Rehearsals were supposed to begin today for the gothic musical "Rebecca," based on the best-selling novel by Daphne du Maurier. But the dark $12 million Broadway show has been postponed for the second time due to events which look as if they could have sprung from the play's plot itself. False identities, millions of dollars and a mysterious e-mail make up this bizarre tale of wealth and deceit.
The drama began with a mysterious investor identified by the New York Times as Paul Abrams, a Broadway insider who pledged $4.5 million -- a third of the show's budget -- to its producer Ben Sprecher. Abrams died suddenly in August from malaria, yet there was no obituary or death certification for the wealthy benefactor. It was later revealed that Sprecher had never met or even spoken on the phone to Abrams, a man who may not even exist.
Sprecher postponed rehearsals temporarily during the hunt for new capital, and eventually found a new source to nearly fill Abrams' gap. The play was slated to finally begin rehearsals when the new investor was scared off by an anonymous e-mail last Friday that was "filled with lies and innuendo," the producers wrote in a statement to Playbill.
The producers question the unnamed e-mailer's motives and character: "Why anyone would be so hateful and cruel and would go to such a huge amount of effort to uncover confidential information... and send such an e-mail with the goal being to shut down a production that involves the jobs of over a hundred people and their families, is something I am having a terrible time grasping," Playbill reports. After this unexpected turn of events actors, musicians, artists, technicians and the rest of the team are left in limbo until producers can find a new way to fill the funding gap.
The bizarre unfolding of events, complete with ghostly benefactors and anonymous letters, seems to mirror the play's plot quite nicely, which tells of an English estate haunted by a beautiful woman who died years ago. Of the turmoil, a veteran producer told the New York Post: "I have never seen anything like this. And I don't think it's over."
Check out some Broadway world records below:
The World's Longest Running Musical
<strong>"<a href="http://www.thefantasticks.com/" target="_hplink">The Fantasticks</a>."</strong> The original off-Broadway production ran a total of 42 years and played 17,162 performances. It opened in May 1960 and closed in 2002. The show's closing in 2002 didn't mark its end however, the new revival is currently running at the <a href="http://www.snappletheater.com/nowplaying.html" target="_hplink">Snapple Theatre in NYC</a>. We wonder if this new revival can break the current 42 year record...
Longest Running Time For An Opera
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/13/stockhausen-opera-premier_0_n_1342269.html" target="_hplink">Karlheinz Stockhausen</a>. </strong>The German composer's seven opera cycle, "Lickt" ("Light: The Seven Days of the Week") is approximately 29 hours long. The cycle has never been performed in its entirety, partly because of its length, but also because of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/stockhausen-helicopters_n_1342212.html" target="_hplink">extreme technical requirements of each opera</a>.
Longest Concert By A Solo Artist
<strong><a href="http://www.alexrok.com/index.php/music/" target="_hplink">Alex Carlin</a></strong> whose concert ran for 32 hours and was performed at the Pub Bourbon Street in Radomsko, Poland in 2009. We're having a hard time believing that people were able to stay for the full concert, but judging from the video footage it looks like Carlin had a very lively audience.
Painting Sold For Highest Amount At Auction
<strong>Edvard Munch's "The Scream."</strong> The pastel version of "The Scream" sold for nearly $120 million in May, nearly $40 million more than it was estimated to sell for. The anonymous buyer bid over the phone. "The Scream" fetched $13 million more than <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/arts/design/the-scream-sells-for-nearly-120-million-at-sothebys-auction.html" target="_hplink">Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," bought two years ago for a record of $106.5 million</a>.
Highest Grossing Broadway Show
<strong>"<a href="http://www.lionking.com/" target="_hplink">The Lion King</a>." </strong>The show opened on November 13, 1997 and since then has <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/lion-king-box-office-record_n_1412592.html" target="_hplink">grossed a total of $853,846,062</a>. <em>(Photo credit: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
Most Performances Of An Actor In The Same Role
<strong><a href="http://backstage.blogs.com/blogstage/2009/04/actress-catherine-russell-celebrates-recordbreaking-22-years-and-9000-performances-in-perfect-crime.html" target="_hplink">Catherine Russell</a></strong>, who has played the role of Margaret Thorne Brent in, get this, the longest running play in the history of New York theater ("<a href="http://www.perfect-crime.com/" target="_hplink">Perfect Crime</a>"). Just to blow your minds a little further, the theater that houses "Perfect Crime" also houses "The Fantasticks" which won the award for the longest running musical of all time. The Snapple Theater Center which houses both productions, was built by Russell and she currently manages it. Wow, she just might hold the record number of culture world record categories to be a part of. We doubt she has any career changes planned in the future.
World Record Marathon Shakespeare
<a href="http://www.recordholders.org/en/records/shakespeare.html" target="_hplink">Adrian Hilton</a>, who performed every single role of Shakespeares along with all of the Bard's sonnets and poems. It took Hilton 110 hours and 46 minutes to complete--almost 5 days! Not sure how he recovered from that one.
Highest Grossing American Film
<strong>James Cameron's "<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499549/" target="_hplink">Avatar</a>."</strong> The film grossed a domestic total of $749,766,139. Globally, the film grossed an astronomical $2,782,275,172--unbelievable. The only film that comes close was the worldwide release of Cameron's <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120338/" target="_hplink">Titanic</a>.
Longest Reign At No. 1 On BillBoard's Top 100
<strong>Mariah Carey's collaboration with Boyz II Men.</strong> The song, "One Sweet Day," spent a total of 16 weeks (four months) at number 1 on <a href="http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100#/charts/hot-100" target="_hplink">Billboard's Hot 100 chart</a> in 1995.
The World's Longest Running Concert
<strong>"<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/21/as-slow-as-possible-concert_n_1104863.html" target="_hplink">Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow As Possible).</a>"</strong> The performance, based on composer John Cage's "As Slow As Possible," is set to last 639 years and is still being performed at the former St. Burchard church in Halberstadt, Germany.
Longest Film Of All Time
<strong>John Henry Timmis IV's "<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0284020/" target="_hplink">The Cure For Insomnia</a>."</strong> Timmis' film runs 5,220 minutes (87 hours/3 days and 15 hours). The film has no formal plot, and consists of the <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1007137/" target="_hplink">artist L.D. Groban</a> reading his 4,080 page poem "A Cure For Insomnia." The film is occasionally spliced with snippets of heavy metal and pornographic videos. The associated photo is an excerpt from the poem.
Longest Piece Of Performance Art On Record
<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/13/film-explores-marina-abra_n_1592891.html" target="_hplink">Marina Abramovic's "The Artist Is Present</a>."</strong> The performance artist's most recent work at the MOMA consisted of her sitting (six days a week, seven hours a day) across from another person--the total time she sat reached 700 hours.
Correction: An earlier version of this article listed "Auster" not Abrams, in the second paragraph. We apologize for the confusion.
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