What had you done by the time you turned 21? Did you become a doctor? A lawyer? A pilot? How about all three?
That’s exactly what con artist Frank Abagnale Jr. did - and he even stole millions of dollars from the government to top it all off.
You may be familiar with the tale of “Catch Me if You Can,” popularized in 2002 by the Leonardo DiCaprio-led film - the story of Abagnale, who successfully posed as all the aforementioned people and escaped the hands of authority for years. The production that Little Theatre is putting on, however, puts a twist on the story.
To start, it’s a musical.
“Think ‘Hairspray,’ ‘Legally Blonde;’ flashy, in-your-face musical numbers,” said director Mike Wawrzynek. “The show is all about distraction, which is what Frank is good at.”
This version doesn’t do a chronological timeline like the movie, but rather sees Abagnale in a situation where he’s just about to be caught by the FBI at Miami International Airport, but goes into what Wawrzynek calls “chamelon mode” and turns the entire set into a television show.
“The song is ‘Live and in Living Color,’ and it’s this giant game show set, the whole cast comes out in flashy costumes,” he said. “It’s big, it’s fun, and it’s really a distraction, which is what the whole show is about.”
The main focus of the show is Abagnale himself, a man who has to have a special kind of personality to pull off the stunts he does.
“He’s a very energetic character,” Wawrzynek said. “He’s quick thinking, fast paced. When I was casting I had to find someone that was all that and just had this look to them. And they had to pretend to be someone else on a dime.”
He found that in Salvatore Infantino.
“He’s a nice mixture of the boy you want to take home to mom and the person your father would hate,” Infantino said of his character, with a laugh. “He knows all the right things to say to charm people but, as we see, it’s things that work out to his benefit, but not necessarily everybody else’s.”
Infantino spends nearly all of the show on stage, so his main focus was to prepare his voice to be able to handle the songs which carry the entire story through.
It’s a story that strikes a chord with pretty much everyone.
“It’s so unbelievable to wrap your head around,” Wawrzynek said. “It’s amazing that he was able to impersonate all these people and professions without training; he just jumped in and took the reigns.”