Friday, August 26, 2011

Catch Me If You Can

As documented in previous posts like this one, Broadway is one of my favorite places in the world. When I’m anywhere close to there, I want to find a way to catch a show. So as I was planning to visit friends in Pennsylvania this weekend, I decided to add an extra day for a trek into the Big Apple. You may be asking, “Close? Really?” And you would probably have a point – I am currently writing this on a 3 hour train ride from NYC to their city. But 1) for an Alabama boy, that is close, and 2) that’s how much I love it. Rationalization can be a powerful thing.

So….what to see? There were really three choices at the top of the list. The two not chosen were Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, simply because the music is by U2. How to Succeed in Business, starring Daniel Radcliff. But my niece Macy was in New York earlier this summer and saw Catch Me If You Can and she absolutely loved it. Add to that the fact that the co-star Norbert Butz had spent four years of his career at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery and it was the obvious choice.

It. Was. Amazing. It had everything that I love about the genre. A great story to tell, exceptional musical numbers, awesome performances, humor, and even a couple of times where I got a little misty. And it had something I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced before: the original cast intact. I bought the soundtrack on iTunes when I got back to my hotel room, and the performers on the album are the same ones I had just seen perform. How cool is that?

Just to give you a taste, here is a four-minute clip from this year’s Tony Awards. It includes an almost complete version of the song “Don’t Break the Rules”, which was an absolute showstopper. Enjoy:


Let me just say that I was highly entertained and walked out of the theatre with a smile on my face. Like a child, I wanted to cry out “Do again!” But also, with the way I’m wired, I never see a movie, listen to a song, read a book, or see a play without thinking about how it fits into and comments on life. CMIYC was no exception. It was a story of a kid who went looking to fill a big hole in his life, one left by a father who taught him some distorted values. It was also the story of an FBI agent who never had children of his own and was also trying to fill a hole in his life by the pursuit of this criminal who continually made him look bad. It dealt with father issues, conditional vs. unconditional love, and the tension between law and grace. I loved the fact that these two long time adversaries found something of what they were looking for in each other. And that unlike Javert of Les Miserables, Agent Carl Hanratty learns that the heart can change. He still believes that the rules must be obeyed and punishment must follow when they are not, but he learns to administer the law with love and grace mixed in. And, like the Prodigal Son, Frank responds to that.

Just a marvelous show. If you’re ever in New York, or if in the future a touring company brings it near you, see it!

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