When I heard that “Catch Me if You Can” was coming to the Pantages Theatre I was both ecstatic and perplexed. Ecstatic because there are few stories more fascinating than that of super star con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. who in the 1960’s starting as a late teenager rocked the world with his scams, schemes and audacious impersonations including as a Pan Am Pilot and a medical doctor. But I was also perplexed trying in my mind to envision how anyone could successfully turn that amazing story into a musical. In 2002 Steven Spielberg released the story on film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale, Jr. and Tom Hanks as his nemesis FBI Agent Carl Hanratty, but a musical – really! Well Tony award winner Terrence McNally wrote the book and Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman scored it and now it is at the Pantages theatre in Hollywood where it is wowing the audience
“Catch Me if You Can” is new and refreshing and filled with both a compelling story and great music. It is simply so energetic it is impossible not to get swept away in the moment. Sure Frank Abagnale Jr. swindled over two million dollars at a time when two million dollars was still a whole lot of money, but he was not only the kind of scoundrel you liked but ultimately he left the dark side and spent most of his adult life helping law enforcement put an early end to the criminal careers of hundreds if not thousands of thieves and con artists. In the end Frank Abagnale Jr. became one of the good guys.
The touring company at the Pantages features Stephen Anthony as Frank Abagnale, Jr. His performance is simply brilliant and captures your heart and mind. Yes, of course, the character is a super criminal but dang it he is also so lovable. Stephen projects that perfectly complete with numerous subtle yet critical facial expressions. Merritt David Janes is the quintessential career FBI Agent Carl Hanratty. He doggedly pursues the rakish Abagnale with a combination of respect and determination to bring him to justice. Another stellar standout is the gorgeous Aubrey Mae Davis whose rendition of “Fly, Fly Away” is breathtakingly hypnotic.
Despite its origin in crime the entire show is pure delight and effervescent joy. “Catch Me if You Can” is fresh and vibrant and certain to leave all who see it with vivid and happy memories of a piece of musical theatre the way it should be.
“Catch Me if You Can” is at the Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028 now through March 24th, 2013. Show times are Tuesday through Friday at 8 pm, Saturdays 2 pm and 8 pm and Sundays 1 pm and 6:30 pm. The show is recommended for ages 10 and older and runs approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission. Ticket information is available at the Pantages box office, at HollywoodPantagaes.com, Ticketmaster.com and by calling 1-800-982-2787. Go and enjoy this show, you will thank me.
Please take a moment and subscribe to this Examiner. Thank you.