The high school’s long tradition of excellence and innovation in musical productions continued with “Catch Me If You Can,” a new stage musical based on the Dreamworks motion picture starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio. The school’s production, held March 19, 21 and 23, was the first on Long Island for the musical, which opened on Broadway in 2011.

The story of “Catch Me If You Can” derives from the 1980 autobiography of Frank Abagnale Jr. who ran away from home as a teenager, in search of the glamorous life and successfully posed as several different high-level professionals. While the 2002 film version emphasized the relationship between Abagnale and pursuing FBI agent Carl Hanratty, the stage musical – which debuted in Seattle in 2009 – tells the tale as a series of musical flashbacks as Abagnale recounts his own story to Hanratty and a crowd of bystanders.

Islip’s production, performed with a live orchestra comprised of both students and professional musicians, was directed by Rich Harris Jr. with choreography by Kristen DiGilio. Stage crew and art were handled by Melissa Trocchio-Cohen.

“We were really excited to be the first Long Island group to produce ‘Catch Me If You Can,’” said Harris. “The high-energy show was exciting and fun, and the visuals, music and dancing kept the audience’s attention the entire evening.”

The play itself wasn’t the only thing that was new, as local senior citizens were invited to an inaugural luncheon capped by a free matinee performance of the musical. The meal was served by members of the school’s National Honor Society, followed by a meet-and-greet with the cast and a recognition ceremony for the graduating seniors involved in the musical.

“We’ve been inviting the seniors to be part of a senior citizen reception before the matinee for years,” said Vincent Green, the district’s director of fine and performing arts. “The thought of a dinner theater type of event seemed a natural outgrowth, and the seniors enjoyed having the opportunity to meet the students before the performance. Many of the senior citizens have been attending Islip shows for years, had children who came through the program and even have grandchildren as current cast, crew and orchestra members.”

“This wonderful intergenerational tribute was a way to recognize all,” said Superintendent Susan Schnebel.

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