Rebecca Producer: “I was duped. I was raped”

Ben Sprecher, “duped” producer of Rebecca.

“I don’t think like an F.B.I. agent,” Ben Sprecher, one of the lead producers of “Rebecca,” defends himself in the New York Times, in the latest development in what I’ve been calling The Weirdness of Rebecca, a saga involving accused con man Mark C. Hotton and  the four fictitious investors he allegedly invented, which resulted in a spectacular implosion of a musical that had scheduled an opening date on Broadway.

“I thought I did my homework on Hotton and saw that he was a legitimate guy, that he was a broker and worked in securities,” Sprecher said. “I didn’t look hard enough.”

The producer still hopes to mount the gothic musical based on the Daphne du Maurier novel. But according to Bloomberg News, Sprecher and the other lead producer, Louise Forlenza “have until Dec. 31 to fill their financial hole or face the real-life investors who contributed millions and are entitled to a full refund.”

What did Hutton stand to gain from promising to hook Sprecher and Forlenza up with investors who would fill the much-needed $4.5 million hole?  The Times explains that  Hotton had already collected $60,000 from the producers “in fees and expenses.” Sprecher now suspects that was only going to be the beginning of the con.

“Do I feel like I was duped?” Sprecher said. “I was duped. I was raped.”

Update from the Associated Press: A former stockbroker charged with defrauding a fledgling Broadway production was held without bail Wednesday after a prosecutor called him a “considerable threat” to the community…. If convicted, Mark Hotton, 46, could face up to 40 years in prison.

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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