Being a teenager takes on a new meaning for Frank Abagnale, Jr. in the hit musical Catch Me if You Can. Based on the hit 2002 movie with the same name, Catch Me if You Can tells the story of Frank as he goes from teenager to FBI’s most wanted. Catch Me if You Can combines classic Broadway with a modern touch, making it a fantastic musical for all ages. Catch Me if You Can greatly mimics the movie in both plot and dialogue. The major difference, though, is the interjections of musical numbers within the show, bringing the action to the bigger-than life Broadway style. It begins with the arrest of Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before being arrested, asks to tell his life “Live in Living Color” as an average 1960’s colorful, peppy television show. The musical then flashes back to Frank’s teenage years, showing his first lie as he pretends to be the French substitute at his new school. Eventually, Frank walks in on his mother dancing with one of his father’s friends, and soon after, his parents divorce. In the midst of the custody trials, Frank runs away, turning to check fraud in order to live the high life.
The story follows Frank throughout his many adventures as a fugitive from the law—first as a crook, then as a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. The story stays exciting with a few near misses for Frank as he encounters his enemy FBI agent, Carl Hanratty, narrowly escaping many times before the capture shown in the first scene. This cat and mouse game along with other comedy sets the stage to be a hilarious play.
Even the best Broadway shows would be nothing with terrible actors. Luckily, the audience of Catch Me if You Can is not plagued by such a misfortune. Every character was played to its fullest, but a few stood out among the rest. Amy Burgmaier, who played Frank’s fiancée’s mother, was absolutely hilarious. She was so funny that she was considered by some to be the funniest character in the entire show. Other funny characters are the chorus of FBI agents who aid Hanratty in the investigation.
Merritt David Janes, who played Carl Hanratty, was fantastic. His portrayal of the obsessive FBI agent was compelling, and his bluesy voice helped bring the audience into the story. He was fun to watch, and his heartwarming change near the end of the story brought a good dynamic to the character.
And, of course, I must mention Stephen Anthony, Frank Abagnale, Jr. His lovely singing voice is what brought the show to life, and his comedic timing was impeccable. He single-handedly fought his way through the show, depicting the lovable crook so common in old Broadway shows.
Finally, one must not forget the chorus. The chorus, as in many other Broadway shows, had to be extremely versatile. The women’s parts ranged from sexy flight attendant to sexy nurses. Okay. Maybe not so versatile. Yet, they helped bring new life and energy to the show, as a chorus should. Through flawless quick changes and exciting dance numbers, the chorus helped the show flow.
Old-time Broadway has taken a new turn with the musical Catch Me if You Can! Both the music and theme reflects classic Broadway, yet they modernized many elements. For example, instead of using a backdrop that had to be slowly changed between scenes, Catch Me if You Can used a monitor to project the images. As a result, the show flowed and they were able to provide a moving background. Also, the band, which was fantastic by the way, was seated on the stage, giving them a bigger part within the show.
Catch Me if You Can is the perfect blend of classic Broadway and modern technology, creating a timeless masterpiece that the whole family will enjoy. It is showing at the Orpheum from Tuesday, October 16th through Sunday, October 21st. There will be a Broadway 101 Master Class on Thursday, the 18th. With all of these opportunities to see the show, why would you miss it? So, come see Catch Me if You Can at the Orpheum Theatre, and enjoy a night of pure entertainment.
Karen Schaeffer - STAR Reporter