Catch Me If You Can (2011)

Released: June 28, 2011
Label: Ghostlight Records

Vocalists: Aaron Tveit (Frank Abagnale, Jr.), Norbert Leo Butz (Agent Carl Hanratty), Tom Wopat (Frank Abagnale, Sr.), Rachel de Benedet (Paula Abagnale), Kerry Butler (Brenda Strong), Nick Wyman (Roger Strong), Linda Hart (Carol Strong)

Libretti by: Terrence McNally
Lyrics by: Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
Music by: Marc Shaiman



An asterisk (*) denotes a song featuring Aaron.

SYNOPSIS

ACT ONE. In the late 1960s at Miami International Airport, FBI Agent Carl Hanratty finally apprehends his most elusive suspect. A single warning shot is enough to halt the infamous Frank Abagnale, Jr. in his tracks, but appealing to his audience, the young con man has one last trick up his sleeve. Frank transforms the airport into the glittering set of a television variety special, using his own special brand of magic to tell his story LIVE IN LIVING COLOR.

Everything is swept away as Frank, Jr. explains his story — even Agent Hanratty is persuaded to allow him his say, with the promise that at the end, Frank will tell him anything he wants to know. As the host of his own T.V. spectacular, like “Hullaballoo” or “The Dean Martin Show,” Frank sets up the perfect version of his early suburban life in New Rochelle, N.Y. and explains how his father’s influence taught him that a uniform and appearance can make all the difference: THE PINSTRIPES ARE ALL THAT THEY SEE.

When I.R.S. debts force his father to close the family store and move his family from their home to an apartment, Frank, Jr. also soon learns of his mother’s infidelity. These revelations land the young man in a family court without warning, when his parents decide to separate. Unable to accept the situation and refusing to choose between his parents, Frank runs away to New York City to live in SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN. His surprising skill at evasion and newfound knack for passing bad checks allow the 16 year-old to survive and almost thrive.

It also attracts the eventual interest of the FBI. As Agent Hanratty puts the pieces together and begins to draw a bead on the up-and-coming counterfeiter, fate brings a beautiful bevy of airline stewardesses directly into Frank’s path. Deciding to move on from his life of petty crime, he passes himself off as a Pan Aim pilot, escaping into the excitement of the JET SET. Infuriated by his inability to pin down the elusive mystery man, Hanratty explains why he became an FBI Agent with his dogged determination to catch his target: DON’T BREAK THE RULES. Meanwhile, Frank impresses his father, Frank, Sr. with his glamorous new life as a pilot, encouraging him to win back his business and his wife, and rebuild the family they have lost: BUTTER OUTTA CREAM.

As Frank, Jr. criss-crosses the globe, living the high life, Agent Hanratty and his men follow his trail from motel to motel, trying to discover more about THE MAN INSIDE THE CLUES. Finding an unfinished letter that proves an important clue, the FBI agents follow Frank, Jr. to Los Angeles, where Hanratty finally comes face-to-face with his man. However, once more, Frank pulls a fast one, passing himself off as a Secret Service Agent and slipping right out of Hanratty’s grasp. Humiliated, Hanratty and his men return to D.C., followed, this time, by Frank, who telephones Hanratty from a phone booth on Christmas Eve: CHRISTMAS IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR. After catching a glimpse of Frank through the window on the snowy street outside his office, Hanratty realizes for the first time that his master con-artist is just a kid.

ACT TWO. Feeling the hot breath of the FBI down his neck, Frank, Jr. escapes to Atlanta, where he immediately falls in with the crowd of young, hard-partying doctors and nurses who populate the apartment complex he now calls home. Characteristically, he pretends to be a doctor, quickly finding innocuous work as the overnight E.R. supervisor at Atlanta General Hospital: DOCTOR’S ORDERS. With the new identity of Dr. Frank Connors, he finally encounters the girl who will change his life, the honest and innocent Brenda Strong, and is instantly smitten.

In the meantime, Agent Hanratty has begun to tighten the noose, and finds Frank’s now-remarried mother, Paula: DON’T BE A STRANGER. Subsequently, Hanratty locates Frank’s father, Frank, Sr., in a local dive bar and prods him for information on his son’s whereabouts: LITTLE BOY, BE A MAN. Learning that neither parent intends to help apprehend their son, and deeply disturbed by their lack of parental responsibility, Hanratty begins to feel concern for the welfare of this brilliantly gifted, if obviously misdirected, young man.

Frank, Jr., meanwhile, has fallen in love with Brenda, and intends to marry her and give up his life as a doctor: SEVEN WONDERS. The pair travel to New Orleans to meet her parents, narrowly missing Agent Hanratty and the FBI, who have now tracked Frank to Atlanta General. Enamored with the wholesome and stable Strong family, Frank convinces Brenda’s father, a District Attorney, that he is not only a doctor, but a lawyer as well, and, in a rare moment of honesty, persuades the Strongs of his true feelings for Brenda. They accept his proposal to their daughter and welcome them into their happy household: (OUR) FAMILY TREE. Frank settles into life as a lawyer working for his father-in-law to-be.

After phoning Agent Hanratty to tell him he’s ready to quit the game and end the chase, Frank lets slip that he is now engaged to be married. Hanratty, who has been waiting for Frank to make such a mistake, pursues the boy to his engagement party in New Orleans but arrives a moment too late: Frank has confessed the truth to Brenda and fled out a window. Hanratty begs Brenda to tell him where to find her fiancé, but she resolves to cover his tracks so she can join him later in Miami, as he begged her to do: FLY, FLY AWAY.

A gunshot brings us back to the moment we began at Miami International Airport, as Hanratty sends the other agents away and tries to bring Frank in on his own. In one last desperate attempt, the young trickster not only tries to escape, but virtually blows away the entire conceit he’s so cleverly constructed, while learning from Hanratty of Brenda’s unintended betrayal and the devastating news that his father, Frank, Sr., has died: GOODBYE.

Everyone has disappeared except for the intrepid Agent Hanratty, who refuses to give up on the talented young man. Cornered and defeated, Frank agrees to turn himself in, only to have Hanratty offer the support and the guidance he has been denied for so long. The FBI Agent promises to help Frank secure an early release from prison with the promise of a second career: helping Hanratty catch other counterfeiters and forgers as a member of the FBI. Frank, Jr. acknowledges both the loss of his father and his unlikely newfound friendship as he accepts Hanratty’s offer of a new life: STUCK TOGETHER (STRANGE BUT TRUE).

PHOTOS

LETTER FROM FRANK ABAGNALE, JR.

When I was 16, I had no idea I’d have written a book, had a movie made, or have a musical open on Broadway that followed my adventures as a teenager. At 16, a runaway and alone, I went day to day with whatever opportunity presented itself. “A door closes, a window opens, right?” In my case, those windows were cracked just wide enough to allow me to squeeze through to get me to the next day.

After I served my time in prison, a bigger window opened up. This one allowed me to pay back society ten-fold. For nearly 40 years I’ve been helping corporations and government agencies make committing forgery and counterfeit much more difficult. Through the technologies I’ve created, your birth certificate, your driver’s license, cash, and the checks you write are much safer and more secure. No system, of course, is foolproof and anyone who thinks so fails to take into consideration the creativity of fools — take it from a guy who was very footage from ages 16-21.

Enjoy the memorable music from this show. It’s my music, from my time. I remember hearing the first four songs when this show was being developed, and I was blown away. I thought all the music was fantastic. “Jet Set” is my favorite. “Butter Outta Cream” is another favorite because they take one of my dad’s expressions and make it into an incredible song. “Don’t Break The Rules” just stops the show, “Goodbye” is so very powerful, and Kerry Butler’s “Fly, Fly Away” gives me goosebumps. The music and the story really carry with it a message that I hope comes across — and that is a message of redemption. No matter what has gone before, you can start again.

It’s the opportunity that this great country gives you — and it’s waiting for you.

— Frank Abagnale, Jr.