Broadway in Chicago presents the Chicago premiere of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. Frank Abagnale is a con artist. He stole over two million dollars. He impersonated a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer. He is wanted by the FBI. And he’s not even 21 yet. Based on the real life of Frank Abagnale and the 2002 film starring Leonard DiCaprio, Tom Hanks and Christopher Watkins, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is a musical imitation of the real thing.
Frank Abagnale’s life adventures were astounding. Director Steven Spielberg captured Abagnale’s unimaginable and thrilling scams in the 2002 film. Now, Terrence McNally (book), Marc Shaiman (music and lyrics) and Scott Wittman (lyrics) use Abagnale’s sensational life story as the backdrop for a vibrant and vivacious stage show. I loved the movie. I didn’t hate the musical.
I went in to this show skeptical. I was curious if a musical would be able to keep the high stakes tension of a chase. I didn’t think it could. And seeing this show reinforced my preconception. The slick elements of the film, specifically; the orchestration of a con artist repeatedly besting the FBI, gets lost in the song and dance lampoon. It’s hard for Stephen Anthony (Frank) to have narrow escapes in the midst of a bevy of stylized choreography. The element of danger gets clowned down from urgent to cute. Despite the lack of intrigue, Anthony enraptures with his adorability and high energy performance. A charming Anthony runs from the Feds, woos the ladies, and writes bad checks with equal earnestness. In the end scene, his vulnerability is marveling.
It’s shows like CATCH ME IF YOU CAN that makes me wonder if I’ve gotten spoiled on a steady diet of theatre. I hold a touring Broadway show to a higher standard based on their ticket cost. There are razzle dazzle elements in 60/70‘s inspired groovy costumes (William Ivey Long), age of television psychedelic projected imagery (Bob Bonniol) and spirited vintage choreography (Jerry Mitchell). Still, the story was a dull version of the movie. The songs weren’t “Butter Outta Cream” memorable. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN doesn’t warrant a hot pursuit for a ticket. Yet, if you go, you might enjoy CATCH ME IF YOU CAN as a plane fun romp.
Running Time: Two hours and thirty-five minutes includes an intermission
At Cadillac Palace, 151 W. Randolph
Based on the autobiography by Frank Abagnale and Stan Redding
Based on the 2002 film written by Jeff Nathanson
Book by Terrence McNally
Music by Marc Shaiman
Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Tuesday at 7:30pm
Wednesdays at 2pm and 7:30pm
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 7:30pm
Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm
Sunday at 2pm and 7:30pm
Thru April 14th
Buy Tickets at www.broadwayinchicago.com