Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Catch "Catch Me If You Can" While You Can


By Skip Sheffield

“Catch Me If You Can” ran for less than a year on Broadway in 2011. It runs only five days through Nov. 18 at Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, but it is certainly worth a look.
Librettist Terrence McNally and songwriters March Shaiman and Scott Wittman adopted the hit 2002 movie starring Leonardo Di Caprio as a charming, very young con man into a stage musical, much the same as Shaiman did with “Hairspray.”
Unlike “Hairspray,” which was based on a campy, spoofy John Waters movie, “Catch Me If You Can” is rooted in the real story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., who wrote of his exploits in a 1980 autobiography.
Frank Jr. is played by Stephen Anthony, a 22-year-old Miami native who looks even younger than his years. This is good, because his character is only 16 when the story begins in New Rochelle, New York in 1963.
This is a time when color television was new and a real big deal. “Live in Living Color” is the opening number, and it sets the rainbow-hued 1960s vibe of the songs and sets to follow.
Frank Jr. is an extraordinarily bright student who is told by his proud father, Frank Sr. (Dominic Fortuna) that he can do anything.
Frank Jr. takes this all too literally when he is mistaken for a substitute French teacher simply because he is wearing a formal jacket (“The Pin Stripes Are All They See”).
This is an easy stretch because his mother Paula (Caitlin Maloney) was born in France and met his father during the war.
 All is not good between mom and dad. He is always living beyond his means and his business is failing. When Paula leaves, Frank Jr. decides to strike out too.
Frank Jr. is a born con man who finds it surprisingly easy to forge checks, ID cards and entire histories. So begins an adventure where Frank Jr. impersonates a Pan Am co-pilot, a doctor who is head of ER at an Atlanta hospital, and a Louisiana lawyer.
During his impersonation of a doctor, Frank becomes smitten with nurse Brenda (Aubrey Mae Davis), a Louisiana girl who ran out of a wedding she did not want.
During all his shenanigans Frank Jr. is doggedly pursued by FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Merritt David Janes), a lonely man who is fooled so many times he develops a grudging admiration for his young quarry.
“Catch Me If You Can” is strikingly staged in LED neon bright colors with a full orchestra on a sloping rising with drummer concealed beneath. Director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell were both on the creative team of “Hairspray,” and the influence shows.
Stephen Anthony has the requisite soaring tenor to pull off his ingenious rascal, and he is quite convincing with the tiny, lovely Aubrey Mae Davis. Ms. Davis is given the score’s best power ballad, “Fly, Fly Away,” and she soars with it.
Leggy chorus girls, limber male dancers, colorful costumes and sparkling scenery, “Catch Me if You Can” has all the elements of a good spectacle. It’s a bit too much at nearly three hours, but you will be entertained.
Tickets start at $25. Call 800-572-8471 or go to

“Sabre Dance!,” Baroque Music at FAU

The Music Department of Florida Atlantic University presents “Sabre Dance!,” Armenian, Austrian and German Masterworks in concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 in the University Theatre. Featured with the University Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Laura Joella is classical guitarist Ken Keaton. There is a suggested $10 donation at the door.
At 3 p.m. Sunday in the FAU Theatre is “Music of Sensitivity:” Music of the Baroque Period with FAU Chamber Soloists, directed by Leonid Treer. Works include Bach, Handel, Locatelli and more. A $10 donation is suggested.

Explore “The World of Downton Abbey” at Spanish River Library

Like “The World of Downton Abbey?” Leecy Barnett of the FAU Library will speak on the British aristocracy, social classes, World War I, the influenza epidemic and other aspects of the era dramatized in the Popular PBS series. The talk is at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 at Spanish River Library. Admission is free.

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