The story of one of the most well-known con artists in history will be staged in Timaru.
The South Canterbury Drama League’s production of Catch Me If You Can The Musical is based on the film and true story, Catch Me If You Can, featuring Leonardo di Caprio and Tom Hanks.
Set in the 1960s, the production follows the life of precocious teenager Frank Abignale Jr, who runs away from home to begin an unforgettable adventure, seeking fame and fortune.
With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged cheques, he successfully cons people by assuming a multitude of identities – an airplane pilot, doctor and lawyer, to name a few.
The play’s director Sarah Prentice said the show had been a lot of fun to bring to the stage.
“Based on a real life story, it is more than just a story about fame and money with more curves than a Playboy bunny as the opening number promises,’’ she said.
“At its core is something much more universal, something we’re all longing for during these turbulent times – the search for truth.’’
She said the “beating heart of the story’’ is the relationship between fathers and sons, both biological and created.
“The relationship of the con man to his alcoholic father, on the one hand, and to the sympathetic FBI agent on the other.
“Catch Me If You Can is the high-flying musical comedy about chasing your dreams and not getting caught. The adventure is one you’ll have to see to believe.’’
The cast of 24 began preparation for the show three months ago.
While there were always challenges with every show, from negotiating shared rehearsal spaces, cast illnesses, and limited rehearsal periods, Prentice said one of the biggest had been the complexity of the show in all areas.
“From blocking to choreography, it has been a real challenge vocally, especially for our first time musical director, Bethanie Cootes-Gallagher, and choreographer, Stevie Cootes-Gallagher, who have both risen to the challenge along with the talent and dedication of our cast.
“The musical aspects of the show are really thriving.’’
She said people should see the production as it celebrated the art of the con, “along with the hope of a more innocent time’’.
“The fact that this is a true story where some of the characters still exist in this world was fascinating to me.
“It’s a show that I’ve loved for years and I have spent a lot of time listening to the music of it.’’
She said the highlight of the show had been working with a talented cast and production team, including the choreographer and musical director.
“It’s been an absolute honour to not only be able to work with each and every one of them to bring this remarkable story to life, but to also have had the privilege to witness these true life characters be brought back to life.
“Good actors actually inhabit their roles, meaning that the performer is the ultimate impostor, something that the irony in a show about the ultimate con man was not lost on me. I can’t wait for Timaru audiences to be able to see them in action.’’
Catch Me If You Can The Musical will run at the Playhouse from July 21 to August 5. Tickets are available at iticket.co.nz.