The Broadway production of Catch Me If You Can will be closing on September 4th after almost six months at the Neil Simon Theatre. If you've been putting it off, now is your last chance to catch it (if you can.....OK, I'm gonna stop doing that now). The show, which-is-based-on-the-film-which-is-based-on-the real life story of legendary con artist Frank Abagnale Jr., is not a children's show and not your typical family musical, but I jumped at the chance to see it when I was invited to a special blogger night last week. I'm glad a went, because I do think that this is a great show for older kids and that should be good news to families who will get a chance to see the tour which is set to launch next year.
There's a lot for kids to enjoy here, from the high energy dance numbers to the catchy (I will not make a catch me joke) swingin' 60's score. The style of the show feels very "classic Broadway" and it's not too long....just over two and a half hours including intermission, which isn't bad for Broadway. On the other hand the plot is too complex for anyone under twelve to really follow, there are guns on stage (but no blood or death) and they use the F word once. The dancing is suggestive but it's nothing my kids don't see on TV....it's actually WAY cleaner than what my kids (unfortunately) see on TV. The richest layers of the plot have to do with the complex relationship between Frank and his parents. This will go over the heads of all but the savviest young theatre-goers, as will most of the sexual undertones and the general glamorizing of Frank's criminal career. In other words, many kids will enjoy this show but few will completely follow it.
I didn't bring my seven year old, but if I were going to I would have explained the plot to her first. Most of us have seen the 2002 Dreamworks film staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, and the plot is easily discovered online (try Imdb.com or Wikipedia). That's what the one of the show's stars, Kerry Butler, has done with her daughter, who has enjoyed the show with several five and six year old friends.
"I think this show is really for all ages," says Butler. "Little kids love the music and the dancing, and teenagers can really relate to Frank's story, that idea of just wanting to run away from your problems. And it's very nostalgic for older people- set in the sixties- with the orchestra on stage- like those TV variety shows".
If you feel your kids are too young to catch Catch Me (I will NOT make this joke), then rest assured it makes a good date night and is worth the cost of the sitter. For me, that's usually the deciding factor!
GET TO THE POINT, MOM!
• Best for kids 12 and up.
• Younger kids will enjoy it for the music, dance and spectacle. You can help them by explaining the plot.
• Broadway audiences have two more weeks to see it in New York. After that, look out for the national tour which will launch in the fall of 2012.
• For more information, check out the show's website: www.CatchMetheMusical.com.
• Catch if if you can....See what I did there?