Think back to when you were 16 years old. What were you doing? Going to football games? Getting ready for the Homecoming Dance? Obtaining a machine to make fraudulent checks and then tricking Pan-Am into thinking that you were an airline pilot? Well, if you did not experience that last one for yourself, then you should definitely head over to the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre to find out how it was done in the upbeat musical, Catch Me If You Can.
With book by Terrence McNally, and music by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics by Mr. Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Catch Me If You Can tells the true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a con-artist who managed to steal millions of dollars, become a co-pilot for Pan-Am Airlines, pose as a doctor and become an attorney all before most people his age were pledging fraternities in college. First a major motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, Catch Me If You Can became a Broadway musical, earning a Tony nomination for Best Musical.
Ron Giddings is a fantastic Frank Abagnale, Jr., the perfect mix of wily charisma and childlike innocence. Giddings was absolute perfection during “Live in Living Color” and “Stuck Together (Strange But True).” Joshua Mooney does a wonderful job portraying Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent who spends years tracking Frank. Mooney not only entertains the crowd with his soulful voice, especially during “Little Boy Be a Man,” but he makes the FBI agent likeable by showing off a bit of sassiness and humor during “Don’t Break the Rules.”
Frank Sinatra-esque crooner Tom Newbrough and Alicia Sweeney portray Frank’s parents and are absolutely hypnotizing whenever they dance. Hayley Briner brought tears to my eyes as she beautifully belted out “Fly, Fly Away,” her love song for Frank.
Director Mark Briner hit it out of his park with his directorial debut at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre. Playing double-duty, he also took on the role of the Costumer, creating adorably perfect 1960’s attire, including my favorites, the Pan-Am stewardess costumes for the musical number “Jet Set.”
Set Designer Matt Mitchell created a scene reminiscent of the stages Ricky Ricardo performed upon in episodes of I Love Lucy, and he managed to incorporate areas for the musicians (“The Frank Abagnale, Jr. Orchestra”) to perform onstage! Speaking of the musicians, Music Director Julie Ann Hawk’s orchestra members were not only incredibly talented at their art, but they managed to become characters themselves when Carl Hanratty interacted with them at certain parts of the show.
Although there were a few feedback hiccups during the show, Sound Designers Lindsea Sharpe and Dan Snyder made sure that every voice in that large cast could be heard, and Lighting Designer Matt Tillett’s creative use of spotlights illuminated silhouettes onto the nearby Annapolis rooftops. Huge applause goes to Choreographer Becca Vourvoulas whose choreography was so fun and lively that I wanted to join the impeccable Frank Abagnale, Jr. Singers and Dancers onstage and cut a rug with them!
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see this vivacious musical under the stars at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre, so…catch it if you can!
Running Time: Two and a half hours, including one 15-minute intermission.