The star of the road tour "Catch Me If You Can" can't wait to get home to South Florida when the Broadway musical comes to Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.
"I'm from Miami," says Stephen Anthony, who plays the lead Frank Abagnale, Jr., a charismatic teenage con man. "I know that's a little south of West Palm, but I can't wait."
The Florida State University graduate grew up performing at Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables ("I spent my weekends there too; I would usher the shows so I could see as much theater as I could") after getting a taste for the stage doing musical theater for yourn audiences at the Miracle Theatre and at Miami Children's Theater.
Now he's touring the country in a show based on the Leonardo DiCaprio/Tom Hanks 2002 hit movie.
We caught up with Anthony - who has two weeks off after the WPB run - while the company was performing in College Station, Texas:
NAME: Stephen Anthony
"There are so many Stephen Anthony's. There's another one working in South Florida I think too. I get confused for Stephen James Anthony of 'War Horse.' I just say, 'Oh yeah, that was me. 'War Horse' was great.' Which if you think about it, it's very Frank Junior of me.'
AGE: "I turned 22 in March. I just graduated in May."
FIRST TO-DO AT HOME: "I can't wait to The Big Cheese pizza. It's a pizza restaurant by [The Shops at] Sunset Place. It's so good. And there's this Colombian restaurant called Los Perros...just west of the Gables."
PARENT REACTION: "They're so excited. My mom got a party bus to come up to the show. They invited a bunch of people. That show is going to be crazy, me standing by curtain and knowing that like 1200 people came with just my family."
SOFLO SCHOOLS: "I grew up near The Falls. I went to Howard Drive Elementary School, Southwood Middle School...and then I went downtown to New World School of the Arts for high school. I graduated in 2008."
AUDITION PROCESS: "It's been a dream. The thing I was getting excited about was moving to New York. I spent two weeks in New York auditioning. I did like five auditions for other tours. Some of the same people were behind the table for different shows and I got to tell you; they barely looked up, they barely noticed me. 'Catch Me' was my last audition before I was suppose to fly back to Tallahassee and finish school. They called me at 3 p.m. on the Friday I was suppose to fly back and they asked me to come back Saturday. The late, late theyc alled be back Sunday and Monday. They continued to look at me all that week. To have a job after college is enough, but to do this show is a dream."
CONNECTING TO THE 60s POP MUSIC: "Well, there's a lot of '60s music in musical tehater, so I've been exposed to a lot of it. And of course teh Frank Sintra era is incredible - I love all that music. But I really get to be your young heartthrob of the show; it's more of rock and roll, which is very cool. Kind of an Elvis-y feel. The guy who plays my father is more 'Sinatra.' the score is just beautiful. Marc Shaimen and Scott Wittman did an incredible job. One song will make you cry then witht he nexts ong the lyric will make you laugh."
THE SHOW: "It's set up like I'm taking you through the story of my life in the form of a TV show. When you're a con artist you're putting on a show for everyone anyway. But then it gets away from me. I lose control of it. I don't want to run anymore. I just want a a life. I just want to stop being in the show. I think that analogy is incredibly powerful. I can say 'turn off the spotlight' and I can look at the spotlight when I say it."
LESSONS LEARNED: "I credit so much what I learned at New World and Floirda State. I fall back on that so much. I fall back into that training so much. [Touring] is hard. We spend like 10 to 12 hours on the bus, traveling all day to the next city. I want it to be like a school trip, you know, where you can turn around and play and talk to the person sitting behind you. But I have to be very quiet and dring a lot of water. My focus has to be on the show that night. Mostly what I see is the inside of the hotel room. The best part is all the restaurants. Every city it's like we hear that we have to go to this restaurant or that restaurant. That's where all our money goes, unfortunately."
IF YOU GO:
"Catch Me If You Can" Nov. 13-18
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 2 p.m. matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday
Where: Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., in West Palm Beach
Cost: Tickets start at $25
Contact: 561-832-7469 or Kravis.org/catchmeifyoucan.