BWW Review: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN Plagued By Problems
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is a musical with a libretto by Terrence McNally and a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It follows the story of con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. The plot borrows heavily from the 2002 film of the same name, which in turn was based on Abagnale's 1980 autobiography. The musical received four 2011 Tony nominations. The current production is directed by Joshua Denning.
In the 1960s, Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Till Simon), a young con man, is cornered at the Miami International Airport by FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Tristan Tierney) and his team. Hanratty asserts that there's no use in running, as his men are trained to shoot. Before his arrest, Frank pleads with Hanratty to allow him to inform the people in the airport why they're beating at him, though Hanratty only wants to know how he passed the bar exam in New Orleans to pose as a lawyer. Frank promises he will tell him all his secrets if they allow him to tell his story. A reluctant Hanratty agrees. The story is then told in a series of musical numbers that are seen through the lens of sixties style music, leaning toward the style of TV variety shows.
When a show leans as heavily as this one does on dance, there is a certain level of snap and flash that is required. Considering the history of Mac Theatre, this should have been right in the wheelhouse of what they do well. Unfortunately, the choreography here, by Natalie Jolly-Uehara, is performed without a sense of precision which makes it appear to be under rehearsed.
The costumes, by Skel Gracie, while looking appropriately sixties, appeared to be ill fitting in places. This proved particularly problematic with the PanAm stewardess uniforms which the girls spent a great deal of time trying to adjust without calling too much attention to themselves.
Additional problems evident on opening night included multiple issues with the sound resulting in moments where the singers couldn't be heard and feedback. Other technical issues included wigs so badly styled that in one number with a bevy of Marilyn Monroes that it looked like they were taken straight out of the box and stuck on the dancer's heads to disastrous distracting effect. Hopefully, these lesser technical issues can be smoothed out for the remainder of the run. I also hope that the light from the rear projection that features so prominently in the scenic design can be adjusted so that it isn't constantly pulling focus.
High marks can be given to musical director Sarah Mainwaring for getting wonderful vocals from this hard working and energetic cast.
Mac Theatre has a reputation for doing work that is of a quality that can hold up to any theatre in town; unfortunately, with CATCH ME IF YOU CAN they do not live up to their usual high standard.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, Book by ,Terrence McNally, Music and Lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, produced by Mac Theatre (5600 Sunshine Drive, Austin, Tx 78756, Phone: 512-414-2519 )
Sept. 28 - Oct. 8
Thursdays - Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.