Mike Reinhart, director of Ross Summer Music Theatre’s “Catch Me if You Can,” was surprised when he heard the early '00s big screen hit was to be adapted into a musical.
“The movie has so much action and there’s so many locations, I thought ‘how are you going to do that on stage and make it effective?’” he said. “But it’s really interesting what they did.”
Running July 23 through Aug. 1 at Merrillville’s Reinhart Auditorium, “Catch Me If You Can” is the based on a true story of skilled con artist Frank Abingale Jr., whose deceptive practices have raised flags with the FBI. The feds send agent Carl Hanratty on what becomes a cross country trek to try and track Abingale down.
“Catch” takes its cue from Abingale’s autobiography of the same name, which Stephen Spielberg turned into a film in 2002 starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. Grammy, Tony and Emmy winning composer Marc Shaiman adapted “Catch” as a musical, which made its stage debut in Seattle in 2009.
Making its Broadway debut in 2011 and featuring songs such as “Live in Living Color,” “Don’t Break the Rules” and “Favorite Time of Year,” the musical caught four Tony Award nominations and took home the Best Performance by Leading Actor award for Norboer Leo Butz’ portrayal of Hanratty.
Ross Summer Music Theatre’s production of “Catch” marks its Region debut and the theater company’s 57th summer show.
“They do the whole thing like a show within a show, but like a '60s variety show,” Reinhart said. “There’s backup dancers, the band is on the stage, the characters come on and introduce themselves and you get lost in the story after that. It’s very linear and it’s impressive how it was put together.”
During the pandemic, Ross Music Theatre put two small-scale shows together, “Little Shop Of Horrors” last fall and “Smokey Joe’s Café” in the spring.
“This one feels a little more natural,” Reinhart said. “Most of the cast is vaccinated and the rehearsals now feel like regular rehearsals whereas the rehearsals of other shows (staged during the pandemic) were shorter so people wouldn’t be too close to each other for too long.”
Ross Summer Music Theatre is dedicating “Catch” to its late founding members and Reinhart’s parents, late patriarch Jerauld and his wife Margilee, who passed away in March.
FYI: “Catch Me if You Can” runs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and July 30-31, 3 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 1 at Reinhart Auditorium, 276 E. 68th Pl., Merrillville. Cost is $15 for adults, $14 for students and seniors. Call 219- 947-4922 or visit facebook.com/mmrmt.