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In 2002, Leonardo DiCaprio had us follow his adventures of a true con artist. What baffled audiences alike is the fact he artist, as he truly is, was only a teenager. Frank Abagnale Jr. is considered the “James Bond” of counterfeiters as he spent many years evading FBI agent Carl Hanratty.
Taking to the air at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, guests can sit back and watch the tale unfold in a truly new experience. ‘Catch Me If You Can:A New Musical’ is the newest musical from Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman with book by Terrence McNally. In order to give depth and emotion to the music, McNally used Abagnale’s autobiography for inspiration.
Before touching down in the OC, I got a moment in time to chat with one of the shows cast members, Esther M. Antoine.
Being a newcomer to Broadway touring companies, tell us a little about yourself?
Born and raised in New York I went to private school most of my life. Upon graduation I made the step to college where I was majoring in Computer Sciences. I know, not what you would think. But being a cheerleader at St. Johns University I got a taste for the limelight. It was just after that I discovered my love for the theater.
What is it like being in your first national tour?
It is a pretty amazing experience traveling all over our beautiful country and seeing it for free. Going to and performing at some beautiful theaters with these astounding architectural features is beyond words. I get to be amongst cast, crew and musicians who are just great people. They are not just a talented group to be around but they truly care and support each other.
Being in so many cities, what is your biggest fear for your first performance?
After performing in 30-35 cities from Los Angeles CA to El Paso TX, there is this one line I have to sing. Once I do sing it, it’s like this huge weight off my shoulders. But as I said before with this cast you never feel like you are alone. Every one down to the crew and musicians are there to support you.
With such a talented group, what is your favorite number in the show?
“Don’t Break the Rules” has to be it for me. It is a point in the show where you get to have a clean look into this wondrous pursuit that this young man is caught up in. The other numbers tend to be light and fun filled but this one we are giving full intensity into the chase brought on by Hanratty. It truly is driven to the point the audience gets to feel the excitement.
“Catch Me If You Can” didn’t take off as well as expected when it debut on Broadway. Why do you feel it is a great show that guest show come out and spend an evening with?
This show is for everyone to come out and enjoy. It starts off with a bang, fun filled opening number that sets the basis of this true story that still amazes me. Think about it, this 16 year old boy is a con artist, not some 30 or 40 year old. It is an amazing story to sit and enjoy. With the movie it was just one layer of the story. Now we add this layer based on Frank’s words. We even go one step further in the layer by having not only the performers but the musicians in a big band form adding another great element to the show.
In your spare time between cities what do you find yourself doing?
I love going to the capitals of each state we go to, soaking up the rich history. I’ve learned to sew recently as well. Currently I am almost finished with making my first dress. Hopefully the costumers won’t make me do my own fixes. I keep my mind sharp doing some writing in my free time. Also keep fit. Not that I don’t get a workout but I need to keep myself in shape for whatever may come.
How does your family feel about your whirl wind travels of your job?
It was tough in the beginning as I have lived at home my whole life. Being away for 9 months has thrown me out of my comfort zone. My family has always been there to help and protect you but when you are without them, it’s a whole new world. My family has been there to support me whenever they can. They have been out to se me perform in Philadelphia PA and in Hartford CT and was overjoyed. My Brother even told me how happy he was to see me pursuing what I love and doing it every day. So to cope there is a lot of communicating on Skype, text, phone, whatever way I can. I always miss them but we stay in contact. Talking with my father is the tough call. We miss each other dearly so I call him as much as possible, even if it’s to just say ‘love you’.
Now that “Catch” is about to come to an end, what’s in the future for you?
We had a couple days off and took the opportunity to do a couple auditions. I look forward to doing more. I may take a couple weeks or two to just relax but my ultimate goal is to be on Broadway. I’m going to shoot for it is my passion now.
Esther it was such a pleasure talking with you and getting a chance to know a little about you.
“Break a leg”.
It will be a delight to see “Catch Me If You Can: A New Musical” the night of June 25nd with my follow-up review of the show here. As any performer will tell you, like me, it is always fantastic to hear a fellow performer following their dream and succeeding. To Esther and the cast of “Catch” I wish the best and look forward to seeing all the fun, excitement, energy and passion on the stage.
The best of life to the “Catch Me If You Can” cast. See you on stage.
See “Catch Me If You Can: A New Musical” at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts June 25, 2013 – June 30, 2013.
Follow my adventures in entertainment in Southern California on Twitter @SCThrillsMarc.