Death of funder prompts postponement

The Broadway tuner “Rebecca” has hit another roadblock, with the death of one of the production’s major investors forcing producers to delay the start of rehearsals.

The investor, whom reps for the show would not name at the behest of the producers’ lawyers, had been on tap to pony up $4.5 million for the pricey musical. The investor died in early August, and negotiations with the deceased’s estate have been ongoing to secure the funding but have not yet been resolved.

The delay in rehearsals, which were to start Sept. 10 but now have been postponed by at least two weeks, will also necessitate the rescheduling of previews and opening night, with the show previously on the calendar to start previews Oct. 30 ahead of a Nov. 18 opening.

The current turbulence isn’t the first funding hurdle to be encountered by “Rebecca.” The tuner was originally aiming to land on the Rialto last spring, but lead producers proved unable to raise all of the show’s $12 million capitalization costs in time, pulling the plug in January, two weeks prior to the scheduled start of rehearsals.

Although this latest delay is only announced for two weeks, there’s no guarantee the legal matter will be resolved by then. If it’s not, the musical could find itself yanked off the Broadway sked yet again.

“We had been reassured that the commitment would be honored, and have tried day and night to finalize this matter, but as of yet have been unable to do so, which has left us no choice but to delay the start of rehearsals for ‘Rebecca,’ ” producers Ben Sprecher and Louise Forlenza said in a statement.

A new English-language version of a 2006 German-language musical that has spawned multiple productions in Europe, “Rebecca” has a new book adaptation by Christopher Hampton with lyrics by Hampton and original bookwriter/lyricist Michael Kunze. Music is by Sylvester Levay, while Michael Blakemore joins original helmer Francesca Zambello as co-director.

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