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Freaky Friday

a Musical Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Bridget Carpenter (book) and Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey (songs)

COMPANY : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
ID# 5253

SHOWING : March 09, 2018 - April 22, 2018

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

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 based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers and the two hit Disney movies, is a hilarious and heartfelt update of an American classic in which a mother and daughter really see what it takes to be a family when they experience each other’s lives first-hand for just one freaky Friday.

With a score by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composers of "Next to Normal" and "If/Then" and a book from the writer of TV’s "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood," "Freaky Friday" is a delightfully entertaining new musical for anyone with a perfectly imperfect family.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Heidi Cline
Katherine Blake Jennifer Acker
Savannah, Alexandra Randi Garza
Grandma Gordon, Senora O’Brien, Gretch Jill Hames
Ellie Blake Abby Holland
Laurel/Ensemble Amy L. Levin
Adam Christian Magby
Fletcher Joseph Masson
Grandpa Gordon, Mr. Blumen, Dr. Ehrin, W Jeff McKerley
Cast Brittani Minnieweather
Parker, Pastor Bruno, Mr. Luckenbill Juan Carlos Unzueta
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REVIEWS

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Geeky Guy Day
by playgoer
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
4.0
The latest version of "Freaky Friday" (soon to be a TV movie) purports to be an updated version to connect to today’s youth. Its plot certainly doesn’t seem much updated, with an old-fashioned treasure hunt right at the center of the story, even though cellphones are used to transmit clues. It’s the rock music score that updates it, but in a way that seems aimed to be wholesome and palatable for the whole family. The Disney touch is definitely there.

For Horizon’s production, Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay have created one of their monumental sets, backed by the suggestion of a Chicago skyline and a huge, non-operational clock. A revolving section up center contains kitchen items on one side that, when augmented by a trio of rolling counters arranged in a "V," portrays a kitchen. When the section revolves, other locations are indicated. The counters are also rearranged to portray various other places. A pull-out stairway up right allows access to a second level of locations (as does a fixed, steep stair ladder stage left). Kathryn Muse’s extensive props help populate these varied locations.

Cole Spivia’s costumes set the time period as today, while George Deavours’ wigs underline the fact that this is a theatrical production, not real life. André Allen’s lighting design illuminates portions of the stage as needed and provides special effects to accompany the magical elements of the plot. Alan Kirkland’s sound design keeps Alli Lingenfelter’s four-piece band in balance with the powerful vocals. It all combines to create a sprightly, swift-moving show.

Heidi Cline McKerley keeps the pace up, both as director and as co-choreographer with her husband Jeff. She has cast the show with an Ellie (Abby Holland) who looks older than a teen and a Katherine (Jennifer Alice Acker) who doesn’t look old enough to be her mother. Rather than working as a detriment in the show, though, this casting works wonderfully well to accommodate the body-switching that forms the basis of the story. Ms. Holland’s powerhouse voice works well both as a teen and as a more mature woman, while Ms. Acker’s body language as an adult becomes delightfully free and slouchy as a teen.

Supporting players in the cast also impress. Christian Magby uses his good looks and marvelous voice to full effect as a teen idol, and Randi Garza makes near-instantaneous transitions in look and demeanor between her two characters. Brittani Minnieweather also creates two distinct and distinctly memorable characters. Jeff McKerly and Jill Hames seem underused, even though they each take on five separate roles. Juan Carlos Unzueta takes on three, and does his usual good work in all of them.

The only cast member putting in a disappointing performance is Frank Faucette, as Katherine’s fiancé. His strong, impassive presence comes across as a human buzzkill, and it’s hard to root for the marriage that provides the ending of the show. His voice sometimes impresses and sometimes disappoints.

Overall, "Freaky Friday" makes for an enjoyable evening of entertainment showcasing some of Atlanta’s finest musical comedy talent. It’s not high art, but the performances of Ms. Holland and Ms. Acker will reverberate in memory long after the show is over. It’s geeky, freaky fun. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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