High school musical


Wakatipu High is set for take-off.

Opening night for school musical Catch Me If You Can is less than a week away.

It’s been a heap of fun rehearsing for the past two months, director Kate Moetaua says.

She’s certain show week is going to be a smooth flight.

“It’s a great story and a great challenge, especially for our two leads Theo and Hugh.”

Theo Baumfield, who plays Frank Abagnale Jr, and Hugh Taylor, who plays Agent Carl Hanratty, have both had their head in the game for quite some time.

The duo have featured in musicals since year nine and have now stepped up as leaders, Moetaua says.

Baumfield is feeling confident just days out from opening night: “I’m looking forward to going out on stage and performing it and showing people how much talent Wakatipu High School has — it’s gonna be a good show.”

The main female lead and Frank’s love interest is played by Violet Hirst.

The full cast has a whopping 60 students involved from all year groups.

Moetaua says: “It’s important to give everyone experience from year nine and 10 so we can build confidence in our performers for when they get to year 12 and 13.”

Catch Me If You Can, based on a true story, follows a teen who poses as a pilot, doctor and lawyer — conning people for millions of dollars.

It’s also a 2002 film starring Leonardo Di Caprio as Frank and Tom Hanks as the agent.

Baumfield admits it was slightly intimidating at first: “It’s a big thing taking on such a big role”.

The musical gives the students a chance to work their tails off, but for a big reward.

Choreography, costume design, hair and makeup all have student teams — with the help of a few pros here and there.

Moetaua says: “Having experiences like that, the ones that really put the time in, they do benefit greatly.”

The musical also has a live band made up of students, directed by Alison Price.

For Moetaua it’s seeing the students grow that she enjoys the most.

“I love the transformations that you see the kids go through when they get their costumes and makeup on and they suddenly realise this is it!

“That magic of bringing all those components together is the coolest thing,” she says.

Catch Me If You Can opens on April 6 and runs until April 9, from 7.30pm to 10.30pm each night at the Queenstown Memorial Centre. Tickets are available online via Eventfinda at $27 for adults and $12 for students.