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Friday, March 25, 2011


After months of knitting white,blue, and champagne sweaters for a new Broadway musical entitled "Catch Me if You Can," I finally have a few minutes to tell you what I have been doing.
For those whose missed the movie, it is the story of Frank Abagnale, Jr. a teenager who posed as 8 different people including a Pam Am Pilot, Atlanta pediatrician, and assistant attorney general in order to pass bad checks in 26 countries over a period of 5 years in the 1960s. Before he was caught at age 21, Frank had stolen 2.5 million U.S. dollars. After serving time in prison, Frank became a security consultant for the FBI and founded his own financial security business.

Like the movie, the Broadway musical focuses on Frank Abagnale, Jr., played by Aaron Tveit, and the FBI agent Carl Hanratty who chased him for years, played by Norbert Leo Butz. Tom Wopat plays Frank Abagnale, Sr., a najor influence in Jr.'s life The show opens with the capture of Frank by Carl and unfolds as a 1960s variety show as Frank tells his story to the audience. As you can see from the playbill, the mood of the show is that of the glamorous, high-flying 60s.

Here is a shot of Frank meeting some Pan Am stewardesses, courtesy of the shows website

Another shot of the stews courtesy of the Daily News. Flying never looked so exciting. The link to the full story is below:
My part in the show was 10 men's, machine-knit, cardigan sweaters for the male dancers to wear during a number called "(Our) Family Tree," sung when Frank meets his fiance's family. William Ivey Long, the costume designer, was inspired by sweaters worn on the Perry Como for this number.

Here is the original research showing Andy Williams and his dancers.

Here is one of the finished sweaters. The body is knit with a white wool/rayon yarn and trimmed with stripes of navy blue and dark champagne. I did all of the knitting myself but was lucky enough to entice 4 friends to help me put the sweaters together in time for the first tech rehearsal.
The sweaters are worn with cream pants, a cream polo shirt, and a spiffy hat. The sweater looks a little dumpy because my dress form doesn't have the chest and shoulders of the chorus boys. On the right bodies, the sweaters look GAWGEOUS and the Catch Me dancers have the right bodies. Heck, you could put burlap sacks on these guys and the sacks would look good.

We were lucky enought to see the show and enjoyed it. The set is amazing, the costumes are fun and glamorous, the music is bouncy, and the dancing is great. Norbert Leo Butz breaks out of his staid, FBI character to do a dance number that amazed everyone with it's complexity and energy. The story also delves into why Frank became a con man and how the lark turned into a chase that turned into a treadmill he couldn't get off; it's not all glitz and gloss. The show even manages not to end on a down note with Frank's capture; the cast briefly relates that Frank served his time in jail and turned his life around. Quite a tale made into an entertaining musical.
After that it was more chain mail for the Metropolitan Opera's production of Die Walkure.

Here is one of the pieces drying after being steamed into shape.
Now, I am cleaning up and deciding which beadwork project I need to work on next.

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