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‘Freaky Friday’ at Horizon Theatre

2018 March 18

Following on the heels of Mary Rodgers’ best-selling 1972 children’s book “Freaky Friday,” which spawned two Disney movies, one starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan, comes the new musical “Freaky Friday.”

The play differs from the movie, but the premise remains. A teenage daughter, Ellie (Abby Holland), and her widowed mother, Katherine (Jennifer Alice Acker), both think the other has life so much easier and wish to trade places with the other for just one day. A magic spell makes it happen.

Katherine, in Ellie’s body, gets a first-hand look at high school life and goes weak at the knees over her daughter’s high school crush, Adam (Christian Magby). Ellie, in Katherine’s body, feels the opposite about her mom’s fiance, Mike (Frank Faucette), and averts his romantic moves by offering him fist bumps instead of kisses.

A live band plays the music, which hails from the Pulitzer Prize-winning composers of “Next to Normal” and “If/Then,” Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. The script was written by Bridget Carpenter, whose writing credits include “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood.”

My best friend from high school, J.P., who became a high school teacher enjoyed the show and said the students acted the way her students behaved. She and many other audience members seem to have fallen under the magic spell that switched mother and daughter.

J.P. said I didn’t fall under the spell because I can’t relate to high school, but that’s not true. I thought “Bring It On,” about two competing high school cheerleading teams, was one of the best musical plays I’ve seen on an Atlanta stage.

As for the musical “Freaky Friday,” I enjoyed a few fine performers in the cast of 19 actors, most of whom play multiple characters. Acker, Magby, Brittani Minnieweather, and Jill Hames stood out for their singing and acting, and Randi Garza and Jeff McKerley stood out for their acting.

Book by Bridget Carpenter, directed by Heidi Cline McKerley, “Freaky Friday” runs through April 22 at Horizon Theatre.

Other cast members:

Cat Catlin
Daniela Cobb
Miranda Dyer
Sloka Krishnan
Hannah Lake
Amy Levin
Joseph Masson
Shaun MacLean
Russell Scott
Juan Carlos Unzueta
Alexis Young

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