Temecula Performing Arts Company Artistic Director Jillian Stones has a connection to “Disney’s Freaky Friday the Musical,” opening Friday, Nov. 8, at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.
“I’ve always loved this story,” she said. “I read the book and saw the original Disney film starring Jodie Foster on the big screen. Then as a mom, I saw the remake with my daughter. When the musical premiered at La Jolla Playhouse, I took a large group of parents, kids and my creative team to see it. We became very excited and eagerly awaited the release of the show for production.”
The story depicts an overworked mother and her teenage daughter who magically swap bodies – then they have just one day to put things right again.
“It’s a fun premise, the notion of spending a day in your teenager/parents’ shoes,” Stones said.
Temecula Performing Arts Company has double-cast the production and features performances by Trinity Curtis and Taylor Pigeon as Ellie Blake and Holli Schwenk and Sarah Cook as Katherine Blake in the lead actor roles.
Fletcher Blake will be played by Charlie Cole and Kellen Bradford, Mike by Kit Fugrad, Torrey by Shannon Duane and Adam by Kio Arscott.
“The cast is a blend of teens and adults,” Stones said. “We have adults playing the grown-up roles and teens playing, well, teens.
“We also have the amazing Shelley Courchaine in the featured role of Ms. Meyers the gym teacher. Shelley’s vocals are incredible and her portrayal of a high school gym teacher is spot-on,” she said.
Stones listed some of the things she loves about the production.
“I absolutely love the score,” she said. “It’s by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, of ‘Next to Normal,’ ‘Almost Famous.’ The music is catchy and fun with a couple of sentimental pieces. I really like the scenes within the school, especially the counselor’s office – it’s downright hilarious.
Some of the highlights, according to Stones include “the hunt, which is a crazy scavenger hunt that is intertwined with what’s happening back at home. And ‘oh biology’ where they are dissecting a frog in class and Katherine gets paired with Ellie’s crush, Adam.”
Stones said the production is suitable for all ages and everyone will enjoy it.
“The whole show is fun and relatable for pretty much everyone especially pre-teens through adults,” she said. “They should come. It’s a different sort of musical. It’s current and real, although the premise is definitely a modern fairytale.”
Stones talked about the challenges the whole company endured early on as the production got off to a difficult start.
“We have had many challenges this time around,” Stones said. “We had two unexpected deaths amongst our TPAC team. One was choreographer Brooke Morris, and the other was April Carlson, one of our talented scenic artists who also handled merchandising. She was also the wife of our technical director, Jeff Carlson.”
Stones said losing those two talented members of the team brought great sorrow to the company, but the theater community stepped up to help.
“We are so blessed to have people come together to help us,” she said. “Working without a technical director is difficult. I had to bid out the set design and construction last minute and find a choreographer. In the meanwhile, Beverly Stevenson came in and staged two musical numbers to help us stay on schedule. We were very lucky to have choreographer Chelsea Nicole Lapp come on to finish the choreography as well as blend the numbers to look seamless.”
The musical director for this production is Charles Finn, stage manager is Selena Coulter, costuming and props are by Cindy Hayley, set design is by Designs by King and light design is by William Strawn.
“Disney’s Freaky Friday the Musical” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9, and Nov. 14-16, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 9-10, and Nov. 16-17, at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater, 42051 Main Street, in Temecula.
Tickets range in price from $15-25 and are available at the theater box office, by phone at (866) 653-8696 or online at www.tickets.temeculatheater.org.
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.