OAKLAND -- The popular movie "Catch Me If You Can," which starred former Oakland hills resident Tom Hanks, is being presented as a musical this month as part of Producers Associates' Woodminster Summer Musicals.

The show will be staged at the Woodminster Amphitheater in Joaquin Miller Park, near Skyline High School, where Hanks cut his teeth as a performer.

"Catch Me If You Can" tells the story of Frank Abagnale Jr., who successfully pretended to be a Pan American pilot, a doctor in Georgia and a prosecutor in Louisiana.

Abagnale Jr. -- played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film -- was pursued by FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Hanks' character) for check fraud and other crimes.

"We're really excited to be the first Bay Area company to produce 'Catch Me If You Can,'" said director Joel Schlader, an Alameda resident. "This show is just pure fun -- it's a splashy, high-energy trip back to the '60s. This is a full-on dance show, and we've got a cast that's definitely up to it."

While the Steven Spielberg-directed film appeared on screens in 2002, the musical debuted in Seattle just five years ago. It came to Broadway in 2011 and features Abagnale Jr. telling his story to Hanratty and a group of bystanders through a series of musical flashbacks.

"It's all true -- this is a real person's life," said Nikita Burshteyn, a student at the College of Alameda, who plays Abagnale Jr. "The musical starts out like a game show. Step by step, you get a sense of his movement from being a pilot to being a doctor and what is going on throughout his life."


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Burshteyn, who said he's seen the film at least 10 times, said the musical powerfully brings Abagnale's story to life through singing and dancing.

"He really wants to show the world that his life has been like a TV show, and the musical sets this up on stage in many scenes that appeared in the movie," he said. "There's lots of humor, too."

Jonathan Leavy, who plays Hanratty, is equally excited about the production and his role in it.

"Agent Carl Hanratty is a real person, who really went through this experience of catching a young forger wanted on five continents," said Leavy, an Alameda resident. "I really enjoy the humanity of his story, his passion for justice and his humor."

For Bob Moorhead, who plays the main character's father, Frank Abagnale Sr., a big appeal of the musical is that it transports performers and members of the audience back in time.

"As I listened to the music in the show, I fell in love with it," said Moorhead, a Piedmont resident who teaches drama at Encinal High School in Alameda. "It's from the '60s, and I grew up hearing it -- lots of big band with performers like Frank Sinatra and band leaders such as Nelson Riddle. I really like this music and thought the show would be fun, which it is."

The show's performers, Moorhead added, are stellar.

"Nikita Burshteyn is extremely talented and will be great fun to watch," he said. "Two numbers I do with him, 'Butter Outta Cream' and 'The Pinstripes Are All That They See,' really swing and are a delight to sing. It's a great joy to perform with him and with the chorus."

While the story presented in the musical is complex, the production appeals to a wide audience, Moorhead noted.

"The show has wonderful music -- big numbers with lots of dancing. And the (main character) does get caught in the end," he said.

"Parents can rest assured that the message 'crime doesn't pay' is being shared, and Woodminster's outdoor environment is so special," Moorhead said. "This entertainment is what families should be enjoying with each other."

Leavy wholeheartedly agreed.

"There are really important lessons about being real, being authentic and being honest," he said, "so it's something for the whole family."

The show's dress rehearsal on Aug. 7, is open to the public; all tickets are $18. Tickets for other shows (Aug. 8-11 and Aug. 14-17) range from $26 to $59, and those 16 or younger are free with paying adults.

if YOU GO
What: Producers Associates' production of "Catch Me If You Can"
When: 8 p.m. Aug. 7-10, 14-17
Where: Woodminster Amphitheater, 3300 Joaquin Miller Road, Oakland
Cost: $18 to $59; those 16 or younger are free with paying adults
Information: 510-531-9597, www.woodminster.com