Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Post-Covid Playhouse better than ever

The Flat Rock Playhouse is officially back, and better than ever!

The first production of the first season on the Rock since live theater halted two years ago is a clear hit. A comedy thriller, "Catch Me If You Can" is a crowd-pleaser cast with audience favorites, and is the perfect choice for easing us all back into the neglected seats of North Carolina's treasured State Theatre.
Written by Frenchman Robert Thomas and adapted for Broadway by Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert for Broadway, "Catch Me If You Can" premiered in 1965 and ran for 111 performances. If only the Playhouse could host as long a run; this murder-mystery masterpiece in three acts deserves more time in the spotlight.
Entering the Leiman main stage, theater patrons are greeted by the set’s soft, warm light. It's the inside of a mountain cabin in the 1960s, and every detail fits the period, down to the sideboard fully stocked with liquor. Set in one large living room, the play has no moving pieces, cutting the chances for mistakes and naturally making the transitions between acts smooth.
After taking in the beautiful scenery, audience members settling into their seats may notice all employees and volunteers in black Flat Rock Playhouse branded masks. With no vaccine checks or negative Covid tests required, the professional face coverings are a kind courtesy on behalf of the Playhouse to add a measure of safety and security for all who are nervous returning to packed indoor seating.
And packed it was for an opening night. Only a handful of rows sat empty in the back, and it seems the public is eager to enjoy live theater once again. As Producing Artistic Director Lisa K. Bryant notes in her playbill message to the audience, "Catch Me If You Can" is the first play the Rock's hosted in 19 months. Bryant herself plays a small, silent, hilarious role as Mrs. Parker, obviously enjoying her return to the stage. Her use of body language alone turns a minor character into a memorable one.
The most memorable character of this production — and almost every production in which he's cast — is undoubtedly fan favorite Scott Treadway. From his crooked gait to his many facial contortions, Treadway embodies Inspector Levine as he does all his parts: with a laid-back confidence that immediately assures the audience the show is in capable hands. A play with Scott Treadway means laughter is likely, and talent is guaranteed.
While Treadway limped slightly on stage as if it were his morning routine, Grayson Powell took a bit longer to warm up in his part as the distraught Daniel Corban. A familiar face from last season's "Proposals," Powell is another seasoned actor whose experience fought back first-night jitters by the end of the first act. As his speech slowed and he began leaning into beats, viewers stopped worrying about flubbed lines and as intended, began to worry about his character's sanity.
Laura Woyasz, another heavyweight in the theater world, has many talents. One of them is her vocal range, which, although not showcased in verse, was on full display as Elizabeth Corban. Her laugh alone is as musical as it is chilling, adding credence to her Broadway experience and making it easy to picture her as Kenny Roger's backup singer. Woyasz's maniacal cackle somehow balances the line between comical and hair-raising, making her the perfect choice to portray the mysterious Mrs. Corban.
Audience members will likely recognize another Flat Rock favorite early in the play. Peter Thomasson plays Father Kelleher, echoing his very first role at the Playhouse in 1993 when he also portrayed a priest. Most, however, will remember him from just last season in "Separate Beds."
Rounding out this small ensemble is Patrick Halley in his first performance at the Rock. His supporting role as Sidney the sandwich shop owner drew laughs with every other line, and Playhouse fans should consider themselves lucky to see this talented actor on stage in the future since his past is firmly established in film.
"Catch Me If You Can" is undoubtedly a hit, and hopefully just the first of a full, fantastic season at the Flat Rock Playhouse. Although uncertainty around the pandemic lingers, it seems most are ready to return to normal life. A return that is, optimistically, permanent, since life just isn't the same without live theater.

* * * * *

"Catch Me If You Can" runs through Saturday. For tickets call 828-693-0731 or visit