Acclaimed book. Troubled Financier. Broadway dreams.
$4.5 million on the line.
If it sounds like the start of a great Hollywood film, or perhaps the plot ripe for the theatrical stage, it’s because this stranger-than-fiction Broadway showdown is one of the juiciest unravelings of a production that the Great White Way has seen in recent years.
Yes, many productions have trouble making it to the stage. Which is why Broadway transfers need beaucoup bucks behind them if they hope to make the leap. The German mega-musical Rebecca (based on the Daphne Du Maurier novel) was poised for the jump until the mysterious death of a “key investor” just a few months ago. But the strange thing? No one knew who this man, Paul Abrams, really was. That’s because he did not exist.
Mark C. Hotton was arrested yesterday for defrauding the show’s producers. Four times over. Hotton, a middle-man financier for the production, faked the lives of four different investors, leaving the show on the hook for nearly $5 million when the main imposter/investor “passed away” this summer.
“To carry out the alleged fraud, Hotton faked lives, faked companies and even staged a fake death, pretending that one imaginary investor had suddenly died from malaria. Ultimately, Hotton’s imagination was no match for the FBI which uncovered, with lightning speed, his alleged financial misdeeds.”
And apparently it’s not the first time Hotton’s gotten his feet wet in the fraud pool. The Broadway producers also discovered a $750,000 real estate scheme he headed which featured some of the same slight of hand.
A story so full of twists and turns that it makes your head spin.
And once the spinning subsides, it makes you want to write a musical about the musical-that-could-have-been.