A conman has arrived at the Neil Simon Theatre, and his story blows up on stage in spectacular Broadway musical fashion. Catch Me If You Can, based on the Steven Spielberg film of how a teenager—Frank Abagnale Jr.—forged millions of dollars in checks and created false identities that included an airplane pilot, doctor, and lawyer. While the musical (from the composing team of Hairspray) falters in storytelling and tunes, it makes up for it with its stellar cast and production value.
Front and center of Catch Me If You Can is Aaron Tveit in a star-making turn as Frank Jr. Last seen on Broadway as Gabe in Next to Normal, Tveit’s performance solidifies him as a bona fide star, worthy of stage and screen. With killer good looks, endless charm, and one of the strongest voices on Broadway, the role of Frank Jr. allows Tveit to hijack the production, and he takes advantage of every moment. Not only does Tveit execute every dance step and note with tenacity, but his performance exhibits impressive endurance, as he is in nearly every scene. Tveit makes Frank Jr. crafty, but conveys much needed heart with the characters closest to him, making him sympathetic to the audience. His is a not-to-be-missed performance of an actor exploding into stardom.
Tveit’s performance has potential to show darker sides of Frank Jr., but the show’s book by Terrence McNally doesn’t allow for it. Catch Me gets too caught up in the sparkle of “Hey, aren’t all these fake identities fun!”, while forgetting that Frank Jr. suffers from deep-routed pain and is committing serious crimes. Read more