Title: Catch Me If You Can
Artist: Original Broadway Cast Recording
Label: Ghostlight Records
Format: Single CD
Case: Single Jewel Case
Booklet: Full color production photos; complete lyrics; essays by Frank Abagnale, Jr.
Bonus: Extra track of a song cut from the show, "Fifty Checks," sung by Tom Wopat.
"It isn’t often that you come across a love triangle involving three men, but that is the real meat of this story. And how amazing it is that all three are being given such grand treatment in three Tony-worthy performances. Tom Wopat gets the lion’s share of the heavy emotional content in this show. We see a man who really only wants to make life better for his wife and son, but can’t see that living by such credos as “The Pinstripes Are All They See” as a way to get around authority, and such platitudes as “Don’t Be a Stranger” and “Little Boy, Be a Man,” aren’t really the stuff of good parenting. Then there is the honorable life led by FBI Agent Carl Hanratty, warmly played – through a veneer of g-man stiffness – by Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz. We see the workings of the FBI as frustrating as they are through “Don’t Break the Rules,” and a little inside the man as he tries to out think his con man adversary in “The Man Inside the Clues.” Aaron Tveit has found the first role, of many one hopes, that proves he can carry a show on his considerably young and talented shoulders. He has turned in a thoroughly engaging, exciting performance as Frank, Jr. It is a role that has huge demands in the singing (his big closer “Good-Bye” is a huge power belt number in the greatest Broadway tradition), dancing (he matches the entire ensemble step for step) and acting areas. We must believe he is smart way beyond his years, mature enough to make smart people believe he could be a pilot or doctor, charming and sexy enough to bed Playboy bunnies, and charismatic enough to woo an innocent girl, her family and a grizzled FBI agent. Tveit has the charming, sexy and high quality singing voice down pat. But this role shows that he is a true triple threat. With Catch Me If You Can he is a full-fledged Broadway star."
Of the Score, I Wrote: "This world that is as debonair and sleek as a 60’s new Boeing 727, full of innocent double entendres, sexy chorus girls and boys seemingly unaware of, yet basking in, their own steaming hotness, and a juicy story about getting away with everything but murder and coming out on top. All played to a soundtrack (not literally: the magnificent orchestra is in full view nearly all the time) of suave Sinatra-esque songs, and a cheeky modern jazz score that titillates as much as it pleases the ear. The homey sweetness of the production numbers from weekly variety shows of the Perry Como/Lawrence Welk ilk, as well as the sexy, dazzling, send-the-kids-to-bed-before-it-starts variety shows that were star vehicles for one performer – like Mitzi Gaynor, and later, Liza Minnelli. You know just the kind of numbers I mean – a common setting, a risqué arrangement of a familiar tune, and costumed dancers in the tightest possible versions of setting appropriate costumes, with the star bedazzled in sequins from head to toe. Each number is carefully constructed to please everyone – the song lover, the singer lover, and the blush inducing dancer lovers. The show has an abundance of such numbers – the airline-themed “The Jet Set,” and the hospital-themed “Doctor’s Orders” – to name but two."
Of this Recording, I say: First and foremost, I think all of us who love musical theatre need to thank Ghostlight Records for recording so many shows that not too long ago would have gone by the wayside. Catch Me If You Can, with its short run, would probably have gone without a cast recording. As usual, Ghostlight has delivered a top notch product, from the full color booklet to a terrific sound.
Marc Shaiman and Larry Blank's vibrant orchestrations, under the direction of John McDaniel sound simply gorgeous, played by a full jazz orchestra. They were great live onstage, and certainly do not disappoint here. And, absent of the visual, the score is even more vivid and exciting when one can concentrate on the music and lyrics (by Shaiman and Scott Wittman). What was terrific in passing while the show was going on, is even more fun just listening to it. In the theatre, I knew I liked the score. After listening to the CD, I really appreciate the wit and intelligence of the songs.
The score itself is a mix of theatre music, torch songs and period/genre specific numbers. And yet, and much of a mix as there is, the score is a cohesive whole. There are times when you expect Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, cigarette and scotch glass in hand, to start crooning the smooth jazzy numbers - "The Pinstripes Are All They See," "The Man Inside the Clues." Or maybe Perry Como comes to mind when hearing the clever story-song "Butter Outta Cream" or "Seven Wonders."
Stand-out Numbers: The whole recording is terrific, but there are several songs I find myself playing over and over. Surprisingly, the awesome-as-you-watch-it-number "Don't Break the Rules" isn't one of them - you really need to see that number to fully appreciate it. But I love the following: "The Pinstripes Are All That They See," with Tom Wopat's suave song-stylings and the back up of the girls. "Doctor's Orders" is a sexy double-entendre number, featuring great vocals from Candace Marie Woods. I love the emotion behind two of Norbet Leo Butz's numbers, "The Man Inside the Clues" and his poignant duet with Aaron Tveit, "Christmas Is My Favorite Time of Year." But it is the upbeat numbers that set my feet a-tappin' (I literally have trouble sitting still when I drive): "Live In Living Color," "Jet Set." But my two absolute favorite songs are the infectious "(Our) Family Tree," a (literally) sing Along with Mitch production number, and the powerful "Goodbye," which is gloriously sung by Mr. Tveit. For me those two numbers alone reveal a really terrific show sadly under appreciated.
Here's hoping national audiences embrace the National Tour.
(Photos by Joan Marcus)
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