Photos: Backstage at the Sexy 60s Musical 'Catch Me If You Can' at The Pantages
It's 6:30 p.m. and a calm has settled in backstage at the Pantages Theater, as cast and crewmembers prepare for the second night of "Catch Me If You Can." Stagehands dutifully put together set pieces and young actresses glide by in robes like sharks through still waters, all getting ready for the moment that the crowd starts pouring into their seats and the energy of the room takes over.
The show is in Los Angeles for only two weeks (it closes March 24), but opening night, by all accounts, was a success.
"It was electric," said actress Mary Claire King. "It felt like we were opening the show for the very first time again, which is this special moment for a theater artist."
Based on the autobiographical book of the same name, "Catch Me If You Can" is the story of con man Frank Abagnale Jr., and follows the same outline as the 2002 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The musical's libretto was written by Terrence McNally, and the music Marc Shaiman with lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Whitman.
As the orchestra begins to warm up in a distant pit, several cast members sit in a small, quiet room. They explain that in addition to telling the story of the youthful Abagnale, who tries on identity after identity in an attempt to find himself, the show is also about capturing another time and place.
That’s done in part through the chorus girls, who go through a number of costume changes spotlighting their impeccable grooming and style. For much of the show, the girls are dressed as stewardesses.
"Getting that 60s sexy style down has been fun," said actress Nadia Vynnytsky. "It's a different kind of sexy than these days, and we know how proud the women were in that era, especially to be a stewardesses."
"It's a kind of elegance," adds King, "with a sexiness, that makes it fun."
By the time the performers are ready to get back to hair and make-up, the stage has been swept and the musicians are in tune. Now, the team backstage lies in wait for the hordes of Angelenos who will swarm the theater, many of them no doubt appreciating in their own way what it means to put on a show about putting on a show.
"Catch Me If You Can" runs through March 24 at the Pantages. Tickets are available online.