After performing on Broadway, and doing a 49-city tour spanning the United States and Canada for almost two years, actor Dominic Fortuna says he feels like he was living the story "Catch Me If You Can," even before it became a national tour.
Fortuna is now in the "Catch Me If You Can" cast for the new stage musical, which lands in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 West Randolph, for a limited engagement opening Tuesday and playing through April 14.
"I spent a lot of time on the road in recent years in the cast of the national tour of 'Grease,' playing DJ Vince Fontaine," said Fortuna, the Michigan actor who plays father Frank Abagnale, Sr. to actor Stephen Anthony's lead role of his namesake con son.
"But when this chance came up to do this tour, I couldn't pass it up."
When not on the road, Fortuna plants his roots in Northern Michigan, where he has written, directed and performed in nearly 50 shows with his unique concept of family dinner theater.
But this spring, he's happily concentrating on this musical based on the hit 2002 DreamWorks film that starred Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio in the incredible true story that inspired it.
"Catch Me If You Can" captures the astonishing true story of Frank Abagnale, Jr., a world-class con artist who passed himself off as a doctor, a lawyer, and a jet pilot, all before the age of 21. With straight-arrow FBI agent Carl Hanratty on Frank's trail, the stage story takes audiences on a jet-setting, cat-and-mouse chase, as a jazzy, swinging-sixties score keeps this adventure in constant motion.
In the end, Agent Hanratty learns he and Frank aren't so very different after all, and Frank finds out what happens when love catches up to a man on the run.
This touring engagement follows the recent Broadway run.
"I think audiences are surprised to hear this movie is now a stage musical," Fortuna said.
"Combined with the original score and the big musical numbers, it keeps audiences engaged and along for the ride. It adapts very nicely for stage."
"Catch Me If You Can" is based on Frank Abagnale's New York Times bestselling autobiography, published by Broadway Paperbacks, in addition to the movie version of the same name directed by Steven Spielberg with screenplay by Jeff Nathanson and book by Frank Abagnale, Jr.
Nominated for four Tony Awards and six Drama Desk Awards, "Catch Me If You Can" features a Tony Award-winning creative team, with a book by Terrence McNally, score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, choreography by Jerry Mitchell and direction by Jack O'Brien.
The scenic design is by David Rockwell with costume design by five-time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long and lighting design is by Tony Award winner Kenneth Posner and sound by Peter McBoyle.
Fortuna said he's enjoying playing the father figure for the story's anti-hero main character.
"There's a father and son story that is also part of the plot, which lets the audience explore some very complicated relationships that unfold throughout," he said.
"And by the end, it's easier to understand why such a fantastic storyline comes from the events that really happened."