‘Catch’ grabs auds

Broadway play opens in Gotham

The life of legendary ex-conman Frank Abagnale Jr. must have passed before his eyes Sunday — since the man himself was there at the Broadway opening night of “Catch Me If You Can.” Helmer Jack O’Brien bought him onstage during the curtain call.

At the Cipriani after-party, Marc Shaiman, one half of the songwriting team with partner Scott Wittman, said the two of them were impressionable young boys during the era of the ’60s variety shows, a pop-culture genre that lends the tuner its format. “The biggest fight in my house was when I wanted to watch the Mitzi Gaynor special,” cracked Wittman.

Perhaps the strongest praise of the night came from John Waters, whose “Hairspray” pic was adapted for the stage by a number of the “Catch Me” collaborators. “Finally, a musical straight men can love!” Waters declared.

— Gordon Cox

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