Theater Review: "Catch Me If You Can" On Broadway
The movie starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale and Hanks as Carl Hanratty, a hardworking cat doing his darndest to catch a preternaturally gifted mouse. This spring, a musical version of the movie, with music by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray) premiered on Broadway.
The musical, starring Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal) in the DiCaprio role, and Norbert Leo Butz (Wicked, The Last Five Years) as Hanratty, might have two of the most delightful male voices on the Great White Way. It’s an aural joy just to hear Tveit and Butz sing, and even nicer to hear them sing together.
Unfortunately, the score doesn’t do them any favors. While it shines at moments, such as “Live in Living Color” (a number that is incredibly reminiscent of the composers’ prior work), and soars to even greater heights on “Goodbye,” other songs are considerably more disappointing, including “The Man Inside the Clues,” a song literally about trash.
The show as a whole is very pretty. The lighting design (by Kenneth Posner) does a great job of using the color/black-and-white dichotomy, adding subtle layers to the aesthetic of the show. Also, David Rockwell’s scenic design helps Tveit pop up almost everywhere, making his character even more slippery and elusive.
As a whole, though, the show seems to be trying to look like a relic of the 1960s, with little regard for authenticity. For example, it seems the show would have the audience believe that women from that era did not believe in pants, skirts, or any kind of leg covering other than tights.
Still, Tveit and Butz truly shine in the show. Butz is utterly believable as an exasperated, righteous FBI man, and Tveit’s Abagnale Jr seems like a walking magic trick, appearing and disappearing at will, adopting a new career and outfit every time the audience sees him, but still retaining the vulnerability of a teenage boy trying to escape the fact that he has nowhere to call home. The male and female ensembles are also very strong.
And yet, the pieces never coalesce into a satisfying whole. Despite the considerable efforts of the talented cast, the show is ultimately reminiscent of the movie—pleasant, but frustrating in that it realizes so little of its vast potential.
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