Alex Russ (playing Brenda Strong) sings a solo number during Act Two of Catch Me If You Can: The Musical.

CHSS masterful in Catch Me If You Can musical performance

The hutzpah, pizzazz and pure energy shown by the youngsters tackling such an enormous project shone through

The cast of Charles Hays Secondary School’s Catch Me If You Can: The Musical didn’t include their theatrical film’s counterpart A-List star Leonardo Di Caprio, but it sure didn’t have to.

The hutzpah, pizzazz and pure energy shown by the youngsters tackling such an enormous project shone through from the moment the curtain rose and the characters were introduced through airport gun-slinging action, all the way to when the final note was belted out to the packed Lester Centre of the Arts.

The musical play, based on the 2002 motion picture and book by playwright Terrence McNally was masterfully executed on three straight nights last Thursday to Saturday.

Creativity bled through every aspect of the performance. From the set, created by the Musical Theatre Performance and Production students to the intricate choreography developed by Prince Rupert’s rich bevy of talented dance artists to the acting, singing and dancing of the triple threats on stage, Catch Me If You Can: The Musical was a delight.

It would be criminal to leave out anyone who performed on stage of the kudos, but special mention has to go towards the performance’s two rival stars, whose contrast both in style, swagger and approach to their characters was unparalleled.

Daelan Calder, playing the role of the elusive Frank Abagnale Jr. took the character and made it his own. Calder played off his colleague performers’ energy and developed convincing and deep relationships with each of his co-stars. The smooth and suave character that Calder portrayed had the audience rooting for the con artist the whole way through.

Kevin Winther, who played the ever-obsessive FBI agent Carl Hanratty, stole the show with his slick choreographed dance numbers, spastic movements and spot-on 1960s FBI accent. Winther had audiences in stitches on more than one occasion and was definitely a highlight of the main cast.

Frank’s parents – Frank Sr. (played by Ryan Wightman) and Paula Abagnale (Jessica Bruce) were excellent as a duo and their crumbling relationship was convincingly performed, along with their complicated and often selfish relationship with son, Frank.

Alex Russ, a force in the second act, left audiences in a trance with her phenomenal “Fly, Fly Away” number. Playing Frank’s love interest Brenda Strong, Russ more than made everyone wish the musically-gifted Brenda had a larger first act presence in McNally’s storyline, but Russ stood out equally well in the countless ensemble dance numbers.

Steven Helin (Roger Strong) and Angel Hoffe (Carol Strong) were a terrific parent act to Alex Russ’s Brenda and Winther’s team of goofy, semi-competent FBI agents consisting of Agent Branton (played by William Roubicek), Agent Cod (Brendan Ciccone) and Agent Dollar (Erik Langille) were always a treat on stage.

The Frank Abagnale Junior Orchestra, led by bandleader Jeff Saunders, was a tremendous addition and the central component to a splendid musical evening and the costumes were equally colourful – Jacqueline Jackson, Lonni Bryant, Lynne Couvillon, Erika Boker and countless students contributing to their design.

Finally, the ensemble cast of Charles Hays students Josh Franco, Amber Lindquist, Crystal Vallee, Hailey Cox, Kathy Nguyen, Katrina Duong, Gillian Jardim, Krista Robinson, Emily Cavin, Kaceja Calder, Emily Duck, Kim Redetzky, Dana Chetwynd, Shade Arendt, Wanda Leschik, Miranda Baker, Gianna Evans and Ariana Truscott should be extremely proud of their performance and dedication to a delightful Catch Me If You Can: The Musical performance.


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