Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Catch this one if you possibly can

The Tony noms are out and theater people are eagerly picking them apart to see who gets a chance to triumph in five weeks' time or who wuz robbed. The nominees can bask in their glory, but my "wuz robbed" candidate - and I mention it here to urge folks to go see it - is Catch Me If You Can, which should have had more nominations than four, although Best Musical is among them.

Aaron Tveit and the ensemble hoofin' it in Catch Me If You Can

I was much more delighted by this show than the frat-boy humor in Book of Mormon, which I abbreviate as BM since that's about the level it's at. But BM is a sensation, overshadowing other shows by comparison.   

Nevertheless, Catch Me show has it all - stylish concept beautifully executed, engaging choreography, gorgeous leggy chorus girls for the straight men, a shirtless young hunk for the women and gay men, super-hummable tunes, top-of-the-line Broadway creativity everywhere you turn, excellent acting and singing - and the most important thing, a well-told story. Every scene advances the story, which is, basically, a boy looking for a family he can trust. The story also has, surprise, surprise, a moral spine. The device of FBI agent Carl Hanratty every so often "stopping" the show - and the two protagonists debating as to whose show it actually is - is not only brilliant theater, but a reminder that Frank Abagnale Jr.'s clever "fun" involved ripping off other human beings.
The scene between Hanratty and Abagnale, Sr. is absolutely brilliant, subtly morphing from a cop questioning a suspect's father to two men acknowledging how they have been damaged by *their* fathers. And how lovely to have it all wrap up with Hanratty being the upstanding father figure the boy was really seeking.
Aaron Tveit - whom I saw in "Next to Normal" - is a terrific young Broadway star. PLEASE don't go to the movies, Aaron! Kerry Butler - brilliant - too bad she only has one song, but she gives it her all. Love her character's quirks too; she's a real person, not a simpy little ingenue. Tom Wopat and Rachel deBenedet play parents who con themselves and their son, blowing family life apart.
This show deserves more standing ovations.

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