For just one day wouldn’t you like to know what your daughter is thinking, or why your mom is so unreasonable? Teenager Ellie Blake and her mother Katherine wished just that on the eve of Katherine’s wedding and the night of a popular high school scavenger hunt. And guess what? Through the power of magic, they switched bodies! Now Katherine, in Ellie’s body, has to dissect a frog, and Ellie, in Katherine’s body, has to avoid cozying up to Mike, Katherine’s future husband.
“Freaky Friday” was a movie…twice, first with Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris, then with Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis, and now it’s a Disney Musical. Based on the book by Mary Rodgers with music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, this version is non-stop fanciful fun at the Cape Cod Theatre Company/Harwich Junior Theatre!
CCTC/HJT director Matthew Kohler cast a terrific twosome with Celia Cota as Ellie and Sara Plunkett as Katherine. Fun roles for any actor on paper, but the execution can be tricky. These two delightfully embrace the parts. Cota effortlessly pulls “Ellie’s” hair into a pony tail echoing Katherine’s words uttered just minutes earlier “to show your pretty face,” while Plunkett magically transforms into a petulant teenager. So much fun to watch as they react to this unique situation! “Watch your tone!” said Katherine from Ellie’s body. “It’s your tone!” said Ellie in Katherine’s body. The entire cast plays off these great performances, reacting with sincere puzzlement to their changes in personality.
Standouts and laughs abounded. On opening night, Justin West as Adam delighted the audience with his vocal pipes and the twinkle in his eye. He plays a likable character with boundless charm. Kaleigh Brown is on the other side of the charm spectrum; she captured the characteristics of the mean girl caricature perfectly. (Julia Wiseman plays the role in other shows.) Shiloh Pabst and Caroline Hussey were appealing in their roles as Ellie’s best friends, Karl and Monica. Their befuddlement was genuinely portrayed. Brittany Rolfs was a hoot as the gym teacher. Plunkett’s rendition of “Parents Lie” with her son, Fletcher (Finn Dyer on opening night) was particularly good. The show has a cast of over 25 men and women and any one of the following will capture your eye in the many song and dance numbers such “I Got This,” “Watch Your Back” and “Oh Biology.” They are Anne Vohs (Katherine’s bewildered assistant Torrey), Doug Sivco (the amiable fiancé), Julian Lajoie (Fletcher on alternate performances), Amie-Leigh McFarlane, Jarrett Strzepek, Nick Romano, Christina Minions, Maddie Weber, Annalise Langelier, Mackenzie O’Sullivan and Kyra Brimdyr.
Robert Tomkins’s set design transformed easily from the Blake kitchen to high school hallway and more with ease. It also lent itself well to the many fantastic ensemble song and dance numbers along with Robert Wilder’s musical direction, Suzette Hutchinson’s choreography, Lily McMurrer’s lighting design, J Hagenbuckle’s sound design and Kohler’s technical direction. Frances Covais Lautenberger’s costumes were fresh, youthful and noteworthy. Backstage high fives all around to stage manager and light board operator Hannah McLaughlin and sound board operator David Baker. Kudos to “props mistress” Marybeth Travis on the cool hourglass too!
This show is a perfect family outing; pre-teens and teens in the family will particularly enjoy it. It’s a show with a message too: it’s tough to be a parent or a teenager these days so tolerance for either is important. The crisp performances and the enchanting production numbers equal a delightful nearly two hours (with an intermission). Get your tickets today!
At the Cape Cod Theatre Company/Harwich Junior Theatre
Through March 17
Information and reservations: 508-432-2002 ext. 2, www.capecodtheatrecompany.org