Few musicals have had as rocky a road to Broadway as Rebecca. The initial Broadway production was postponed in 2011, only to be delayed in 2012 and ultimately postponed again when funding fell through. A remarkable scandal ensued involving a phantom investor, making it seem that Rebecca was doomed to never secure the financing it needed to get to Broadway. But the show’s producers have now announced that despite the many obstacles they have encountered, they’ve not given up on bringing it to Broadway.
Rebecca‘s lead producer, Ben Sprecher, says that he and the show’s producers still have the rights to present it on Broadway in 2013, so they are hoping to finally get the show onstage before the end of the year. The production’s directors and designers are still attached, and there are plans to ask the previously announced performers back to the production. Though the drama surrounding the production may have seemed to put a black mark on it, Sprecher has said that in reality it gave them a great deal of publicity that helped to bring in more financing.
Based on the Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name, Rebecca is an eerie and mysterious romance about a young woman who marries a wealthy man with a secret past. It is widely known from the Alfred Hitchock film version starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine.
Rebecca, the new Broadway musical set to begin preview performances on October 30, is creating advance buzz by way of an interactive online “journey” for fans dubbed The Manderley Experience (Manderley is the name of the mansion estate where Rebecca, based on the Daphne du Maurier novel, takes place). From July through October, fans will have the chance to win one-of-a-kind, show-related experiences each month, leading up to the biggest of all, an Opening Night package for Rebecca‘s Broadway opening night on November 18.
The Manderley Experience is run primarily through Rebecca‘s Facebook page. Each time fans interact with the world of Rebecca there, they earn ShowPoints that can be redeemed for rewards and automatically enter them into the running for each month’s prize.
The monthly Rebecca prizes include a master class with the show’s own make-up artist and a make-up kit to take home, a backstage tour of the Rebecca costume closet and a signed memento, the chance to shadow the stage manager before a performance and a prop to take home, and a vocal warm-up with one of the cast members. All of the prizes also include tickets to see a performance of Rebecca on Broadway.
The grand prize is for opening night, which gets the winner a trip to New York City, a stay at the W Hotel, designer clothes for the occasion, and a limousine-chauffeured trip to see the show. More details are available at www.rebeccathemusical.com.
If Rebecca the musical finds this unique marketing strategy effective, more Broadway shows might follow suit. It is a good way to get potential fans engaged in the world of the musical early on and to get the show buzzing on Facebook. What’s more, the cost to the show’s producers is probably relatively cheap when one considers that most of the prizes are about providing a backstage experience with a staff member rather than giving away an expensive item.