Flashback Friday: ‘Catch Me If You Can’ and Aaron Tveit still capturing hearts

Aaron Tveit as con-man Frank Abagnale, Jr. in 'Catch Me If You Can'

Aaron Tveit as con-man Frank Abagnale, Jr. in ‘Catch Me If You Can’

A pilot, a doctor and a lawyer are all on the run from justice. The twist? They’re all one man.

Catch Me If You Can may have had a short life on Broadway but it still remains in the hearts of fans all over the world. The musical starred Aaron Tveit as Frank Abagnale Jr., a charming and cunning young man who deals with his parents’ recent divorce by running away from home. He begins to live his life on the edge and turns to cashing fake checks in banks all over the country while posing as different identities. It isn’t long before the FBI is on his case. Agent Carl Hanratty (played by the incomparable Norbert Leo Butz) is determined to track him down and bring him to justice.

The musical also featured Kerry Butler as Abagnale’s love interest, Brenda Strong, Tom Wopat and Rachel de Benedet as Abagnale’s parents and a standout ensemble which included Rachelle Rak, Alex Ellis, Joe Aaron Reid and Jay Armstrong Johnson.

Filled with suspense, a swinging score and a twist of romance, Catch Me If You Can was a brilliantly composed musical with a riveting plot.

This 2011 production was held in high regard by its fans for a multitude of reasons. First of all, it reunited a few members of the Hairspray creative team, including director Jack O’Brien, choreographer Jerry Mitchell and composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The catchy songs ranged from the spunky and upbeat “Jet Set” to the tearful ballad “Goodbye.”

The cast of 'Catch Me If You Can'

The cast of ‘Catch Me If You Can’

Accolades abounded for this musical. Butz earned a well-deserved 2011 Tony Award for his performance in this musical and Tveit’s popularity soared to new heights with every energetic show. Butler’s gorgeous rendition of “Fly, Fly Away” brought the house down and Wopat’s low rich tone and emotional portrayal of Abagnale’s father was memorable as well.

The method of storytelling used is innovative. Similar to the film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, it starts in the current day with Abagnale’s arrest. Just as Abagnale is set to face the music, he starts up his own orchestra and promises Hanratty that if he lets him tell his story (in similar style to a 1960s television program, hence the “Live in Living Color” opening anthem) he will also tell Hanratty all of his secrets. We are then shown through Abagnale’s past which of course leads to the inevitable present.

“Catch Me If You Can” had moments filled with writhing tension, classic show stoppers and even inspiration. This production’s class and flair was refreshing, and made for a beautiful piece of theatre history. Its close on Broadway on Sept. 4, 2011 after a run of 166 performances was devastating to many but the sheer entertainment and charisma the cast and crew brought to the table was enough to last a lifetime.

But…is it too soon for a revival? Leave your answers in the comments.

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2 Responses

  1. I loved this show. I don’t understand why it didnt last longer. LOVED the music, the outfits, the talent, the story. Luckily caught it four times; a rarity for me.

  2. This is intern is a wonderful writer. I’m looking forward to reading her other stuff :)