim or Boublil/Schonberg shows plus, curiously, Sugar, which is immensely popular in Germanic theatres!)


Rebecca's success thus far has been in Austria and Germany, the Nordic territories, and Japan, which again is a haven for the old poperetta shows.


I very much like moments of Rebecca's staging and score; with the right Mrs Danvers there are moments which are absolutely spine-tinglingly fantastic.  I also, however, think that pretty much every other character in the show is barely even a caricature and that the material they're given to perform is laughable; the English lyrics didn't sound particularly promising either.


I would not be optimistic of its success if it went to Broadway.  Equally I would not be optimistic if Sprecher/Forlanza were producing that they would make the best of what would probably be a "bad job".


 

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The #13
Posted: 5/13/15 at 10:57am

I think that the trio's material is wonderful. The creators are working on it - they added a song for Sierra Boggess that Jill Paice sang at Broadway at Bryant Park a few years ago. They cut out the campy, ridiculous "I'm An American Woman" for a stock character Mrs. van Hopper. Unfortunately, the big moment in the show, will not be replicated to save costs (to the tune of $2-3 million) to have the stair case spiral in and out of the stage.


One immediate red flag: the orchestrations are by Sylvester Levay (the shows composer) which could not be called more "euro pop trash" if you tried. I suggest they bring in an orchestrator to give the score a more "20s-30s-40s" feel, not 1980s with some extra strings.

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The #14
Posted: 5/13/15 at 11:24am

^ Even with those proposed changes, it's not nearly enough to make the sell. Brand recognition is the key these days, as you might have noticed from the frequent productions of "[fill in the blank]: The Musical," and whatever Rebecca is, it is not a brand. The novel was only a moderate success when it initially came out, and the Hitchcock movie that might have a little more recognition than the novel is 75 years old this year.


Try to pick a target demographic for this show all you can; I promise you it will be a tough job. Right now, it's looking like English lit and film studies students, and that's if they decide it's worth their time and the price.

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The #15
Posted: 5/13/15 at 12:03pm

It isn't only that his resignation email wasn't sent, it's that he sent the emails under a fictitious name, with intent to cause someone to do something--and he succeeded. It's a simple case of responsibility here. If you or I had created a fake persona to do the same, even having no connection to the production, we would also be liable. Truth is an absolute defense, so if he would have just been himself, none of this would have happened. But people don't have the right to deceive in order to cause others to make decisions that they want. This is very different from anonymity. If he had said he was anonymous or that the name he was using was fake, it would have been different. But he used a name, presented himself as having that name, and then proceded to influence a transaction. The fact that he was also the press agent compounds the liability, but it wasn't necessary. He essentially committed fraud in an attempt to expose a fraud. 

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The #16
Posted: 5/13/15 at 12:29pm

"Truth is an absolute defense, so if he would have just been himself, none of this would have happened."


You seem to be unaware that Rebecca is not the only show where some stuff that most other industries would consider unsavory goes on backstage. Maybe nothing as big or criminal as a con man inventing a fake investor, followed by faking their death, but the money situation is always a little hinky -- it's not for nothing that many shows enter rehearsal still needing to raise even a portion of the budget. (And now you know why the phenomenon of almost forty producers, between above- and below-the-line billing, on every new show.) And that's only with regard to fiduciary matters.


Bottom line: if there was a whistle-blower like Thibodeau on every show about every incident that might be considered criminal activity, we would have no industry. If he reported on this directly under his own guise, I'm sure it would have had the same result of the investor pulling out, and that people would understand, especially from a good-faith standpoint and given the circumstances, but he might very well have been blackballing himself in doing so.


(Bear in mind this does not constitute my condoning the use of fraud to report fraud, more that I understand that the person in question had to eat, if you know what I'm saying.)

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The #17
Posted: 5/13/15 at 12:36pm

I knew Sprecher was bad over ten years ago. I was working FOH for a show he produced off broadway. He came up with a marketing idea that we staff members would be selling Merch after the show, in costume. All except me. I asked the house manager why I was the only one not doing it, and he said "he only wants the young ones." I then told the hm to go tell Sprecher that I would report him for age discrimination. You never saw a man change his mind so fast.

<-----I'M TOTES ROLLING MY EYES
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The #18
Posted: 5/13/15 at 12:48pm

Good for you Jane.


 

....but the world goes 'round
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The #19
Posted: 5/13/15 at 12:54pm

@Patrick-you are mangling the law. The fact that the email was anonymous/fake is irrelevant. There is no difference in what one can do based on the unquestionably embarrassing creation of a fake persona. The case is about 3 things: breach of contract, defamation and tortious interference. Truth is only a defense to the second one, and if what he said is true, it does not matter that the vehicle through which he said it is false. Other issues are involved in the other two causes of action. For the contract claim, the main issues are what the promises were in it, whether there was a breach and whether what he did was not enforceable as a matter of public policy. For the tort claim, some of the same questions apply.


@g.d.e.l.g.i.-your excusing of what is alleged to have happened on the ground that everyone does it is really icky.

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The #20
Posted: 5/13/15 at 12:59pm

I don't know the show, and I don't know the people involved, but from my very outsider perspective, there's something charming and admirable about the refusal to give up the ghost on this show (pun intended). If after all this, they manage to get it to the stage, I will have to show up to give it a shot.

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The #21
Posted: 5/13/15 at 1:05pm

Being persistent and being stubborn or defiant are different things entirely. One is admirable, the other is pathetic and dangerous. 

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The #22
Posted: 5/13/15 at 1:14pm

If it happens...hopefully not with Karen Mason as Mrs. Danvers as she is all wrong for the part. Would luv to see Donna Murphy as Mrs. D but likely not.


http://www.rebeccathemusical.com/cast


 

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The #23
Posted: 5/13/15 at 1:14pm

You know Audrey, I really don't think we'll ever see the show on Broadway because I don't think anyone will take a chance on it, but I hope I'm wrong.


As for the cast, the good news is, all of the original leads that were signed on and ready to rehearse are still with the project.


My fingers are crossed, but I'm not optimistic. 

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The #24
Posted: 5/13/15 at 1:32pm

One glaring problem is that almost all the sets/costumes are finished, so assuming the producers can get the money, its coming. If I'm not mistaken, if the show doesn't happen, they will have to pay out the cast (again - those who keep extending), designers, VWB, etc. Its costly for it not to open.


I wonder if Jill Paice (who I think is the absolute perfect actress for the role) will continue with it, given that American in Paris has success. Karen Mason, James Barbour certainly will; I question if Ryan Silverman will. Lisa O'Hare is available now also (the producers liked her in London as an alternate to Sierra Boggess).