PLAYBILL.COM'S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Nov. 9-15: The Bard Takes Broadway, 700 Sundays and Little Miss Sunshine Open and Rebecca Lawsuit Continues

By Robert Simonson
15 Nov 2013

Hannah Rose Nordberg and Will Swenson
Photo by Joan Marcus
Newsday was among the most pleased: "The result may not be as deep and daring as Falsettos or as blissfully improbable as Spelling Bee. But the 100-minute chamber musical is an ingenious, jaunty, sweet but not sticky sweet invention that honors the hit movie while, unlike so many adaptations, happily justifies its life on the stage."

For others, however, the show suffered by comparison to those previous efforts. "This limp musical retread of the 2006 indie comedy about a dysfunctional family's healing road trip refuses to take us on any kind of journey," said The Hollywood Reporter. "Given that composer William Finn and writer-director James Lapine previously collaborated on such oddball delights as Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, this stubbornly charmless show is a sad letdown." The New York Times concurred: "Neither gravely disappointing nor entirely rewarding, the musical coasts along perkily as it follows a dysfunctional family on a cross-country journey of emotional renovation."

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It's been a while since we've had a new chapter in the legal morass that is the misbegotten, would-be production of the musical Rebecca. But we got one this week.



Broadway press agent Marc Thibodeau has filed a countersuit against the producers of the much-delayed musical. Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza, producers of the troubled show, filed suit against Thibodeau earlier this year for scaring off an angel investor. As previously reported, the suit states that Thibodeau sent "disturbing and malicious emails" from two email addresses that pointed the anonymous angel to published reports of fraud involving some of the investors behind the show and characterized the project as a bad investment.

Thibodeau's countersuit against Sprecher and Forlenza, filed Nov. 12, claims breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud. Thibodeau states that he was never paid for his work and continued to represent Rebecca on good faith.

Long Island businessman Mark Hotton, who was charged by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office with defrauding producers Sprecher and Forlenza by fraudulently floating the prospect of $4.5 million in investments, pled guilty earlier this year. The Securities and Exchange Commission recently cleared Sprecher and Forlenza of any wrongdoing in their financial dealings. A judge also dismissed Sprecher and Florenza's claims against Thibodeau of fiduciary duty. They continue to pursue their charges of defamation and breach of contract against their former press rep.

And, yes, Sprecher and Forlenza are still hoping for a fall 2014 Broadway arrival for Rebecca.