“Catch me if you Can” has always been a fun show, though I’m not sure it’s ever been as fun as Dundalk Community Theatre’s sensational production that opened last night at CCBC Dundalk. Under the direction of Robert W. Oppel and in the hands of a very talented cast, “Catch me if you Can” provides the audience an evening of fun and laughter and a lot of heart. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, I found myself smiling broadly through much of the show.
…this particular production of “Catch me if you Can” is a fabulous one that is sure to satisfy young and old alike.
“Catch me if you Can,” tells the story of a young man – Frank Abagnale Jr. (Jim Baxter) and his exploits on the run from determined FBI agent Carl Hanraty (Steve Antonsen). As a means to escape from his small town, Frank turns to a life of passing off bad checks to make a quick buck and eventually becomes quite good at faking the high life. Frank, aside from being a criminal, is a sweet kid who’s just looking for some fun. In Jim Baxter’s deft hands, Frank comes alive. He plays every note – from arrogant to earnest and back again. Baxter allows the audience to see how Frank’s likability serves him so well in his chosen “profession.”
On the other hand, Agent Hanraty is a determined, hard-nosed public servant who just wants to do his job well, even if that job is to catch a criminal he’s come to respect. Antonsen plays Hanraty as cocky but kind. His sarcasm and quick wit shines through his gruff exterior, which is perfect for a character that was played on Broadway by the uber-talented Norbert Leo Butz. Antonsen reminds me a great deal of Butz; definitely sharing his talent for broad comedy. His Hanraty is the perfect foil for Baxter’s Frank. Both actors are talented in their own right, but the show works even better when the two characters are allowed to play off of each other’s particular skills.
Frank was driven to the life of crime because his beloved father – also a bit of a “big-talker” himself – is having a bit of hard luck. Peter Crews’ Frank Sr. is as likable as Baxter and it isn’t hard to imagine him as the most interesting man in any room. This quality is exactly why Frank Jr. looked up to him so much. After a few adventures, Frank Jr. meets Brenda Strong (Lindsey Litka) and falls in love. Litka has a beautiful voice, and her solo performance of “Fly, Fly, Away” is a highlight of the evening.
Accompanying the cast is an ensemble of talented performers playing everything from fellow FBI Agents to drunk and disorderly air hostesses. Each time this group of actors arrives on stage, they are highlighting a new and elaborate set of costumes which fit each scene perfectly. A minimalist set – designed by Marc W. Smith – provides the perfect canvas for Eva Grove’s multi-color clothing. By using only black and white on stage and aided by multi-color spotlights, the costumes provide some shine and also context as to where these characters are at any given moment. The use of the costumes to set scenes rather than big set pieces is just one of many small but creative choices that greatly contribute to the success of this production. From the talent and the work of those on stage and off, to the heart of the story itself, this particular production of “Catch me if you Can” is a fabulous one that is sure to satisfy young and old alike. In other words, “butter” is most definitely made “outta cream” by this talented cast of creatives and performers.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes with one intermission.
Advisory: Mild adult language.
“Catch me if you Can” plays through May 6, 2018, at Dundalk Community Theatre at CCBC Dundalk – 7200 Sollers Point Road, Baltimore MD, 21222. For tickets, call (443)840-ARTS or purchase online.