Louise Forlenza

Louise Forlenza

Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza, optioned the show after successful runs in a number of European cities. He first planned to bring it to London but could not raise the money. I know this for a fact, because I was at a meeting of investors for this asking. The London production was cancelled when the prospective theater’s basement mysteriously filled with water. In 2011, Mr. Sprecher announced plans for a Broadway opening in the spring of 2012. Michael Blakemore (City Of Angels) was hired to “assist” the show’s original director, Francesca Zambello. The original $16 million budget was trimmed back to $12 million.

Mark Hotton

Mark Hotton

Sprecher had trouble raising the capital needed to begin rehearsals. He hired a “developer” to find investors, but Mark Hotton, proved to be a master embezzler whose shady history Sprecher had somehow failed to detect. Hotton took Sprecher and Forlenza in, claiming, that an investor named Paul Abrams had died suddenly of malaria after an African safari. Abrams didn’t exist. Hotton was sentenced to 34 months in prison. Sprecher remained optimistic spending his investors money on costumes and sets. In the fall of 2012, with $2.25 million in escrow from an angel named Laurence Runsdorf, Sprecher  had the money that would allow rehearsals to begin. Then Runsdorf, pulled out receiving an email from “Sarah Finkelstein,”  warning him that the Rebecca producers were not to be trusted. “Sarah Finkelstein” was one of several names publicist Mark Thibodeau, whose clients include The Phantom Of The Opera, Sprecher and Forlenza sued. Thibodeau claimed and still claims he was not under contract to them, a New York State Supreme Court justice ruled on May 12, 2015, that Thibodeau was in breach of contract when he sent out those email’s under a false name. His moves abruptly halted production of the musical and added to the legend of one of Broadway’s weirdest and most bizarre cases of production interruptus in modern showbiz history. That case still has not gone to court. There is still a case where not only is Mark Thibodeau is named but also extends to “Defendants John/Jane Does 1–3,” described as “an unknown individual or individuals who induced Thibodeau” to send the three e-mails. Thibodeau swears he acted alone.

Mark Thibodeau

Mark Thibodeau

Rebecca is based on the 1938 Daphne Du Maurier novel (and 1940 Alfred Hitchcock classic) about the dark secrets and mysteries of Manderley that already had taken as many twists and unlikely turns as any Dickens novel.