Review: “Freaky Friday” shows audiences “they got this”

Kathrine+%28Brynn+Ayoob%29+and+Torrey+%28Chloe+Montgomery%29+singing+near+a+large+cake+during+what+you+got+during+Woodsides+production+of+Freaky+Friday+on+Sunday%2C+March+13%2C+2022.+%28All+photo+captions+by+Spencer+Calsing+Lyons%29+

Photo by Cedrik von Briel

Kathrine (Brynn Ayoob) and Torrey (Chloe Montgomery) singing near a large cake during “what you got” during Woodside’s production of “Freaky Friday” on Sunday, March 13, 2022. (All photo captions by Spencer Calsing Lyons)

Spencer Calsing Lyons, Staff Writer

Woodside Theater has turned out hit after hit in recent years, and “Freaky Friday” hasn’t missed the mark this time around. 

Adapted from the Disney movie of the same name, “Freaky Friday” follows the story of a mother-daughter duo of Katherine and Elie Blake (Played by Brynn Ayoob and Amanda Marcos) accidentally swapping bodies using a magic hourglass the day before the mother’s wedding. Along the way, they get up to wacky hijinks and a bucketload of chaos as they try to return to their original bodies, both getting into trouble independently as each underestimates the effort it takes to complete the tasks of the other. This family friendly adventure is filled with a whole cast of exciting supporting characters including the mother’s fiancé, Mike (Rhett Pedrin), Elie’s little brother Fletcher (Kate Chernykh), and Elie’s school friends Gretchin (Alex Young) and Hannah (Gigi Pistilli). Together, the main duo goes through their day trying to find a way to return back to themselves, but if they are unable to find another hourglass, then they might be stuck in each other’s bodies forever.

Elie (Amanda Marcos) Gretchen (Alex Young) and Hannah (Gigi Pistilli) hanging out on the town. (Cedrik von Briel)

“Freaky Friday” was originally released in 2016 and written by Brian Yorkey for Disney with music done by Tom Kitt. Woodside Head of Drama Barry Woodruff outstandingly directed the play, with the brilliant William “Billy” Toles as music director. The musical was  produced by Karen Arimoto Peterson and Lupe Flores-Rubles and choreography which I found rather stunning was done by Kim Havarth. Other Important characters were; Nick Weppner as Adam whose presence on stage was wonderful, Chloe Mongomery as Torrey which played her character to absolute perfection, Paw Print editor-in-chief Amelie De Leon as magazine reporter Danielle, Owen Tienken as Grandpa Gordon – who made me really believe he was an old man, even though he is one year younger then me –  Annabelle Hopkins as Grandma Helen, who’s sarcastic wit was terrific, Carter Peck as Pastor Bruno, and Marcella Castellanos as Savanna who really pulled off the bully act. Out of the remaining and extraordinary cast, I must say the performances of Lola Pistilli and  Izzy Wynne blew me away with there performances.

Ms. Myers (Izzy Wynne) standing in front of students who are exercising during “watch your back”. (Cedrik von Briel)

To start off, the music and singing was great, especially paired with the background music from student orchestra members Sebastian Najbjerg, Jacob Neves, Lucas Ruoss, and George Ward, whose instrumental performances blew me away night after night. The wonderful percussion and strings made me infatuated with every song. The variety of their performances, from “Busted” to “Watch Your Back,” was incredible. The instrumentals fantastic performance elevated the singers even more, especially Ayoob and Marcos’ performances. In fact, every singer in the musical did excellently and sang with great gusto. Some standout songs have to be “Oh, Biology” early on (which still rings in my head), and “Bring My Baby (Brother) Home” just after intermission which encapsulated the heart of the story and changed up the musical syntax that the audience had been hearing for the whole show.

Audience members watch the music pit during intermission. (Cedrik von Briel)

The costume design was well done, and made me think I was in the right there with them in the Windy City of Chicago. I especially found the costume design of the students to be rather on-point for what I have seen of actual High-schoolers. The inclusion of actual Woodside swag really added to the realism in the gym scene. The set design was on point and minimalist. I never had trouble knowing where we were or when, as maneuverability of the simple set led to a distinct advantage for the stage crew (who need to be commended for their long hours last week in putting the show on the ground, as well as their awesome work during the actual show). I was in amazement at the way that the scenery was able to change with just a few levers and pulleys allowing for a wide range of environments that we saw, from the inner city streets of Chicago to the suburbs that surround it. `

Overall, the musical was an absolute success. I loved the characters, and every song showed exactly what the characters were feeling. The audience was always excited on both Friday and Sunday in which I saw it. I feel as though this musical will be seen as one of the Woodside greats, and I hope that more people come and see it for its second weekend. 

My overall score: 9/10 – a great return to form. 

Woodside’s production of ‘Freaky Friday’ will continue next weekend with shows at 7:00pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2:00pm on Sunday. See whsdramaboosters.org for more info