THEATRE: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.
At the heart is a teenage boy searching for a family and, more importantly, a father.
Subterfuge, romance, catchy tunes and a man in uniform. Catch Me If You Can has it all.
You may remember a 2002 film, Catch Me If You Can based on the true story of young con artist, Frank Abignale Jnr, who lived the highlife impersonating a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer while pursued by FBI agent, Carl Hanratty in a riveting cat-andmouse chase.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg, the film’s success lead to a 2009 musical adaptation, that premiered in Seattle then, two years later, made it to Broadway.
Australian producer Lauren Peters, whose fresh approach to musical theatre has included Cry Baby and High Fidelity, brings the show to Sydney’s Hayes Theatre. Its impressive cast includes Jake Speer (Home And Away) as Frank Jnr, Simon Burke (The Devil’s Playground) as as Frank Snr, Tim Draxl (A Place To Call Home) as agent Hanratty and Jessica Di Costa (Mamma Mia) is Frank Jnr’s love interest, Brenda.
Jake Speer says playing Frank Jnr meant exploring the complexities that drive a character to seek fame and fortune through such large-scale deception.
“At the heart of this unbelievably true story is a teenage boy searching for a family and, more importantly, a father,” he says.
“The film has always been a favourite of mine, but I went to the original book to hear from Frank himself,” says Jake. “The musical is its own beast, but the core is the same, being a search for family and a teenager’s inability to understand consequence. One thing that’s always on my mind through this is the fine balance between illusion and reality. The show hinges on Frank’s perception of his life, his own delusions of grandeur and the harsh reality of his situation, and there’s real pain that lives within that conflict.”
Simon Burke, playing Frank Snr, says he’s excited to be working with this “crazy talented cast” and director, Cameron Mitchell.
“I’m really thrilled to come onboard for Cameron’s first outing as a director. He’s a good friend and one of the best choreographers in the country,” says Simon. “He’s exploring the relationship between father and son, so that’s front of mind for me,” he says.
“Jake Speer is perfect casting for Frank Jnr, and it’s also great to finally work with Tim Draxl, and I’m reunited with Penny Martin, who plays my wife Paula. I haven’t worked with her since we were bright young things in Anything Goes some 30 years ago!”
The cast also includes Monique Salle (RENT), Jordan Angelides (Priscilla Queen Of The Desert), Hannah McInerney (Dogfight), Jarrod Draper (Mimma), Riley Sutton (Dream Lover) and Stacey Thomsett and Erica Stubbs (Saturday Night Fever).
“This show captures the tone of the movie, which is like a wild ride, audacious and fun,” says Simon. “Composer Marc Shaiman captures the spirit of the Sixties, just as he did with Hairspray.”
Jake agrees that Catch Me If You Can has the right ingredients to excite an audience.
“I think people are going to have a really great time with this production,” he says. “Not only do you get the catchy tunes from an amazing score [by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman] and slick dance numbers, but you really feel for the people you seen on stage. It speaks to the romantic in all of us and everyone’s need to be loved. But as much as you get caught up in the big dance numbers, you can’t forget that this was actually someone’s life.”
Catch Me If You Can on Broadway.