Catch Me If You Can on Broadway Reviews

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Catch Me If You Can Broadway Reviews

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Average Critics Rating:
5.00 out of 10
Average Reader Rating:
9.00 out of 10

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'Catch Me If You Can' musical delivers solid entertainment - Score: 8
From: New Jersey Newsroom By: Michael Sommers Publication Date: 04/11/2011

A thoroughly professional endeavor, “Catch Me If You Can” is not the most brilliant or original musical ever to land on Broadway, but it confidently provides audiences with a tuneful diversion that flies along very agreeably.

Catch It If You Can - Score: 8
From: New York Magazine By: Scott Brown Publication Date: 04/11/2011

Butz is, predictably, the first to bring down the house, pushing an otherwise undistinguished patter-gospel number ("Don't Break the Rules") to impressively incensed heights. By the time the orchestra goes silent and things get dark for swingin' Frank, their relationship feels a lot more earned than I'd ever expected. Maybe I got conned. If so, I didn't mind.

Catch Me If You Can - Score: 7
From: ScheckOnTheater By: Frank Scheck Publication Date: 04/11/2011

There’s so much that works about Catch Me if You Can that it’s easy to overlook what doesn’t. This adaptation of the 2002 Steven Spielberg film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks boasts the sort of old-fashioned aspects so many contemporary musicals lack: solid storytelling, characters you come to care about and a tuneful, memorable score. Only the awkward structure and slow patches of Terrence McNally’s book prevent it from being a total triumph.

Catch Me If You Can - Score: 7
From: Variety By: Steven Suskin Publication Date: 04/10/2011

Strongest contribution is from the music department, with a big band sound coming from alive-and-onstage band. Conductor John McDaniel presides from a perch in the stage right corner, bobbing along to swinging orchestrations by Shaiman and Larry Blank. That musical sound and the perfs from Butz and Tveit (with assists from the briefly seen Butler and Hart) offer considerable entertainment value. Sadly, though, this "Catch" of the day is not especially compelling.

High Spirits, Higher Legs Launch 'Catch Me If You Can' - Score: 6
From: Bloomberg News By: Jeremy Gerard Publication Date: 04/10/2011

The show itself? An odd duck. The songs are by the "Hairspray" duo of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who are very adept at writing and arranging pop songs that fly by effortlessly without leaving much of an impression. They're played by a sensational onstage swing band.

Catch Me If You Can - Score: 6
From: Entertainment Weekly By: Thom Geier Publication Date: 04/12/2011

Jerry Mitchell's choreography is also a bit of a grab-bag - a little kick-line here, a little Fosse there - though it's consistently both energetic and spirited. In fact, the entire cast (which also includes Tom Wopat as Frank Abagnale Sr.) seems to be working very hard to put over the material. Under the direction of Jack O'Brien, though, Catch Me If You Can moves mostly in fits and starts. The first act ends abruptly, without a big production number, and throwaway songs like '(Our) Family Tree' with Brenda and her parents tend to stop the show in its tracks. In the end, you have a rooting interest in both Frank and his cohorts on stage. You want them to get away with just about anything. But the creators of Catch Me If You Can have rigged the game against them. What should have been a fun lark of a story seems almost stodgy, like your grandmother's idea of a good time.

Catch Me if You Can - Score: 6
From: Time Out New York By: David Cote Publication Date: 04/11/2011

The fault might be in Catch Me’s awkward framing device. Early on, just as he’s finally nabbed in an airport, Frank (Tveit, ruthlessly charming) stops the action and insists on telling the audience his version of the story, against the wishes of the schlumpy but persistent Hanratty (Butz, full-bodied, triumphant). Frank opts for the format of a classic 1960s TV variety show, with sexy dancers, broad comedy and plenty of swinging tunes. But this may not be the best way to tell the story of a teenager who cashed more than $2 million in forged checks and impersonated an airline pilot and a pediatrician. The TV-special approach condenses large amounts of material into a jaunty, episodic structure punctuated by brassy numbers, but it also flattens the relationships—especially the potentially moving father-son bond between Frank and Carl.

'Catch Me If You Can' - Score: 5
From: New York Daily News By: Joe Dziemianowicz Publication Date: 04/11/2011

The show has wonderful moments, but issues abound. McNally's overstuffed story jockeys unsteadily between hijinks and serious drama. With Frank's story, the FBI agent's story and Frank's girlfriend's family's story, it's just too much. Shaiman and Wittman's score shows polish and style. "Butter Out of Cream" smoothly states Frank's life motto, while "Don't Be a Stranger" is a moody backdrop for a glamorous dance. But "(Our) Family Tree" and "Doctor's Orders" could've been cut and never missed.

'Catch Me If You Can' Looks Good But Lacks Heart - Score: 5
From: The Hollywood Reporter By: David Rooney Publication Date: 04/10/2011

There's nonetheless much to savor in a production polished to a high sheen. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman again prove themselves an ace songwriting team. Their score evokes cocktail lounges, glitzy floorshows, Rat Pack suaveness, mellow jazz and energized go-go, all wrapped up in Shaiman and Larry Blank's silky-smooth ‘60s-styled orchestrations. And Mitchell's choreography puts a vigorous period-appropriate spin on every number. As Hanratty, Butz (a Tony winner for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) does nuanced work balancing the jaded, paunchy slob with the wisecracking professional, driven in his quest to catch Frank yet plagued by the melancholy awareness that his job is his life. The boyishly handsome Tveit, who turned heads in Next to Normal, graduates to a lead role with sparkling self-assurance, strong pipes and natural charm. He makes it easy to like Frank, even if the show makes it hard to love him.

'Catch Me' doesn't capture art of the con - Score: 5
From: USA Today By: Elysa Gardner Publication Date: 04/10/2011

One feat that Abagnale did not attempt was writing and starring in a stage musical about his youthful adventures. And now we know why. Not that Catch Me If You Can (* * ½ out of four), the new Broadway show based on the aforementioned film and autobiography of the same name, is a dud. Boasting a score by the famously witty team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and a book by Terrence McNally, Catch Me is too ambitious and stylish in its efforts to entertain and move us to induce boredom. The main problem with this production, which opened Sunday at the Neil Simon Theatre, is that only one of the two leading men is consistently compelling. And it's not the one playing Abagnale (Aaron Tveit).

Catch Me If You Can - Score: 5
From: am New York By: Matt Windman Publication Date: 04/10/2011

But in spite of so much promise, "Catch Me If You Can" is so disappointing that it will leave you wishing you could travel back in time and watch "Hairspray" again.

Musical 'Catch Me If You Can' Struggles to Connect - Score: 4
From: Associated Press By: Mark Kennedy Publication Date: 04/10/2011

And yet there's something here that just isn't connecting, that smacks a bit of a color-by-numbers musical. A large reason may be the role of the hero, who is, after all, a cipher - a faker, a fraud, a man who is whatever we assume him to be. Beneath the pilot's uniform or doctor's white coat, there's little but a smile and a wink. "Blink your eyes and I'll be gone," he sings in one song. And he's right: He leaves nothing that resonates behind. Played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film, this time the role of Frank Abagnale Jr. has been handed over to Aaron Tveit. As pretty as a Ken doll and blessed with a wonderful voice, Tveit nevertheless struggles to convey genuineness.

Adaptation could've stuck more closely to the script - Score: 4
From: Chicago Tribune By: Chris Jones Publication Date: 04/10/2011

Given the way that style, racy and uninhibited though it may be, pervades so much of O'Brien's production, it makes it much harder to buy in emotionally to the themes that the musical brings up more successfully in Act 2. Frankly, the show gets caught between worlds. It doesn't want to fully embrace the caustic "Chicago"-style edge -- aside from Mitchell's choreographic pastiche, Shaiman's varied score has a typically romantic heart, and the lead actor, Tveit, is more rooted in sweetness and charm than edge. The show also has a powerful and very traditional 11 o'clock number for Kerry Butler, who plays Frank's eventual love, nurse Brenda Strong. But Butler's vocal emotions, rich and strong as they surely feel in this terrific Shaiman melody, "Fly, Fly Away," seem as curiously out of place as her uncertain performance, mostly because we never see the two youngsters actually falling in love.

Scamming as Fast as He Can - Score: 4
From: New York Times By: Ben Brantley Publication Date: 04/10/2011

The script also draws blunt parallel lines between Frank, the pursued, and Carl, the pursuer, a work-obsessed loner. They turn out to have a lot more in common than you might suspect (except that you do, from the beginning), and they are each dutifully given songs to explain how and why. The flashy musical numbers definitely emerge from the plot, just as they are supposed to do in your basic organic musical, but they sometimes have the chalky flavor of audio-visual aids. The notion of Frank as a little boy lost limits the performance of Mr. Tveit, who was terrific as the mother-haunting son in "Next to Normal." He has intense presence, for sure, and a bright, blasting voice (though it belongs more to the age of "American Idol" than "American Bandstand"). But his performance is ultimately one-note, all shine and no shadows.

Clumsy 'Catch' fumbles - Score: 3
From: New York Post By: Elisabeth Vincentelli Publication Date: 04/10/2011

"Catch Me If You Can" makes Abagnale a sympathetic figure guilty mainly of charming everybody. Tveit is handsome and sings well, but overuses his Colgate smile and lacks the pizazz necessary to sell the snake oil. This Frank is a junior, all right: many personas but little personality. Butz, on the other hand, has charisma to spare -- which is saying something, since he puts the "ratty" back in Hanratty. His body hunched at an angle, a greasy-looking hat perched on his head, he creates a fully rounded character, and displays unfailing musical-comedy flair.

'Catch Me' fumbles at Neil Simon Theatre - Score: 3
From: Newsday By: Linda Winer Publication Date: 04/10/2011

News that the guys from "Hairspray" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" were making a musical based on the movie "Catch Me If You Can" raised a couple of intriguing -- also daunting -- questions. How? And why? That is, how could songs, dances and a Broadway stage add to the plot-heavy adventures of a real-life teen con man without losing the odd and breezy travelogue style of Steven Spielberg's...

Catch Me If You Can - Score: 2
From: Backstage By: Erik Haagensen Publication Date: 04/10/2011

Under Jack O'Brien's impersonal direction, the talented cast works hard to make an impression. As Frank, Aaron Tveit has stage presence, sings powerfully, and dances with pizzazz, but he's unpersuasive as a teenager and misses the character's vulnerability. The role of Hanratty has been retooled to fit Norbert Leo Butz's wonderfully shlumpy eccentricity, and the actor brings all his formidable musical comedy skills to bear on it, but even the heroic Butz can't transcend the synthetic material. As Frank's downward-spiraling father, Tom Wopat sounds the evening's sole notes of genuine humanity but can't finesse a final exit of extreme bathos. In the too little, too late role of Brenda, a young nurse Frank falls for, Kerry Butler offers her trademark ditziness and is saddled with the painfully pointless "Fly, Fly Away," a misguided attempt at a late-Act 2 showstopper.

Don't Let its Name Be a Curse - Score: 2
From: Wall Street Journal By: Terry Teachout Publication Date: 04/12/2011

On the credit side is an unusually fine piece of acting by Norbert Leo Butz as Special Agent Carl Hanratty (played in the film by Tom Hanks). Tom Wopat, one of Broadway's finest singers, shows off his ever-reliable pipes as Frank's father, and Mr. Tveit is thoroughly likable as Frank. The most that can be said about Jack O'Brien's staging, alas, is that it's efficient, while Jerry Mitchell's choreography is as facelessly derivative as the songs. Best of all is Kerry Butler as Brenda Strong, Frank's hapless girlfriend. Ms. Butler has somehow contrived to give a performance glowing with truth in a show that's devoid of it.