Christian Thompson to Replace Corbin Bleu in Revised CATCH ME IF YOU CAN at Arena Stage

This production will feature a never-before-performed version of the book by Terrence McNally and two songs which were not in the original Broadway musical.

By: Jan. 20, 2022
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Christian Thompson to Replace Corbin Bleu in Revised CATCH ME IF YOU CAN at Arena Stage

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater has announced casting for a new version of the Tony-nominated musical comedy Catch Me If You Can, featuring a book by Terrence McNally, music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman and based on the Dreamworks Motion Picture.

Catch Me If You Can will feature Christian Thompson (Broadway's Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations) as Frank Abagnale Jr., replacing the previously announced Corbin Bleu, and Nehal Joshi (Arena's Disgraced, Oklahoma!) as Carl Hanratty. Also featured is Jeff McCarthy (Arena's Oliver!, Broadway's Urinetown) as Frank Sr. Click here to see a glimpse of Christian Thompson as Frank Jr.

Making their Arena Stage debuts are Rhett Guter (Olney's Singin' in the Rain) as Roger Strong, Hayley Podschun (Broadway's Wicked National Tour) as Brenda Strong, ensemble members Cara Rose DiPietro (New London Barn Playhouse's Catch Me If You Can), Jeremiah Ginn (Broadway's Anastasia National Tour), Candice Hatakeyama (Alabama Shakespeare Festival's Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella), Ryan Lambert (Broadway's Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway), Jody Reynard (Broadway's Summer: The Donna Summer Musical), Kyra Louise Smith (The Public's Soft Power), Kristin Yancy (Kennedy Center's The Who's Tommy) and swings Brianna Latrash (Irving Berlin's White Christmas National Tour) and Bryan Charles Moore (Signature's A Chorus Line).

Joining the cast and returning to Arena are Alexandra Frohlinger (Arena's The Pajama Game) as Carol Strong, Stephanie Pope as Paula (Arena's The Odyssey) and ensemble member Brett-Marco Glauser (Arena's Disney's Newsies).

With the blessings of and in consultation with creators Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman and Tom Kirdahy (husband of the late Terrence McNally and head of his estate), this production will feature a never-before-performed version of the book by Terrence McNally and two songs which were not in the original Broadway musical: "50 Checks" and "Here I Am to Save the Day".

Catch Me If You Can, directed by Molly Smith, with choreography by Parker Esse and music direction by Laura Bergquist, will run March 4 - April 17, 2022, in the iconic in-the-round Fichandler Stage. Press night for Catch Me If You Can will be held on Thursday, March 17 at 8 p.m.

"In Catch Me If You Can, con men are rampant and the 60s are roaring," says Smith. "Imagine hearing new words from the great Terrence McNally almost two years after his passing. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's dynamic and visceral music takes us to the swinging 60s with a wink towards today. Re-envisioning this musical with the whole creative team has been a distinct pleasure and thrill. In this moment of con men and con women, this is a perfect time to dive into a musical about a young con man who gets caught."

Smith and Jocelyn Clarke, dramaturg, examined five different versions of the script to create a new book that focuses on the beating heart of the musical-the relationship between fathers and sons, both biological and created.

"Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Tony and Olivier Awards for Best Musical; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) are the perfect example of a team that always keeps the story center stage," shares Smith. "Each character has a musical and lyrical language that ensures the audience knows exactly what the character is feeling. Terrence McNally was a theatrical groundbreaker and a five-time Tony Award winner with a career spanning six decades."

Marc Shaiman adds: "When Arena Stage came to the three of us and asked if there was unused or additional material we might like to see included in their production, we went back to different drafts of the script from the years of the show's development, and we truly look forward to seeing their unique, revised version of our show!"

Parker Esse's choreography is inspired by the essence of Jack Cole jazz and the jazz dance pioneers that followed; it is a love letter to the 1960s imbued with a modern sensibility and filled with athleticism and storytelling. Laura Bergquist's musical direction is a mixture of big band and jazz infused with gospel and R&B: energetic, tuneful and fun, while tugging at the heartstrings.

Smith's creative collaborators for Catch Me If You Can include Choreographer Parker Esse, who returns for his 18th Arena Stage production, Music Director Laura Bergquist, Set Designer Alexander Dodge, Costume Designer Alejo Vietti, Lighting Designer Nicole Pearce and Sound Designer Daniel Erdberg.

The creative team for Catch Me If You Can also includes Associate Director and Text Director Anita Maynard-Losh, Associate Music Director William Yanesh, Assistant Choreographer Kristin Yancy, Fight Director Robb Hunter, Intimacy Consultant Jenny Male, Dialect and Vocal Coach Lisa Nathans, Dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke, Casting JZ Casting/Geoff Josselson, C.S.A and Katja Zarolinski, C.S.A., Stage Manager Hannah Sullivan and Assistant Stage Managers Marne Anderson and Emily Ann Mellon.

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