Posted February 13, 2013 | © Photo courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals
The Tony-nominated musical comedy Catch Me If You Can starts off with a bang (literally), takes you jet-setting across the country, hustles its way into your heart, and then culminates with an FBI takedown (albeit a touching one with heartwarming songs and spectacular dance numbers).
This 1960’s style ‘ultimate reality show’ is based on the hit DreamWorks film and amazingly true autobiographical story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr. who successfully posed as a pilot, attorney, professor, and pediatrician while cashing $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state (and 26 foreign countries) ... all between the ages of 16 and 21. With a white-jacket-and-bow-tie-clad onstage orchestra and a huge background video screen projecting cityscapes "Live in Living Color," this captivating storyline is told through a snappy score (every song is a good one) along with a highly entertaining fast-paced succession of uplifting flashbacks sprinkled with several heart-felt tear-jerker moments.
The 22-year-old, barely-graduated, Zac Efron-esque Stephen Anthony plays Frank Abagnale with star-quality charm and self-assured swagger as he lives the swanky high life making "Butter Outta Cream" until his final "Good-Bye." Abagnale’s love interest is ordinary girl Brenda, played by the far-from-ordinary Aubrey Mae Davis with looks, expressions, and mannerisms reminiscent of a young Lisa Whelchel. Davis absolutely stopped the show with her deeply-emotional “Fly, Fly Away” thereby eliciting an extended string of "woo"-ing from the audience along with an exuberant round of applause at curtain call.Merritt Davis Janes also shows off his fine skills as the unrelenting FBI Agent Carl Hanratty, a quintessential good guy who chases Abagnale to the bitter(sweet) end resulting in inevitable justice coupled with a surprisingly sweet redemption. The production (directed by Jack O'Brien, winner of three Tony Awards plus seven nominations) is extremely well cast and also includes Dominic Fortuna as Frank’s tough-but-tender dad, Caitlin Maloney as his delicate French mother, Amy Burgmaier as Brenda's hilarious Cajun mom, and more.
Catch Me If You Can is an exciting traditional musical with lots of singing (music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, best known for the Tony Award-winning Hairspray), numerous fun costumes (by William Ivey Long and varying from a walking set of counterfeiting supplies to the famous Pan-Am flight attendant uniforms), and an ensemble of beautiful, leggy "glamazons" that strut their stuff through fantastic contemporary dance numbers (choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, best known for his work on the original production of Legally Blonde).
This incredibly engaging show runs at Dallas Summer Musicals through Sunday, February 24, 2013 at the Music Hall at Fair Park with new earlier start times (see show details and full season lineup), and will likely leave you wanting to prance out of the theater while snapping your fingers in the air. We’re still humming tunes.
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