Wednesday, April 27, 2011

REVIEW: Catch Me If You Can (New York)

Neil Simon Theatre (New York), Saturday April 23

Part of the fun in going to a musical version of a film or book is to see how it gets translated. With Catch Me If You Can, several permutations have came across my mind, and yet this production surprised me. This musical with book by no other than Terrence McNally, music by the fabulous Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman provided a strong foundation on which Jack O'Brien built a classy and gorgeous production.

The musical started in an airport where Frank Abagnale, Jr. was caught before revealing a production done in the manner of a 70's variety show with a 16-piece orchestra raised up at the back along a circular stairway. The show kept a movie-like pace by using simple props and kept glitzy with a scintillating chorus beautifully choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. Everything about the production was elegant and flowing.

The cast members were particularly strong with Norbert Leo Butz at the top leading. Butz's agent Carl Hanratty was perfect! While it bears no similarity to Tom Hanks in the movie (not that it should), Butz invested in the role the type of commitment and talent that kept the character believable, consistent and endearing. Aaron Tveit's Frank Jr. was more in the line of Di Caprio. He has that boyish charm that no drama school training can provide.

At the point of this writing, I have seen 8 musicals during this trip and I have to say that this is the best so far.


Catch Me If You Can
Opened in Broadway on April 10 2011
Lyrics by: Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Music by: Marc Shaiman
Book by: Terrence McNally

Creative Team:
Jack O'Brien (Direction)
Jerry Mitchell (Choreography)
David Rockwell (Scenic Design)
William Ivey Long (Costume Design)
Kenneth Posner (Lighting Design)
Steve Kennedy (Sound Design)

Cast Includes:
Norbert Leo Butz (Agent Carl Hanratty)
Aaron Tveit (Frank Abagnale, Jr.)
Tom Wompat (Fran Abagnale. Sr.)
Kerry Butler (Brenda Strong)
Rachel de Benedet (Paula Abagnale)
Linda Hart (Carol Strong)
Nick Wyman (Roger Strong)

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