Catch Me If You Can, the musical featuring the true life of Frank William Abagnale, Jr., is pure fun and a must see! Leonardo DiCaprio made the role famous in the film version released in 2002 which was then followed by a 2011 Broadway opening. The German-language show is currently on stage in Vienna at the Kammerspiele der Josefstadt just off of Schwedenplatz and makes for a wonderful evening when paired with a delicious dinner.
Catch Me If You Can tells the story of young Frank William Abagnale, Jr. alias Frank Williams, Frank Taylor, Frank Conners, and Frank Adams, who reinvented himself as a Pan Am co-pilot, ER doctor, and Louisiana lawyer before his arrest in France under charges of forgery and fraud in the late 1960s. Frank’s story is unusual, colorful, and emotional and the stage actors hit all the right marks. Rasmus Borkowski who plays the elusive Frank on stage was excellent; his boyish good looks and charm radiated from the stage and really sold the role. The gaggle of girls that attended to him alternatively as bright stewardesses, lusty nurses, sultry back-up singers, and prancing showgirls were equally dazzling and highly entertaining. Finally, Martin Berger played an appropriately crotchety yet loveable Carl Hanratty to Borkowski’s live wire Frank.
The show proved to be a great technical feat as well. The challenges of translating the show for German audiences proved to be conquerable – the dialogue was natural and the references to American pop culture and geography did not appear to be out of place. The song and dance complimented the dialogue well and kept the show – clocking in at 2 hours and 55 minutes – moving at a fast clip. The stage itself was also impressive, paneled walls of light transporting audiences into a different time and space along with the great costumes, hair, and make-up and allowing the stage to transform as necessary from television stage to hotel room to family living room to hospital to bustling airport.
The theater itself is small and nearly every seat is a good seat, however, seating is not staggered as it reaches to the back so those of us sitting behind our taller peers may have to suffer obscured views. To avoid such a fate, sitting on the balcony may be the best remedy. Otherwise, tickets are appropriately priced and the experience truly feels special. I enjoyed a glass of wine in the foyer during the intermission and was eager to return to my seat for the second act. Emerging into the night air after the play, I felt energized and exhilarated by the lights, the music, the show!
Catch Me If You Can enjoyed its European premiere in Vienna on October 24, 2013 and will continue to play intermittently until February 5, 2014 so get yourself a ticket!