October in Sheridan brings cool fall nights, changing colors and the WYO’s annual gala production.

This year you’ll be treated to Catch Me if You Can, The Musical. Based on the hit film and incredible true story, Catch Me If You Can is the high-flying musical comedy about chasing your dreams and not getting caught. Nominated for four Tony awards, including Best Musical, this delightfully entertaining show features the true story of Frank Abignale, Jr. who, seeking fame and fortune, runs away from home to begin an unforgettable adventure.

With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer — living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. When Frank’s lies catch the attention of FBI agent, Carl Hanratty, though, Carl pursues Frank across the country to make him pay for his crimes.

Featuring a 28-person cast and 14-person band the WYO’s gala is the biggest party of the year. The evening begins at Frackelton’s Fine Food and Dining for heavy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. The activity then moves across the street to the WYO for a live auction, silent auction and more cocktails. After the first half of the performance guests are treated to dessert and an after dinner aperitif followed by the second half of the show.

The entire evening wraps up with final bows and much merry making. Naturally the entire event is one big costume contest with winners receiving tickets to next year’s gala. It’s the most fun way you can support to the WYO.

Because this is the WYO’s sole fundraising event of the year, there is a lot of preparation for these five performances. Two-and-a-half months of intensive rehearsals that include individual and ensemble vocal work, movement and dance, blocking, character development and memorization.

Aside from regular actor rehearsals the band will gather to review and rehearse the music separately, music that has been carefully prepared for each band members’ and actors’ ability. Once the band is rehearsed, they will combine with the actors to put it together. At those rehearsals the technical elements of mics, sound cues, set pieces, lights and costumes will be added requiring the help of additional crew and dressers.

Even before these last two weeks of work the set will be designed, constructed and painted, lights will be hung, and the costumes will be selected and prepared. In this year’s production there are up to 10 costume changes for many of the cast members. The stage preparation doesn’t include the front-of-house work, which starts months in advance. Silent and live auction items are curated and gathered, raffle pieces are identified, and the party is planned. From decorations to food to cocktails, everything is carefully selected to create the best experience for patrons. All of this activity over the course of six months and completed by scores of volunteers, around 110 people come together to make the WYO Gala a possibility.

The Gala night of Catch Me if You Can is Oct. 19 with encore performances Oct. 24-27. Tickets are going fast, so hop on to wyotheater.com and purchase yours today. And don’t forget, it’s the WYO’s 30th anniversary season so this year’s event is extra special. Don’t miss it.


Erin Butler is the executive director of the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center.