June 11, 2003 01:00 PM

Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman — the music men who famously locked lips at Sunday’s Tony Awards while picking up awards for their score to “Hairspray” — are developing a new stage musical based on last year’s Steven Spielberg movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, “Catch Me If You Can,” Playbill.com reports.

The duo, who collaborate professionally and cohabitate personally, are working with Spielberg, they tell the theater news Web site.

“Catch Me If You Can,” the movie, was based on the real-life story of Frank W. Abagnale Jr. (aka Frank Taylor, Frank Conners, Barry Allen and a whole other set of aliases), a compulsive young con man who is doggedly pursued by FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks, with an annoying Boston accent). The young Abagnale begins his misdeeds after the I.R.S. puts the screws to his father (played by Christopher Walken).

No timeframe for the show or a possible cast has been announced, but Playbill.com quotes Wittman and Shaiman (who also wrote the memorably profane and Oscar-nominated score to the movie musical “South Park — Bigger, Longer & Uncut”) as saying that they are comfortable writing songs with a 1960s sound — the timeframe in which both “Hairspray” and “Catch Me If You Can” are set.

Should the new show get a fast green light, it would be one of the quicker screen-to-stage transfers. The 1951 Broadway production of “The King & I,” for example, was based on the 1946 movie “Anna and the King” — making that leap in merely five years — while, in another instance, the 1988 stage production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” which is still running in New York, was based on the 1925 Lon Chaney movie of the same name.

Mel Brooks’s “The Producers” took from 1968 (when the movie debuted) to 2001 (when the show premiered) to begin its new life.

You May Like