Somewhat Recommended** Eleven years have passed sine Steven Spielberg’s hit movie “Catch Me If You Can” depicting the story of con-man Frank Abagnale’s biography- where he, at the age of 16 ran away from home and became the best con-man ever. At the ripe age of 16 he became a pilot, then a doctor and then a Lawyer and along the way, one of the best forgers and check-kiters the FBI had ever chased. This hit movie has been transformed to a stage musical and after a weak run on Broadway is now touring the country, temporarily in a “holding pattern” at Broadway in Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre.
Unlike the original Broadway production, since this is a road show, the set has bene reduced to a smaller scale replacing some of the glitzy backdrops to vidoe projections and a blazing light show with the smaller orchestra on stage. Following the direction (Jack O’Brien) and Choreography (Jerry Mitchell) this story with a book by Terrance McNally) and music by Marc Shaiman) with lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman) follows the movie to a degree, but of course, being a musical, the words of the original have been altered to become songs – with an opening number that is over 10 minutes long as we start the story with the capture of young Frank( ( deftly handled by the highly energetic, powerfuly voiced Stephen Anthony) by long time chaser, FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (a charming Travis Mitchell). Frank,Jr. asks to tell his story and Carl says okay. This is where we find ourselves being treated as if we ticket holders at one of Ed Sullivan’s “Toast of the Town” tapings. ( for those of you who do not remember this Sunday night TV fare ( you can google it and learn a great deal about television history) with his singers and dancers as we are introduced to all the characters in the “really big show”!
While there is some strong talent in this young and energetic cast, and one or two of the songs could possibly stand alone as actual songs, most of the music is very near to the song we just heard and there are far to many songs that bring out dancers and singers where they are not needed. The “glitz” of the costumes and the energy of the cast is the saving grace to this production, bot if you are a real fan of the movie version, you might just find this hokey production a slap in the face to your taste. If you just want to be entertained for two hours and like the spectacle of a BIG SHOW at a fraction of the price you might pay for the bigger Equity shows that come in town, you will have a decent time. Prices for this show begin at $18 with a top price of $85 ( far below what other Broadway In Chicago tickets range from). Oh,yes- for those of you who don’t know the “rest of the story”. He goes to Prison, serving 7 of 15 years and upon release becomes and FBI specialist in crimes that he knows the best. How’s that for a happy ending?
There is a strong ensemble and some very long legged dancers. Dominic Fortuna plays Frank Sr. and Juniors mom i splayed by the lovely Caitlin Maloney. Brenda ( Frank’s true love) is played by the adorable Aubrey Mae Davis. who has a powerful song in the second act where she shows that big things come in small packages as she belts out “Fly,Fly,Fly Away”. One thing I can tell you – if you have had a bad day at work, this show will clear your head. There are a few laughs and some wonderful moments in song and dance. To see for yourself, you only have until April 14th with performances as follows:
Tuesdays 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sundays 2 p.m. ( on 4/7 a 7:30 p.m. show as well)
Tickets can be purchased at any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices, by phone at 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com note: if you are using this, you can also pre-buy parking at a reduced rate.
The Cadillac Palace Theatre is located at 151 West Randolph ( at LaSalle) and there are plenty of dining spots within walking distance.
To see what others say, visit www.theatreinchicago.com go to Review Round-up and click on “Catch Me If You Can”