Freaky Friday, With Emma Hunton and Heidi Blickenstaff, Begins Performances

News   Freaky Friday, With Emma Hunton and Heidi Blickenstaff, Begins Performances The world-premiere production takes shape at the Signature Theatre in Virginia.
Emma Hunton, Jason Gotay and Heidi Blickenstaff
Emma Hunton, Jason Gotay and Heidi Blickenstaff

The world premiere of Disney’s Freaky Friday begins performances October 4 at the Signature Theatre’s MAX Theatre in Arlington, VA. Emma Hunton, Heidi Blickenstaff and Jason Gotay star.

Developed by Disney Theatrical Productions expressly for licensing to theatres, Freaky Friday features a book by Bridget Carpenter, music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Brian Yorkey.

Directed by Christopher Ashley (Rocky Horror Show, Memphis) with choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, On Your Feet!), the production stars Blickenstaff (Something Rotten!) as Katherine Blake, Hunton (Spring Awakening) as Ellie Blake, Gotay (Bring It On) as Adam and Alan H. Green (School of Rock) as Mike.

Rounding out the cast are Shayna Blass, Tyler Bowman, Cicily Daniels, Jamie Eacker, Sherri L. Edelen, Katie Ladner, Storm Lever, J.Elaine Marcos, Thaddeus McCants, Calvin McCullough, Jake Heston Miller, Tanisha Moore, Julian Ramos, Olivia Ashley Reed, Bobby Smith, Robert Walters and Jason SweetTooth Williams.

Performances run through November 20.

The story, about a mother and daughter who trade bodies, was first published as a children’s novel by Mary Rodgers in 1972. A film version was made in 1976, starring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster; a Disney television version was made in 1995, with Shelley Long and Gaby Hoffman; and, most recently, a 2003 film remake starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. The musical version is set in current day.

Yorkey previously told Playbill, “Each one sort of took the core and the heart of the book—both the conceptual essence of it and also the emotional heart of it—and found its own way of telling the story. And, that’s what we’re doing with the musical. I think that we certainly love both movies, but we went back to start with the book because we love the book most, and we were very fortunate to get to spend some time with Mary Rodgers before she died. Bridget Carpenter, our book writer, got to be very good friends with Mary, so our job [is] to retell this story for a new generation and hold tight to the things that make it special.”

Here’s how the show is billed: “When an overworked mother and her teenage daughter magically swap bodies, they have just one day to put things right again before mom’s big wedding. Freaky Friday, a new musical comedy based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers and the hit Disney films, is a hilarious, contemporary update of an American classic in which a mother and daughter really see what it is to be a family and experience each other’s lives first-hand, if only for a day.”

The creative team also includes Bryan Perri (music supervision), Michael Starobin (co-orchestrations), Carmel Dean (co-vocal arrangements), Beowulf Boritt (scenic design), Emily Rebholz (costume design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Brian Ronan and Kai Harada (sound design), Leah Loukas (makeup and wig design), Jeremy Chernick (special effects consultant), Amy Corcoran (associate director), Jermaine Rembert (associate choreographer), Kerry Epstein (production stage manager) and Julianne Menassian (assistant stage manager).

New York casting is by Eric Woodall and Tara Rubin, Tara Rubin Casting, CSA.

The title was developed by Disney Theatrical to be licensed via partner Musical Theatre International first to professional and then amateur theatres. It follows the trajectory of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is now available to professional theatres worldwide following acclaimed engagements at La Jolla Playhouse and Paper Mill Playhouse.

For information on licensing Freaky Friday, contact MTI by phone at (212) 541-4684 or by email at licensing@mtishows.com.

For more information, visit SigTheatre.org.

(Updated October 4, 2016)

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