Producer: Silver lining for 'Rebecca' financial woes?

An exterior view of the Broadhurst Theatre, where An exterior view of the Broadhurst Theatre, where the musical, "Rebecca," was to open in Manhattan. The play was ultimately cancelled due to lack of financing. (Oct. 3, 2012) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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All the publicity surrounding the financial problems of "Rebecca: The Musical" -- and the arrest of its purported financial angel -- could give the moribund show a second wind and might lead to an opening as early as next year, the producer said.

"Because of this crazy publicity," producer Ben Sprecher said Tuesday, he believes "Rebecca" has become a "wanna-see show."

On Monday, federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged Long Island businessman Mark C. Hotton, 46, with fraud, accusing him of fabricating four investors for "Rebecca," the musical based on the Daphne du Maurier story, and walking away with about $60,000 in various fees and payments. Hotton had promised that his mythical investors could pump as much as $4.5 million into the production, a promise that was a sham, prosecutors said.

The failure of Hotton's investors to materialize over the summer proved disastrous when the show's entire $12 million financial package collapsed.

But in an interview with Newsday, Sprecher said he hopes once the dust settles and "the truth comes out" that people will take a second look and start putting money into a show. The first step is to start planning for the show to go forward, Sprecher said.

"We are in the process of making plans, making a proper budget; a development plan is going forward," he said. "Obviously we're interested in talking to anybody" who wants to invest.

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Sprecher said the entire limited partnership for "Rebecca" requires $12 million to $14 million in capital, of which $6 million had already been spent.

"We still owe the vendors some money. Everyone is being very understanding," Sprecher said.

Sprecher said the show might open as early as this year, but the curtain going up in 2013 was his realistic forecast if financing comes through. Interest had been so strong that the production had $1.3 million in advance sales with just a mailing, he noted.

Meanwhile, Hotton, of West Islip, who faces additional fraud charges in a federal indictment in Brooklyn involving his various businesses, is being held without bail, as are his wife and three associates. A bail hearing for Sherri Hotton -- but not her husband -- and the others is expected Thursday in U.S. District Court in Central Islip, said a legal source familiar with the case.

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