On Rebecca

The Rebecca billboard on Broadway
So my heart has been ripped out by the recent events surrounding Rebecca: Das Musical's troubled and ultimately aborted transfer to Broadway. That link is a pretty good rundown of what happened, but basically the producer, Ben Sprecher, was probably the victim of an audacious financial scam that left his production 4.5 million short of its budget. So now Rebecca's Broadway opening has been postponed indefinitely, and several hardworking theatre people are out of work.

I love this musical, in all its incarnations. In the past three years since I became acquainted with it, I have been longing for a production that was closer to where I live than Austria or Japan. There were myriads of rumours and workshops and aborted productions in the English-speaking world, but this was the closest an English production came to actually opening.

Yeah, I do feel betrayed. It's a vicarious betrayal, perhaps, but it hurts all the same. I can't even imagine the disappointment of those who had bought tickets to this show or those whose bread and butter were depending on its premiere and run. It's a gigantic loss.

I feel that anger is the only acceptable emotion to have towards the debacle, both towards the person or persons who perpetrated this despicable fraud and towards Ben Sprecher. The situation was severely mishandled by Mr Sprecher. There were livelihoods and reputations running on his decision-making, and he played fast and loose with them.

Though I try to be an optimist when it comes to the inevitable disappointments in theatre, the things that have happened lately serve only to upset me. An English-language production of this wonderful show seems unlikely now. I would not blame anyone if they decided to drop this project, and frankly the fact that Mr Sprecher wants to try producing Rebecca again isn't heartening.

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