"Catch Me If You Can" - the musical now showing at the 5th Avenue - is one crazy-stylish thrill ride you do not want to miss. I knew it would be good - after all, the talent behind it is fully loaded with Tonys ("Hairspray" and "The Full Monty") - but from the opening foot race up the theater aisles, to the last impossibly infectious song ("Strange But True"), this show gets it exactly right.
It's based on the unbelievable-but-true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a sexy con artist who impersonated a doctor, a lawyer, and a Pan Am pilot (!) -- and made off with millions -- all before he was 21. The cast is stellar; Frank Jr. is played by Aaron Tveit (of Broadway and "Gossip Girl" fame), but my date and I loved Norbert Leo Butz's bored, middle-aged FBI agent Hanratty. Here is one cool customer, with the tossed-off, hard-bitten cynicism of a "dark and stormy night" detective, delivering songs like "Here I Am (To Save the Day)" with gorgeously bored suaveness.
I'll go back to this show, and take the kids. It's a solid PG-13, thanks to a bunch of dancing in bras and a handful of F-bombs, but the jazzy, jet-setty, Sinatra-esque culture -- and super-vivid sets, complete with LED screens -- will fascinate them. But they won't take it well when I tell them they can't find the soundtrack on iTunes.
Showing for a limited 3-week engagement, through August 16. Catch it while you can!