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Originally published Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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5th Avenue season's unique "Catch": a musical based on Spielberg film

Theater news: Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre announces its 2009-10 season, including a new musical version of the hit Steven Spielberg film "Catch Me If You Can," a tour of the Broadway revival of "South Pacific," staged by Intiman Theatre's Bartlett Sher, and the "Legally Blonde" tour.

Seattle Times theater critic

5th Avenue Theatre 2009-10 season

"Catch Me If You Can"

July 23-Aug. 14

"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

Oct. 13-Nov. 1

"White Christmas"

Dec. 1-20

"South Pacific"

Jan. 29-Feb. 14, 2010

"Legally Blonde"

Feb. 23-March 14, 2010

"On the Town"

April 13-May 2, 2010

"Candide"

May 25-June 13, 2010

A new musical based on the 2002 movie "Catch Me if You Can," the Steven Spielberg comedy about a young con artist who is a master at changing his identity to elude the law, will have its world premiere in Seattle this summer, as the first show of the 5th Avenue Theatre's 2009-10 season. And "South Pacific," a much older musical now on Broadway in a captivating staging by Intiman Theatre honcho Bartlett Sher, is also on tap for next year.

"Catch Me if You Can" will be directed by Jack O'Brien, with a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, a set by David Rockwell, and choreography by Jerry Mitchell — all of whom were on the creative team for "Hairspray," an earlier 5th Avenue premiere that went on to mega-success on Broadway.

"It's a testament to what we're doing here that the producers came to us with this new project," says 5th Avenue producing artistic director David Armstrong. The company also has hosted the pre-Broadway debuts of "Shrek the Musical" and "The Wedding Singer" and just ended a run of "Memphis," which has Broadway aspirations.

The multiple Tony-winning 2008 revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic "South Pacific" will be coming to the 5th Avenue in its first national tour.

Also slated for 5th Avenue's seven-show, 2009-10 season are two musicals composed by Leonard Bernstein: the sailors-on-leave romp "On the Town," directed by 5th Avenue associate producing artistic head, Bill Berry; and the less-known spin on Voltaire, "Candide," which Armstrong will stage as part of a citywide festival-in-the-making that would honor Bernstein's centenary.

Rounding out the season will be the ubiquitous Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice show "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat"; a national tour of Broadway's "Legally Blonde"; and an encore of 5th Avenue's holiday hit "White Christmas."

As far as weathering any serious adverse effects from the national economic recession, according to Armstrong, "So far we're doing just fine, both on ticket sales and on subscriptions."

The theater is optimistic enough about the financial future to take a cue from Broadway in charging higher prices next season for its premium central-orchestra seats, newly dubbed the "Pearl" section.

Seven-show subscriptions are priced $103 to $434, and can be placed by phone at the 5th Avenue box office starting at 9:30 a.m. Monday, at 206-625-1900 or toll-free to 888-5TH-4TIX. More information: www.5thavenue.org.

Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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