TRAVERSE CITY — Dominic Fortuna has been waiting all of his life to play a role like Frank Abagnale, Sr.
“This is the greatest endeavor I have ever taken on as an actor,” said the northern Michigan-based entertainer and member of the “Catch Me If You Can” national touring cast.
Based on the film of the same name and the true story that inspired it, the first national tour of the Broadway musical hit the road in October and will make a stop in Detroit for a limited engagement at the Fisher Theatre May 7-19.
Fortuna plays the father of world-class con artist, Frank Abagnale, Jr., who passed himself off as a doctor, a lawyer and a jet pilot, all before the age of 21. The clever con artist is upended when FBI agent Carl Hanratty takes on the case, landing the son in prison and on the brink of a new life as an FBI consultant upon his release.
“The relationship between the father who has lost everything and his son who is in a lot of trouble, the slow decline in their characters, is a great challenge as an actor,” said Fortuna, who won the role last summer for the tour that began in September.
After stops in Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver, Houston and the upcoming Detroit performances, the tour ends in Orange County, Calif., in June.
The musical was created by a Tony Award-winning team, with a book by Terrence McNally (”The Full Monty,” “Ragtime”), score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (”Hairspray”), choreography by Jerry Mitchell (”Hairspray,” “Legally Blonde”) and direction by Jack O’Brien (”Hairspray,” “The Full Monty,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”).
Mitchell and O’Brien share Fortuna’s Michigan roots. Mitchell hails from Paw Paw and O’Brien is a son of Saginaw.
While Fortuna cut his acting teeth in on the northern Michigan entertainment circuit, he made his Broadway debut playing Vince Fontaine in “Grease” in 2009. He has worked on and off stage with such greats as Dean Martin and Barry Manilow and is an associate director and former member of the Young Americans. His television appearances include Dick Clark’s “Your Big Break” and NBC’s “Grease: You’re the One That I Want.” Fortuna also wrote, directed and produced his own Williamsburg Showcase Dinner Theater shows.
“This part came just as I had landed a job in Las Vegas. I didn’t want to move my family from northern Michigan,” said Fortuna, who has scheduled performances at The Pelican Room on Torch Lake after completing the “Catch Me” run.
“I also have some other things in the works, but I’m not ready to talk about that yet,” he said.
Tickets for the Fisher Theatre performance range from $35 to $80. They’re now on sale at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at (800) 982-2787, online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.broadwayindetroit.com and at the Fisher Theatre box office.
Performance times are 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Fisher Theatre is located at 3011 W. Grand Blvd. in Detroit.