By Toby Zinman

For the Inquirer
If it were funny, you might think it was a parody of cheesy musicals. But it’s not—funny or a parody. It’s just cheesy. Also boring. The touring company at the Academy of Music is generally talentless in the singing and dancing departments. And it’s shocking to learn how many Broadway names are credited with creating Catch Me If You Can: Terrence McNally wrote the book, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman wrote the score, Jerry Mitchell choreographed, William Ivey Long designed the costumes and Jack O’Brien  directed. 

And they had such good material to start with: a true and astounding story of Frank Abagnale, Jr—a con man and a thief, who, as a teenager, managed to fool the world into believing he was a pilot for Pan Am, and then a doctor and then a lawyer. All the while being chased by an obsessed FBI agent named Hanratty. The entertaining movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio captured the fun of watching a world-class charlatan, a con man who conned the world. And Tom Hanks did the chasing. 

So to start with, you need a charmer to be charmed by: DiCaprio, with his boyish grin was perfect. In this musical, the role of Frank is played by the uncharming Stephen Anthony, his smarmy father by Dominic Fortuna, and the FBI agent by Merritt David Janes.  There are a bevy (as they used to be called before they became a binder) of women in tiny skirts, often flapping giant feather fans.  There’s an onstage big brassy band.  The choreography actually makes it all the way to funny, however unintentionally. And just when you think it can’t get any worse, fake snow starts to fall. 

Academy of Music, Broad & Locust Sts. Through Jan.20. Tickets $ 20-100. Information: 215-893-1999 or  

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Load comments