Rebecca Troupers Told First Rehearsal Is Oct. 1
By Kenneth Jones
The cast of the rehearsal-delayed new Broadway musical Rebecca was informed by producers in a Sept. 26 email that rehearsals would commence on Oct. 1, indicating that the show's previously reported capitalization issues are expected to be cleared up.
A $4.5 million shortfall in funding prompted lead producers to postpone the start of rehearsals by two weeks. The producers said that an unnamed overseas investor responsible for that money had died. Meanwhile, the marquee has been up, the sets are being created and promotional appearances have been made.
Rehearsals were to have begun Sept. 10 toward a Nov. 18 opening at the Broadhurst Theatre. Previews were scheduled to begin Oct. 30. New first-preview and opening dates are expected to be announced.
Playbill.com obtained a copy of the private email between production stage manager Tripp Phillips and the company. It reads:
"Ladies and Gentlemen: This is to officially notify you that the first rehearsal for Rebecca will be next Monday, October 1 at 10:00 AM at New 42 Street Studios, 229 West 42nd Street, 7th Floor. Closer to next Monday, I will be sending you, via email, a detailed rehearsal schedule for our first day. I can tell you that the rehearsal day will be 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with lunch the first day from 12:30 to 1:30 PM (an early lunch for the first day only). The lunch break will usually be from 1:30 to 2:30 PM. I look forward to seeing you next Monday morning at 10:00 AM. Thank you and all the best, Tripp."
Cast member Howard McGillin, contacted on Sept. 26, declined to share the email with Playbill.com, but said, "I think everyone involved would say it's been an excruciating past few weeks not knowing if we were going to work, and there must have been a collective sigh of relief all over town today when we received word from Tripp Phillips, our production stage manager, that we would be starting rehearsals on Monday morning. We're ready to go to work. It's a terrific cast, fantastic creative team, and we can't wait to make this show take off."
A spokesman declined to comment on Sept. 26.
At last report, Sept. 22, a spokesman for the producers of the show based on the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier — about a mysterious English estate called Manderley — released this statement: "Lead producers Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza informed the cast, creators and production team Sept. 21 that they have secured commitments from several sources to fill the gap in capitalization created by the death of the major investor in early August.
"Signed contracts for those investments have gone out and the funds transfers are expected within days. As soon as that occurs, production will resume and the new first-rehearsal date set. The cast was also informed that they will be paid for next week [the week of Sept. 24], whether or not rehearsals are able to begin next week. But the hope is that they will."
The European-bred musical, popular in markets there, was originally scheduled for the 2011-12 Broadway season with Sierra Boggess and Tam Mutu as its stars. It was postponed in January 2012 due to incomplete capitalization, and its stars moved on to other projects. The production was rescheduled — with Jill Paice and Ryan Silverman as its new leading players, "I" and her husband, Maxim de Winter, respectively — to begin this fall at the Broadhurst.
As previously announced, Tony Award winner Michael Blakemore (Noises Off, Copenhagen, City of Angels) and Francesca Zambello (The Little Mermaid, Little House on the Prairie) will co-direct.
The musical has original book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, music by Sylvester Levay, English book adaptation by two-time Tony Award winner Christopher Hampton (Sunset Boulevard) and English lyrics by Hampton and Kunze.
The Broadway production marks the English-language premiere of the show, and includes storytelling amendments and new staging since its popular engagements in Europe.
Multiple Tony-nominated director-choreographer Graciela Daniele (Once On This Island, Ragtime) will create the musical staging for the Broadway production.
Here's how producers bill the show: Rebecca is a spectacular new musical drawn from the classic Daphne du Maurier novel about love and obsession reaching from beyond the grave. In this romantic thriller, Maxim de Winter brings his new wife [known only as 'I'] home to his estate of Manderley. There she meets the intimidating housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, who had a very special relationship with Maxim's first wife, the beautiful Rebecca, who died a year earlier in a boating accident. The young woman discovers Manderley is a house of devastating secrets, and the mystery of Rebecca may be the greatest of them all as she finds the strength to challenge Mrs. Danvers and save her marriage."
The principal cast of Rebecca will feature Karen Mason (Sunset Boulevard, Mamma Mia!) as Mrs. Danvers, two-time Tony Award nominee Howard McGillin (The Phantom of the Opera) as Frank Crawley, James Barbour (Beauty and the Beast, A Tale of Two Cities) as Jack Favell, Donna English (Lend Me a Tenor) as Beatrice de Winter, Nick Wyman (Les Misérables) as Giles and Henry Stram (1996 Obie winner, Broadway's Titanic) as Ben.
Scenic design is by Peter J. Davidson, costumes are by Jane Greenwood, lighting is by Mark McCullough, sound is by Peter Fitzgerald, hair and wig design is by Tom Watson, make-up design is by Ashley Ryan, special effects are by Gregory Meeh and projections are by Sven Ortel. Musical direction and supervision are by Kevin Stites.
Rebecca had its world premiere in 2006 by Vereinigte Buhnen Wien at the Raimund Theater in Vienna, where it played for more than three years. Productions of Rebecca have also played Budapest, Hungary; Bucharest, Romania; Helsinki, Finland; Stuttgart, Germany; St. Gallen, Switzerland and at the Imperial Theatre in Tokyo.
For more information, visit RebeccaTheMusical.com.
Here's a look at the German company:
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