Frank Abagnale Jr’s story is one for the ages. This real-life teenage conman swindled his way through 1960s America with reckless abandon and served as the inspiration for the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can. While Leonardo DiCaprio lent his beautiful face to the silver screen, the Majestic Theatre’s upcoming adaptation brings song, dance, and actual people into the equation.
It’s fun, sexy, and you’ll be bopping to the beat all the way home. This is something that beats Leo every time. Sorry, Leo.
Catch Me If You Can, written by Terrence McNally, with music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, debuts at the Majestic Theatre on Nov. 2 and will run for three weekends.
The production sings its way through the legendary story of Abagnale Jr (Max Morter/Noah Vanderburgh). Troubles at home with his parents (Michael Wren and Michelle Giles) push him out onto the road where he cons to survive. He catches the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Eric Wright) and a years-long chase ensues.
Director Ruth Mandsager proposed the show because of its jazzy 1960s tunes and the clever writing of McNally, who also wrote Mandsager’s Majestic directorial debut The Full Monty.
While this show shares a lot with its sexy cousin, Catch Me If You Can brings new elements to the table.
For starters, the musical is one of the most dance-heavy in Majestic history, with choreographer Jeremy Urann calling it a “dance-ical”, featuring over 10 major choreographed pieces, several including the entire 30+ person cast.
Secondly, music director/conductor Jim Martinez and his orchestra have left the pit behind and are on stage for the entire show. While Martinez and his crew are used to performing on stage, he says “the temptation to watch the action on the stage instead of our music” is the hardest part.
Finally, the show features a piece of tech that is brand new to the Majestic. A motorized lift was created for the theatre by mechanical engineering students from Oregon State University, and it makes its debut during Catch Me, raising actors and set-pieces on and off stage throughout the production.
All of these new elements blend together with the tried and true appeal of pure musical theatre to create a magical night that should not be missed.
Get ready to dance, Corvallis.
Catch Me If You Can opens Nov. 2, and runs through Nov. 18. Tickets will run $18 for adults and $16 for students and seniors. Tickets are just $10 on opening night and Thursdays. For more information, visit www.majestic.org.
By Nathan Hermanson