OK, don’t be shocked by this. But there are new shows opening in 2011 that are not Spider-Man. One of them is Catch Me If You Can, a musicalization of the 2002 film that starred Leo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, and we’re excited. Throw names like “Norbert Leo Butz” and “Aaron Tveit” on the same marquee and we’ll buy a ticket, no matter what. But with the release of the show’s promotional materials, including a sampler CD of songs, we’ve started to form our first thoughts on this new musical and well… Here’s our take.
- Where the hell is Norbert? A show that’s employing one of Broadway’s truly great singers, and they forget to put him on the sampler CD? What’s that about? Sure, we get Aaron Tveit singing more flawless, vibrato-free, buttery notes in two songs than he did in the entirety of Next to Normal, but Norbert brings complexity and experience to the table that Aaron, much as we love his biceps him, can’t muster. Maybe it was intentional, so our curiosity would lead us right to the box office. And maybe it was just a bummer of an oversight.
- I’m already skipping songs. And there’s only four of them. Call it Miss Baltimore Crabs Syndrome. Marc Shaiman is a good composer, but he’s also good for at least one stinker per show. In this case, they actually included it on the sampler CD. Called “Jet Set,” it’s sung by a bunch of stewardesses about, like, all the people they’ve slept with in cities around the world. Yawn. And the melody’s pretty dull, too.
- It’s pink! One of my favorite things about the film was its very specific sense of style—its vintage primary colors and prickly geometric shapes. (Remember the opening titles? We still do.) The styling for the musical has gone… pink. Neon pink, to be exact. Which is fine, except that the color hardly existed before 1985. We understand that Legally Blonde was a game changer for Broadway, palate-wise, but all that flash is kind of giving us a headache. We hope the show doesn’t do the same.
- Nice work, Kerry Butler. Girl can sing a song, no joke. And this one certainly works for her. “Fly, Fly Away” has been kicking around for a while now, thanks to a stealth YouTube video or six. As the show’s probable 10:30 number and resident Meaningful Power Ballad, it really seems to work. We’ll have to get ourselves into the theater to confirm, but just listening to the music, there’s something a little callow, not about Butler’s interpretation but about the song itself. Like, yeah. You lost your man. He was great. And a criminal. And he’s Aaron Tveit, so we kind of get it. But we really hope that this song has more heft in person.