The Broadway production of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca is currently at the centre of a bizarre plot that is quickly threatening to out-do the storyline of the play itself. The latest developments, as reported on by LA Times, suggests that a former stockbroker was arrested yesterday (October 15, 2012) “on suspicion of concocting a cast of phantom investors to defraud producers of the planned Broadway musical.”
The lines between fiction and reality are very often blurred in the world of theatre but such a blurring usually occurs on the stage, courtesy of the actors. In this case of this Rebecca Broadway show though, it’s one of the people funding the production that has been creating his own fiction and drama. Mark C Hotton had vowed that millions of dollars were coming in from various investors. When that money failed to materialize, the opening date of the production was delayed, rehearsals were put back and suspicion began to grow. Hotton’s elaborate lies involved the invention of an investor by the name of Paul Abrams, who mysteriously died of malaria after a trip to Africa. Then, Hotton created another fictional character, by the name of Wexler, who was supposed to be ensuring that Abrams’ investment still made its way to the production.
Investigators soon discovered that Hotton had created a “trove of fake email addresses, business websites, and fictitious names and addresses. All of them led back to Hotton, according to the complaint, and a review of IP addresses showed that most of the emails were sent from computers in New York linked to Hotton.” Hotton, aged 46, has been charged with two counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years. Whether or not the production of Rebecca, starring Jill Paice, can still continue looks pretty doubtful; the curtain may now have well and truly fallen on this Broadway adventure.