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.

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