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Director marvels in spectacle that is 'Catch Me If You Can'

| Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Rehearsing for the are Actors and Artists of Fayette County at Geyer Performing Arts Center upcming show, 'Catch Me If You Can' are Anna Strauser of Uniontown as Brenda Strong and Will Dixon of Greensburg as Frank Abagnale Jr.
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Rehearsing for the are Actors and Artists of Fayette County at Geyer Performing Arts Center upcming show, 'Catch Me If You Can' are Anna Strauser of Uniontown as Brenda Strong and Will Dixon of Greensburg as Frank Abagnale Jr.

Ever since Shawn Conway of Export heard the musical cast recording of “Catch Me If You Can,” he wanted to produce the show.

“The music gets under your skin instantly and I found myself trying to absorb as much of the show as possible from clips online and regional productions,” he says. “But because it's not that popular of a show, I never got to see it, so I decided to produce it regionally myself.”

Conway is directing a production of the musical for Actors and Artists of Fayette County at Geyer Performing Arts Center, Scottdale.

“Catch Me If You Can” is based on the true story of con artist Frank Abagnale Jr., who posed as a pilot, doctor and lawyer using aliases to pass bad checks all over the world.

Will Dixon of Greensburg portrays Abagnale and Noah Telford of Greensburg plays Carl Hanratty, the FBI agent who pursued him, taking on roles played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, respectively, in the 2002 Academy Award-nominated movie.

Conway had the opportunity to meet Abagnale, who now lives in Charleston, S.C., a year ago at a fraud seminar in Monroeville. “He really was every bit as charming as DiCaprio portrayed him to be. It made total sense how he got away with strangers just instantly trusting him.”

“He told me to never forget that he was just a kid when all of this happened, and despite the really serious and adult actions he took in executing this fraud, he was just a scared kid who got in too deep and was trying to help get back that family feeling he had from his childhood,” the director says.

Dixon says the musical is a spectacle with exciting dance numbers, dazzling lighting, gorgeous music and bright scenery.

“Yet the show is so much more,” he says. “It's the personal story of family. All the characters, truly, are searching for or are trying to protect their family. And that's something that everyone can connect to.”

Telford, a junior musical theater major at Seton Hill University, says “Catch Me If You Can” is worth checking out, especially for theatergoers unfamiliar with the musical.

Telford's recent credits include George in “Schoolhouse Rock Live” with Mariposa Theater Company in Bellevue, and Prince Charming in “Cinderella” with Stage Right.

Dixon's roles include Seymour in “The Little Shop of Horrors,” Joe in “9 to 5”, Jetsam in “Disney's The Little Mermaid” and Terk in “Disney's Tarzan.”

Conway is directing his third musical for Actors and Artists of Fayette County, having directed “Tarzan” and “9 to 5.” He also performed in last month's “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” as William Barfee.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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