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Powerhouse cast for Catch Me If You Can
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Powerhouse cast for Catch Me If You Can

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Catch Me If You Can
5th Avenue Theatre
July 23 through August 16


The 5th Avenue Theatre let their donors and others get a taste of what's cooking up for the summer. They are in development of another new musical that is slated for Broadway in the near future. Catch Me If You Can is based on the story of Frank Abagnale, a conman who finally changed his ways and has become an expert in protective software for the kinds of places he conned, like banks and airlines. His true story was made into a movie starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. Now, the creators of Hairspray, another Broadway musical that had its incubation here in Seattle, are bringing us their new musical so we can see it and give feedback and help them get it ready for Broadway.

Composer Marc Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman, creators of Hairspray, were introduced by 5th Avenue moderator David Armstrong. They talked about how they got the idea to change the movie into a musical and what it takes to translate that onto stage. They recruited Terrence McNally, legendary writer of both musical and non-musical plays such as Kiss of the Spider Woman, Love! Valor! Compassion! and The Full Monty, to write the book (script).

Director Jack O'Brien, known for years as the artistic director at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, has taken on this job, along with choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, Legally Blonde: The Musical, and mentor on the television show Step It Up and Dance) and music director John McDaniel (The Rosie O'Donnell Show, and multiple self-starring CDs). And in case you thought that Bob Mackie, legendary (there's that word again!) fashion and costume designer, was a myth, he's doing the costumes for this show, too!

All these men, and three of the stars of the musical were on hand for the spotlight event. Tom Wopat, still associated in people's minds with Dukes of Hazzard on television, but known for years on Broadway, now, is taking on the part of Frank's dad. Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award-winner for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and star of multiple Broadway hits, is playing the FBI agent who tracks Frank around the world. And you will just have to see Aaron Tveit as Frank!

Tveit does more than hold his own with these two Broadway veterans of note; he is clearly capable of stealing the show! A newcomer to Broadway, he's already hopped around from Wicked to Next to Normal to Catch Me If You Can. Next to Normal is the Tony-winning new musical about mental illness that was created, partly, by Brian Yorkey, long associated with The Village Theatre in Issaquah. So, Tveit will be in two Seattle-generated works on Broadway, in short order. Wopat and Butz sang a couple of wonderful pieces, and Tveit - no costumes, no set, nothing but a piano (and Marc Shaiman) - sang one of the second act songs and blew the audience away. Charisma plus, he's clearly going to be a very big Broadway star for a very long time. Probably to be seen at a movie theater near you, sometime soon, you betcha.

Previews are July 23 to August 5 and the official show opens August 6. Get your calendars out and break out the piggy banks. You're going to want to see this show! For more information, go to www.5thavenue.org or call 206-625-1900.

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