By Daniel Lahr
Do you remember when you were a teenager and couldn’t wait for graduation day? I remember because I was finally going to be an adult and have freedom.
Now, as a father of two kids, I look at high schoolers today and I am reminded of the good old days when it was easy. Life experiences are what make us mature, and with that maturity comes a new perspective.
PCPA’s latest production of Disney’s “Freaky Friday” helps shine some light on all those perspectives, in musical form.
The stage musical of “Freaky Friday” is based on the 1972 novel by Mary Rodgers, the daughter of Richard Rogers of Rogers and Hammerstein, as well as the 1976 and 2003 Disney films. In all versions, mother and daughter magically trade bodies and, in the end, each one sees life from the other’s perspective and thus gains respectful insight into the other’s life.
This adaptation modernizes the timeline to connect with younger audiences through all aspects of the production, including the set design and musical score.
Another reason for its success is its appeal to both adults and kids. Molly Dobbs plays Ellie, the teenager who seems to magically (and very easily) trade places with her mother Katherine, played by Karin Hendricks. These two actresses do a fantastic job of acting like the opposite generation. You can easily see their mannerisms change when the transformation happens, all the while they are singing and dancing.
You didn’t see Jamie Lee Curtis or Lindsay Lohan spontaneously breaking into song in past film adaptations, but this musical adaptation debuted only a year ago. The songs themselves are enjoyable and the cast members sing their hearts out. The songs move the story along while delivering the emotional impact that only music can. You might even be humming a tune on the way to the car, but you will have forgotten it by the time you get home.
This is a solid production with plenty to amuse young and old alike. You’ll give the cast a standing ovation because they were just so fun to watch. If you’re looking for a unique Christmas present, give the experience of going to see a live show at PCPA this winter. Overall, I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
“Freaky Friday” runs through Dec. 23 at Marian Theatre in Santa Maria. For show times and tickets, log onto www.pcpa.org.