Giant Fraud Kills Broadway Production

Producer believes main 'Rebecca' investor didn't really exist

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Oct 5, 2012 3:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – A producer who had hoped to bring the psychological thriller Rebecca to Broadway as a musical now believes the troubled show was the victim of a giant fraud. The planned New York production was postponed indefinitely this week amid a growing suspicion that one of its primary investors doesn't actually exist. A secretive businessman named Paul Abrams had supposedly pledged $4.5 million to the show, only to suddenly die of malaria.

A lawyer for Rebecca producer Ben Sprecher now says he believes the mysterious Mr. Abrams was fictitious. He says someone staged an elaborate ruse with forged documents and bogus correspondence to make Sprecher believe he was dealing with four potential investors in the show, none of whom were real. The FBI is investigating. Rebecca was a hit for author Daphne du Maurier in 1938, and for director Alfred Hitchcock in 1940.

Ensemble members perform during a dress rehearsal for the musical Rebecca at Vienna's Raimund Theatre.
Ensemble members perform during a dress rehearsal for the musical "Rebecca" at Vienna's Raimund Theatre.   (AP Photo/Stephan Tirerenberg, File)
Susan Rigvava-Dumas performs the role of Mrs. Danvers during a dress rehearsal for the musical Rebecca at Vienna's Raimund Theatre.
Susan Rigvava-Dumas performs the role of Mrs. Danvers during a dress rehearsal for the musical "Rebecca" at Vienna's Raimund Theatre.   (AP Photo/Stephan Tirerenberg, File)
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