“Two little mice of great renown
fell in some milk and one proceeded to drown
The other one’s still the toast of the town
‘Cause he made butter out of cream”
I don’t think it’s possible to count how many times I heard those lyrics last night at Catch Me If You Can, but I didn’t mind a bit. Catch Me If You Can is the remarkable true story of a boy, Frank Abagnale, Jr. He was a master con-man and successfully posed as a PanAm pilot, doctor, and parish prosecutor, all before the age of 20. His proficiency at check fraud ultimately led to his working for the FBI after serving his jail time. His father constantly sings the above song, reminding his son that they’re the second mouse, the ones who came out on top, even if they struggled a bit in the beginning. This song is a perfect metaphor for the show at large.
I walked in not knowing at all what to expect. Having never even known there was a movie until the person next to me told me they had “really high expectations for the show since they loved the movie so much,” five minutes before the show started. After the first few numbers, I found myself beginning to doze off, and was altogether not super impressed with any of the characters. The lead seemed young and inconsistent, and perhaps in need of a few more rehearsals. His first numbers with just him and the orchestra were shaky at best, and I began to find myself wondering when the show would be over. This was definitely, I thought, a mouse struggling to get out of cream. I wholly expected it to drown.
Was I ever wrong, however. After the group numbers, the show picked up steam and I found myself watching cream turned into butter before my eyes. Frank Abagnale Jr., played by Stephen Anthony, actually did better during the huge group numbers, complete with jaw-dropping costumes (a definite highlight), phenomenal music, and a masterful use of the multi-dimensional stage. He was skilled and trained singer, which became evident during his belted notes, when his voice rang clear as a bell through the entire theater. The dance numbers were also incredible. After looking through the Playbill to learn what master must be in charge of the fantastic choreography, it was none other than Jerry Mitchell, a renowned choreographer who notably directed and choreographed Legally Blonde on Broadway. The costumes perfectly reflected the era and never once detracted from the overall performance.
As a whole, this was one brilliant show. Obviously written for a mostly adult audience, there were, like in many shows, small innuendos that had the audience busting a gut (not literally) in their seats and kept the show moving along at a quick pace. The final large number, “Good-Bye,” brought tears to my eyes and was worth the price of admission right there. As I walked out of the theater facing my freezing walk home, there was no question that this show was indeed the second mouse, and it should be “the toast of the town” for years to come.