The national tour of the Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can opened its quick week-long run at TPAC last Tuesday night with a packed crowd and an energized cast. The tale of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a true story of an unlikely con man, was the basis of the hit 2002 DreamWorks film of the same name. Stephen Anthony leads the cast with his fantastic performance as Frank Abagnale, Jr., showing some impressive vocal chops in the opening number “Live in Living Color” and in the closing pieces “Good-Bye” and “Strange But True.”
The show starts with the ending and rewinds so Frank can tell the audience the story from the beginning through the lens of his own 1960s television show. This motif carries through the entire musical, showcasing creative ways to catch the audience up on the backstory. A clever “commercial” advertises all of the supplies needed for Frank to pass bad checks, informing the audience while still keeping them thoroughly entertained.
Beyond the television framework, Catch Me’s songs and dialogue pack a funny punch: FBI Agent Hanratty’s self-deprecating attitude and Carol Strong’s old New Orleans outlook stand out in witty one-liners. Judging by the erupting laughter, a hilarious dinner scene between Frank (a New Yorker) and his girlfriend’s very traditional southern family definitely hit close to home for many in the Nashville audience.
Frank’s constantly shifting identity allows the production to show off several elaborate sets and costumes. Whether the “Frank Abagnale, Jr. Singers and Dancers” are flight attendants or nurses (depending on whether Frank is posing as a Pan Am pilot or an Atlanta doctor), the production is a ton of fun.
— Jane Taylor, contributor