First Posted: 8/25/2014
Sal Infantino was too young to see the movie “Catch Me If You Can” when it played in theaters. Yet, in less than two weeks, Infantino will star as the lead character, Frank Abagnale Jr. in the Little Theatre of Wilkes Barre’s production, which runs from Sept. 6-14.
Infantino was born in Pittston and moved to Dallas at the age of 11. He is a 2006 graduated from Dallas High School, and earned his BA in Theater from Wilkes University.
He said the production of “Catch Me If You Can” is unique in the fact that its villain, Frank Abagnale Jr., “brings a level of innocence (due to his youth). You almost feel bad for him. The audience gets the opportunity to be conflicted as the story leaves the audience in an interesting place.”
“Catch Me If You Can” is a 2002 American biographical crime drama film based on the life of Frank Abagnale, who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor and a Louisiana parish prosecutor. His primary crime was check fraud; he became so skillful that the FBI eventually turned to him for help in catching other check forgers.
The film was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, with Christopher Walken, Amy Adams, Martin Sheen and Nathalie Baye in supporting roles.
Infantino has appeared in two other productions at the Little Theatre, “Rent” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He has also performed in “High School Musical” at the Kirby Center and “Sweeney Todd” at the Music Box Theater. He will relocate to Los Angeles at the end of the year to seek new ventures.
Maureen Hozempa, of Dallas, is performing a double duty. She is in the ensemble and also the performance’s costume designer. Hozempa was involved with the theater as a child and re-joined it in 2010. She graduated from Wilkes University in 2007 with a BA in Theater.
The production’s musical director, Hollie Major, teaches music at Dallas Middle School and has been involved with Little Theatre for the past six years. A Plains resident, Major is greatly involved with the Dallas community. She takes students from the Dallas Middle School Chorus to Little Theatre’s programs to incorporate them into a semiprofessional setting. In addition, Major will play the keyboard in the live orchestra segment of the production.
Mike Wawarzynek of Barnesville, is the production’s director, and Samantha Schugardt is the choreographer. This is Wawarzynek’s second show with the Little Theatre. His first production was “Godspell Jr.” performed earlier this year. He said that performance went “very well” and he is hoping for the same with “Catch Me If You Can.”
Wawarzynek and Schugardt met five years ago when Schugardt hired Wawarzynek as a teaching assistant for Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts in Hazleton. Schugardt, a Conyngham resident, is choreographing “Catch Me If You Can” and said the production features “a lot of choreography with high energy” and is “expecting a great turnout.”
Wawarzynek earned BA degrees in Theater and English Literature from Elizabethtown College and Schugardt earned BA degrees in Musical Theater and Dance Production from Indiana University in Pennsylvania.