Frank Abagnale, Jr. Visits Raleigh to Talk CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
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by Larissa Mount
Frank Abagnale, Jr. visited Raleigh this week to have a Q&A with the audience of the musical based on his life, Catch Me if You Can, which is currently playing at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, presented by NC Theatre and Broadway Series South. Abagnale gave great insight into his life, the show, and what he's done since. He has been with the FBI for 36 years, working as an expert in fraud. Abagnale has turned down three presidential pardons, and credits all his success and the good in his life to the presence of his wife of over 30 years.
Abagnale stated that he loved the movie very much, but that he likes the musical even more. He credits the talented actors with doing a great job telling his story. The show has a 60s-style score and is formatted like a variety show from the 1960s, which allows for some artistic liberties by the creative team. During its Broadway run in 2011, the show was nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
While the show sticks pretty closely to the facts of what happened, Abagnale said at the Q&A on Thursday that the plotline with Brenda Strong is something they added/changed for the stage. While he did date a flight attendant from Louisiana (which is how he ended up there as a lawyer), he wasn't engaged to any women during the time that he was a con-man. He was just a kid, and since his driver's license said he was ten years older than he actually was, he dated women who were much older than he – and he knew that marriage wouldn't be a feasible possibility.
Abagnale commented on the state of affairs today, and said that it would be much easier nowadays to do many of the things he did, with posing as a pilot being the major exception to that statement.
There's still time to see Catch Me if You Can in Raleigh. The show runs through November 11. For tickets and more information, visit www.nctheatre.com.