Front Row Reviewers

Come Fly, Fly Away to Catch Hopebox Theatre’s Catch Me If You Can

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

By Lindsie Mooney

Catch Me If You Can, the current show playing at Hopebox Theatre in Kaysville, follows young Frank Abagnale, Jr. as he evades the FBI across the globe. With book by Terrence McNally and theatrical score and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman, the high-energy, catchy jazz numbers will be stuck in your head in the best way for days to come.

Set in the 1960s with plenty of nods to the style and social nuances of that era, the show opens with a final showdown between Frank Jr., played by Holden Smith and lead FBI agent Carl Hanrattyplayed by Zackery Western, and his team in the Miami airport. Sure he will be able to find a way out of this predicament if he can stall for time, Frank begs Carl for the chance to tell his story. Here we learn about the events that led him to turn to a life of deception and theft on the run.

Director Kyle Esposito brings a charismatic, at times risque, and very funny vision to life on the stage. The simple but nostalgic set design is by Sarah Treu, Anne Treu, Mary Treu,and Eliza Treu and colorful, bold costume design by Jeffrey Black.

Smith and Western have an immediate connection. Smith is perfectly at ease onstage, charmingly arrogant with a knockout voice. Music director Alexandra Camastro displays Smith’s talent particularly well, especially during “Seven Wonders” and “Goodbye.” Western has a commanding presence, playing Hanratty as a workaholic who doesn’t want to come off as comical, but who often is mocked by his agents for his lack of finesse. His comedic timing is priceless when paired with Frank Abagnale, Sr, played by Jason Wadsworth during “Little Boy Be a Man”, asthey recount how terrible their fathers were. Wadsworth gives us a thorough look at a broken man who refuses to take responsibility for the state his life gets in, instead blaming the government for all of his misfortunes.

Catching his mother, Paula Abagnale, played by Teresea Melendez in the arms of another man one day after school, Frank, Jr’s seemingly ideal life quickly unravels as his parents head for a divorce. During this tumultuous time for his family, Frank does what any child in the middle of a messy divorce wishes they could do- he decides to hit the rails and runs away. As he begins his new life, he learns how to forge checks, conning banks out of millions of dollars. Melendez is a joy to watch on stage, with an accent to die for and a sensual voice perfectly suited for the moody, and times sad, tone of “Don’t Be a Stranger.”

Enter Hanratty, who is investigating the bogus checks. “Don’t Break the Rules” features Hanratty and his agents, and they fill the stage with strong, harmonious vocals and a charming brothers-in-arms banter. It is an animated number, the choreography by Phil Tuckett engaging and fun.

Changing careers again, Frank now becomes a doctor (for what else- the nurses, of course!), even though blood makes him squeamish. The female ensemble is Frank’s back up for almost every number he is in, giving provocative, lively performances a la Vanna White. “Doctor’s Orders” features Lexie Ostler, whose strong vocals are greatly paired with the flair of the number. I would have loved to hear more of the female ensemble featured, but Ostler does a fantastic job. This is also where Frank meets Brenda Strong, played by Morgan Fenner Western. M. Western has a delightfully passionate voice, well-trained and soulful. She gives a show stopping performance during “Fly, Fly Away”, full of soul and determination.

Frank quickly falls in love with Brenda, and she takes him home to meet her quirky and hilarious parents, played by Liz Williams and Bradley Hatch, who are charmed with Frank and eagerly welcome him to the family as he proposes to Brenda during dinner. “Our Family Tree” is a whole company number that shines with a lot of smiles (from both the cast and the audience) and colorful, patterned pastels.

As Hanratty crashes Frank and Brenda’s engagement party, we are then brought back to the opening scene of the show, the confrontation between Frank and Hanratty. “Goodbye”, showcasing the massive vocal ability once again from Smith, also does credit to Derek Raynor’s lighting design.

The mission of the Hopebox Theatre is to bring hope to families battling cancer through the performing arts. During each show run, a member of the community is selected to be the Wall of Hope Recipient and a portion of ticket and concession sales, as well as 100% of the donations, go to that Recipient. The Recipient for this show is Leslie Northam, suffering from stage 4 endometrial cancer.

A great story, at times tragic but lots of fun, too, Catch Me If You Can shows you can’t run from your problems forever, and family is what you make of it. The show does have some adult content and would be better for audiences 10 and up.

Hopebox Theatre presents Catch Me If You Can, book by Terrence McNally, music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Whitman
Hopebox Theatre, 1700 Frontage Rd, Kaysville, UT 84037
April 5-20, Monday, Wednesday, Friday-Saturday 7:30 PM, matinee 2:00 PM Saturday
Tickets: $12-$17
Contact: 810-451-5259
Hopebox Theatre Facebook Page
Catch Me If You Can Facebook Event

Note: Reviewer Lindsie Mooney’s husband Drew Anderson is in the ensemble of Catch Me If You Can.  

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers


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