Colonial Players’ “Freaky Friday” Is Seriously Hilarious
Hilarious fucking! Two years after it opened, the Colonial Players finally began a series of Disney’s stage version of weird friday – on a Friday night, of course – and it’s really hilarious. This gem of a musical, written by Bridget Carpenter with music and lyrics by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, successfully engaged, entertained and cracked up multi-generational audiences, ages 9-99, in the theater in the round. The show, directed by Ron Giddings, immediately immerses us in the world of Katherine (a stressed single mother about to remarry) and Ellie (her disgruntled and angsty teenage daughter). The stage magic involved in making the cast of 15 feel like 50 is truly exceptional. There’s so much to see, thanks in part to the choreography (Ron Giddings) and set design and decor (Lindsay Zetter), and the “Prologue/Just One Day” immediately puts you right in the middle of their fast-paced world. of today.
It’s almost unbelievable what happens during the two hours that the musical unfolds, a crazy adventure that begins from the second number, “The Switch”. Those who know the story will know what’s to come: mom and daughter switch bodies as if by magic and are appalled and in disbelief at the result. The acting feat required here is difficult, and both actresses pull it off seamlessly and believable, with impeccable comedic timing and delivery that only grows as the show goes on. In “I Got This”, Abbie Smith as Ellie shines. His musical ability and stage presence are an absolute pleasure to watch. Her voice is powerful and beautiful, and it dulls through her ever-changing facial expressions. Another strength of the show is the supporting cast. Reva Thompson as Torrey, Katherine’s assistant at her catering business, is perfect, and Kylie Airin Sjolie goes convincingly from bridal magazine reporter to activist PE teacher to police officer with a rising voice in every role.
The comic relief is near constant as the two spend a day in each other’s shoes, trying not to mess things up too much and find a missing magic hourglass so they can go back. A crowd favorite throughout the musical was Andrew Limansky as Adam, Ellie’s crush and the mastermind of a wild treasure hunt (“The Hunt”) who is the talk of the town. school.
There are several scenes that take place at Ellie’s school, the fictional Grover Cleveland High School, and these are a treat to watch, as Katherine-in-Ellie’s body takes on the queen bee Savannah, portrayed with perfect villainous energy by Alexandra Kuebler, and her unfortunate crush Adam. She dissects a real frog and her feelings for him in biology class during “Oh, Biology”. These familiar high school tropes are treated with sincerity and humor.
Jamie Erin Miller as Katherine nails the humor of a teenager inhabiting a mother’s body and world. She captures her daughter’s exasperation with precise body language – one can’t help but wonder if her day job as a school principal influenced some of her acting choices. Either way, she succeeds. terrible friday struck a perfect balance of well-executed solos, duets and ensemble numbers, as in “Busted,” a particularly memorable company number, where the audience is reminded that parents often keep as many secrets as their offspring.
The musical is riveting as the pressure mounts for Katherine and Ellie to find the hourglass, and Ellie, in Katherine’s body, brings her brother Fletcher (Miles Shulman) home, telling him “how it is” (” Parents Lie”), which elicits laughs and cringes, and causes him, another scene stealer in this cast full of scene stealers, to run away from home.
It is in act two that mother and daughter begin to understand each other and work as a team. A remarkable, surprisingly moving and touching number is “Bring My Baby (Brother) Home”, performed by Ellie, Katherine, Mike (an affable Brian Mellen) and the two police officers assigned to work on the missing child case.
Another touching scene is Ellie’s crush, Adam singing “Go”, which in addition to the strong vocals of Andrew Limansky, features direction, choreography and effects by Ron Giddings (direction, musical direction and choreography ) and Kyle Sullivan (special effects) to really make us feel like we’re witnessing a massive treasure hunt, even if it’s a small step.
The show’s final moments include excitement and tension as we learn who wins the hunt and how, or if, Kathrine and Mike will actually get married. We are treated to these two women coming to a better understanding of each other through their powerful duets, and they, and the entire cast, triumph. Like the Twinkies Katherine secretly indulges in, this show is a delight to watch and be swept away in for an evening of rowdy fun.
Duration: 2h10, with a 15 minute intermission.
terrible friday is played through May 15, 2023 at Colonial Players of Annapolis – 108 East Street, Annapolis, MD. For tickets ($23 regular; $18 student, senior, and military), call the box office at 410-268-7373 or purchase in line.
COVID safety: Face masks must be worn properly by everyone at all Colonial Players facilities at all times, regardless of vaccination status.
Produced by Jennifer Cooper; Lighting design by Wes Bedsworth; Sound design by Kaelynn Bedsworth. Property design by Lois Banscher and Kyle Sullivan; Costume design by Jennifer Cooper and Kathy Parrott.