By Susan Nolan
Ask any woman and she will tell you: mothers and daughters have a complicated relationship. This statement lays at the heart of in The Colonial Players’ production of Freaky Friday, which opened last weekend.
This Disney-created musical is based on the 1972 Mary Rodgers novel, which was made into three films. It’s the story of widowed businesswoman Katherine Blake (Jamie Erin Miller) and her adolescent daughter Ellie (Abbie Smith). The pair are often at odds. Ellie sees Katherine as overbearing and bossy. Katherine wants Ellie to be less of a slacker. Each is convinced that the other has it easy—until they magically and accidentally swap bodies.
Can an overworked, over-stressed 40-something navigate the social intricacies and academic rigors of high school? Will a teenage girl collapse under the pressure of running a catering business while raising a family? More importantly, how can they fix this mess in time for Katherine’s wedding to the ever-patient Mike Riley (Brian Mellen)?
From the high-energy opening number to the heartwarming conclusion, this production is musical theater at its finest. The choreography is fun and flawlessly executed. The vocals are outstanding. Opening night concluded with a much-deserved standing ovation.
Under the direction of Ron Giddings, Miller and Smith lead an ensemble cast of veteran stage actors. Both leads deliver believable performances as characters trapped in the wrong bodies. They have the audience laughing, crying and rooting for them to the very end.
The supporting cast is superb. Reva Thompson shines as Katherine’s harried assistant, Torrey. Andrew Limansky delivers an outstanding performance as Ellie’s crush Adam. Miles Shulman plays little brother Fletcher with both tenderness and perfect comedic timing. Other cast members take on multiple roles switching from high school students to catering assistants, from grandparents to teachers, from police officers to reporters—and all are a pleasure to watch.
With a well-paced plot, relatable storyline, and catchy music, Freaky Friday is a multi-generational must-see. The two-act play has a 2-hour, 20-minute run time including a 15-minute intermission. Free parking at the Calvert Street garage. Masks are required.
SaSu 2pm, ThFSa 8pm, Colonial Players, Annapolis, $23 w/discounts, RSVP: thecolonialplayers.org.