We just finished the second weekend of our dynamic production of Catch Me if You Can, and audiences are loving it! This show may be focused on male characters like con man Frank Abagnale and FBI Agent Carl Hanratty, but one of my favorite aspects of the show is the colorful female ensemble. The women of Catch Me transform from perky stewardesses to saucy nurses, from fierce FBI agents to glamorous showgirls, and plenty of delightful side characters. I decided to sit down with a few of them to discuss their roles in the show, their favorite numbers, and more!
One of the most prominent female characters in Catch Me is Frank’s love interest Brenda Strong, played by Claire Clauson. She told me about the unique romance between these characters, and her own personal connection to the show.
Q: Tell me a little about Brenda!
“Brenda is a nurse at Atlanta General Hospital and she’s the youngest nurse there. She’s good at her job but she kind of lacks confidence until she meets Frank! He teaches her how to be more confident and to believe in herself more.” – Claire
Q: What’s your favorite thing about this show, or this role?
“I saw this show when I was a senior in high school and I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The music is so fun and the dancing is so incredible – it’s all so bright and exciting but it’s also got so much heart! I left feeling so excited. It’s kind of what made me want to do theatre. The show’s just really important to me for personal reasons.” – Claire
Q: What makes Brenda more compelling than the typical girl-next-door character?
“Brenda is really down-to-earth. I think she’s pretty witty and can be very funny, even though sometimes she’s awkward socially and doesn’t really understand when Frank starts flirting with her. Her brain is in work mode, and when he asks her to get coffee and things like that, she just doesn’t comprehend it. When you meet somebody who’s really good at what they do, really smart, really fun to be around but they don’t realize it, there’s something sweet about that person. I think Frank saw that and decided that he wanted to help her see herself the way that he sees her.” – Claire
I also got to chat with Latreshia Lilly, Jamie Walters, Loren Clark and Helen Brock, who are all members of the female ensemble.
Q: What is your favorite number and why?
“’Don’t Break the Rules’ because it’s so fun and so high energy! And the women get to wear suits – that’s my favorite thing because all of our other costumes are mini-skirts. I like that as women, we get to look just as powerful as the men in the suit, the hat, and the shades. And we do it better 'cause we’re in heels and they are not!” – Latreshia
“My favorite number is ‘Doctor’s Orders’ because it’s one of the pieces that allows for the most individuality with the women. A lot of our other songs require very precise and cohesive movements, but it’s a piece where almost every girl gets a couple moments to freestyle and just enjoy being onstage. That to me is more fun, not only for the performers but for the audience as well.” – Jamie
“I like ‘Live in Living Color’ a lot. I think it’s a really fun way to open the show, it’s really energetic and colorful, and I feel like the audience doesn’t really expect something like that.” – Loren
“My favorite number in the show is absolutely ‘Jet Set’. The great Jazz swing style of music allows for such fun choreography, there’s lots of strutting and strong arms which suit my own personal style. It’s really the only number in the show that relies solely on the strengths of the ensemble. Most of the number is performed without Frank singing or even on stage!” – Helen
Q: Is there a side character that you especially like to play?
“The ensemble girls don’t have a story, so we get to make up the stories with our characters. When we come out as the flight attendants, we’re all whispering things like, ‘He’s not even that cute, I don’t want him, you take him!’ So we get to create our own stories of who we think Frank Abagnale is as we’re all frolicking around in our miniskirts.” – Latreshia
“Probably one of Brenda’s bridesmaids. It’s pretty neat because Meris, Latreshia, and I get to be part of this trio that sings backup to one of her songs. I don’t really know what we are, since it’s only the three of us and not all of the bridesmaids. We could be other women that Frank has loved and lost before, we could be three muses, or we could just be three women who are there to sing with Brenda and support her. I think it’s neat that we don’t know what we are!” – Jamie
“There’s this one scene where we’re at a party and we have these coconuts. I just think it’s so funny that there are four of us just standing there, holding coconuts! I think that’s my favorite part.” – Loren
“I get to play Cindy in the scene that introduces the idea that Frank could be a pilot, and that’s a lot of fun. She, along with all the stewardess, are so sassy with their little hats, tight skirts and white gloves.” – Helen
Q: How do you think the ensemble moves this particular story forward?
“The ensemble is the core of the support for the story to happen. At the beginning, he introduces us as his players who are going to help tell the story. If he didn’t have us, the story couldn’t be told, which I really like. It’s kind of like we’re in his imagination, and he imagines like 40 people telling his story and he gets to play along with them.” – Latreshia
“We definitely make it more colorful. As much as everyone always remembers the leads, there’s something to say for people who remember the ensemble as a unit but also for their individuality. I think it’d be so much more boring if you had only about six people onstage for the entire show, just because they’re the ones with lines. I think we add color, we add fun, we break up the slow moments, and I like to think that we’re all in Frank’s imagination. I think that no one is there except for the FBI agents, Frank, and Hanratty, and we’re just figments helping him tell his story. The ensemble is super important because he couldn’t tell his story without us.” – Jamie
“I think we tell the story in a fun way and keep it interesting. You can always just tell the story as a play version, but adding music and dancing makes it a lot more exciting for the audience.” – Loren
“The ensemble in this show are truly vital to the telling of the story. It feels like in almost every number there’s a coat change (or two!), or a prop like a camera or stethoscope that someone has brought on and slips into the choreography seamlessly. We are all part of making the magic happen and making it look effortless for Andrew to execute his character development. We are all the people that played a part in his very interesting journey, from stewardesses to nurses, showgirls at a bar to bridesmaids at his wedding. It’s very special to be involved in a show that not only relies on the ensemble but also gets to showcase their talents.” – Helen
Tickets are going fast for the final two weekends of shows, so catch them if you can! Call our box office at (864)233-6238