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New Disney Musical Freaky Friday Puts a Contemporary Spin on a Beloved Classic

Posted March 29, 2017 in Press Releases

Media contact:
Kelly Luecke
(216) 712-6292

The New Disney Musical
Freaky Friday
Puts a Contemporary Spin on a Beloved Classic
April 15 – May 20 in the Allen Theatre

Media Night is Friday, April 21 at 8:00 p.m.

CLEVELAND, OH (March 29, 2017) Cleveland Play House will close out their 2016-17 season with the joyful new musical romp, Freaky Friday. Based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers which spawned two hit Disney films, Freaky Friday tells the story of a mother and daughter who magically swap bodies for 24 chaotic hours. The contemporary update of this American classic includes a hilarious new book by Bridget Carpenter (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights), and a pop-rock score by Tony Award® and Pulitzer Prize winners Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal, If/Then). Directed by Christopher Ashley, Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse, it has been hailed as “a polished, peppy, modern fairy tale” by The Washington Post. With high-energy choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Memphis, Jersey Boys), this vivacious production is “delightfully spunky” with “timeless appeal” (Variety).

Cleveland Play House is grateful for the support of Freaky Friday’s presenting sponsor K&D, and the Kulas Foundation. Due to high audience demand, Freaky Friday will have an extended run in the Allen Theatre April 15 – May 20. Freaky Friday will also serve as the centerpiece production of Cleveland Play House’s 2017 New Ground Theatre Festival, sponsored by Ohio Savings Bank, a division of New York Community Bank.

CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley states: “Audiences will have a ball with this dynamic new musical, which has been adapted for the stage by some of the top creative minds in the musical theatre industry. While ripe for comedy, the storyline also focuses on empathy and what it’s like to see the world from somebody else’s perspective, and to literally stand in their shoes. I know that this sensational new musical will go on to have an incredible life in theatres all over the world, and I am thrilled that Cleveland audiences will have the opportunity to say they ‘saw it first,’ right here at Cleveland Play House.”

Please note that Freaky Friday contains some teen themes.

Freaky Friday Cast

HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF (Katherine) Ms. Blickenstaff appeared on Broadway in Something Rotten! (Bea Bottom, Outer Critics nomination), [title of show] (original creative team and cast), The Addams Family (Alice Beineke), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Ursula), and The Full Monty. Other New York credits include The Most Happy Fella (Cleo) at City Center’s Encores! and Now. Here. This. and [title of show] at The Vineyard Theatre. Her regional credits include Next to Normal (Diana) at Weston Playhouse, Elf (Emily Hobbs) at Paper Mill Playhouse, Dog and Pony (Jane/Bonnie) at The Old Globe, First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb at The Kennedy Center and Meet John Doe (Ann Mitchell, Helen Hayes Award) at Ford’s Theatre. TV credits: PBS: First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb. Education: Duke University.

EMMA HUNTON (Ellie) Ms. Hunton’s Broadway cred­its include Spring Awakening and Next to Normal. She appeared Off-Broadway in RENT and in the national tours of Wicked, Next to Normal and Les Misérables. Her regional credits include Cruel Intentions, The Big Lebowski, Clueless at Rockwell.

JEANNETTE BAYARDELLE (Ms. Meyers/Journalist/Officer Sitz/Ensemble)
TOMMY BILCZO (Understudy: Fletcher)
EEAN COCHRAN (Parker/Ensemble)
JOSEPH DELLGER (Grandpa George/Mr. Blumen/Señor O’Brien/Ensemble)
JESSIE HOOKER (Savannah/Ensemble)
STORM LEVER (Ensemble/Understudy: Torrey/Savannah/Gretchen/Hannah)
MARY JO McCONNELL (Grandma Helene/Mrs. Luckenbill/Mrs. Time/Ensemble)
HOLLY MOSS (Swing/Understudy: Officer Sitz/Mrs. Luckenbill/Mrs. Time)
TONY NEIDENBACH (Adam/Parker/Wells/Photographer)
JENNAFER NEWBERRY (Gretchen/Ensemble)
JULIAN RAMOS (Wells/Photographer/Ensemble)
JERMAINE R. REMBERT (Swing/Understudy: Mr. Blumen/ Señor O’Brien/Mike/Pastor Bruno/Dr. Ehrin/Officer Kowalski/Journalist)
ALET TAYLOR (Torrey/Ensemble/Understudy: Katherine)
JASON SWEETTOOTH WILLIAMS (Pastor Bruno/Dr. Ehrin/Officer Kowalski/Ensemble/Understudy: Grandpa George/Ms. Meyers)
SUMI YU (Hannah/Ensemble/Understudy: Ellie)

For a complete list of cast bios, please visit

Freaky Friday Creative Team

BRIDGET CARPENTER (Book) A television writer, producer and playwright, Bridget Carpenter cre­ated the event series 11.22.63 for Bad Robot based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, which debuted on Hulu February 15, 2016 and has been nominated for a WGA award. Prior to 11.22.63, she wrote and co-executive produced all five seasons of the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning series Friday Night Lights. She also was a co-executive producer on Parenthood, and most recently, was executive producer/showrunner of Sundance Channel’s drama series The Red Road. Carpenter’s plays have been produced by Steppenwolf Theatre, the Public Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and many other theaters across the country. She has written several songs for film, including “Basmati Blues” and “Dear Dumb Diary.” Carpenter received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Princess Grace Award, the Kesselring Prize and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She also received Emmy and WGA nominations for Friday Night Lights. Her plays Fall, Up and The Faculty Room are published by Samuel French. Carpenter is an alum of New Dramatists.

TOM KITT (Music/Co-Orchestrations/Co-Vocal Arrangements/Dance & Incidental Arrangements) received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as two Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations for Next to Normal. His music for Next to Normal also received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Score. He is also the composer of If/Then (Tony Nom., Outer Critics Nom.); High Fidelity (Broadway); Bring it On, The Musical (co-composer with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Broadway); The Winter’s Tale, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Cymbeline (The Public’s NYSF); From Up Here and The Madrid (MTC); Orphans (Broadway) and The Retributionists (Playwrights Horizons). Mr. Kitt was responsible for the music supervision, arrange­ments and orchestrations for Grease Live!; Green Day’s American Idiot on Broadway and most recently, The SpongeBob Musical’s pre-Broadway engagement in Chicago. His work with Green Day also includes addi­tional arrangements for their Grammy Award-winning album 21st Century Breakdown and their album trilogy, ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré!. He received an Emmy Award as co-writer (with Lin-Manuel Miranda) for the 2013 Tony Award opening number, Bigger. Other Television Songwriting credits include a musical episode of Royal Pains, and songs for Penny Dreadful, and Sesame Street. As a musical director, conductor, arranger and orchestrator, credits include Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2, 2Cellos featuring Lang (Live and Let Die), The Kennedy Center Honors, 13, Debbie Does Dallas, Everyday Rapture, Hair, Laugh Whore, Pippin (Deaf West), and These Paper Bullets.

BRIAN YORKEY (Lyrics) received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the 2009 Tony Award for Best Score, for Next to Normal. He was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Next to Normal, and his work on the show earned him the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Score. He part­nered again with the Next to Normal team on If/Then (Tony Award nominee for Best Score), starring Idina Menzel. Brian co-wrote the libretto for The Last Ship (Outer Critics nomination, with John Logan), with a score by Sting. He is currently working on the original musical Jesus in My Bedroom, with composer Tim Symons, as well as stage musical adaptations of Magic Mike and the Tom McCarthy film The Visitor. He adapted Jay Asher’s bestselling novel 13 Reasons Why for Netflix, Paramount Television and Anonymous Content, launching on Netflix this March. Additional theatre credits include Making Tracks, which has played off-Broadway and regional­ly, the musical adaptation of Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet, and the play Book of Jobs with Alex Glover. Brian has directed off-Broadway and region­ally and for seven years was associate artistic director at Village Theatre in Washington state, one of the nation’s leading producers of new musicals. He’s a graduate of Columbia University, where he was artistic director of the Varsity Show, an alum of the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the WGA.

CHRISTOPHER ASHLEY (Director) has served as Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse since October, 2007. During his tenure, he has helmed the Playhouse’s productions of Hollywood, Come From Away, Chasing the Song, His Girl Friday, Glengarry Glen Ross, A Dram of Drummhicit, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Restoration, Xanadu and Memphis, which won four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical. He also spearheaded the Playhouse’s Without Walls (WoW) series and the Resident Theatre program. Prior to joining the Playhouse, he directed the Broadway productions of Xanadu (Drama Desk nomination), All Shook Up and The Rocky Horror Show (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), as well as the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration productions of Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along. Other New York credits include: Blown Sideways Through Life, Jeffrey (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards), The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Valhalla, Regrets Only, Wonder of the World, Communicating Doors, Bunny, The Night Hank Williams Died and Fires in the Mirror (Lucille Lortel Award), among others. Mr. Ashley also directed the feature films Jeffrey and Lucky Stiff, as well as the American Playhouse produc­tion of Blown Sideways Through Life for PBS. Mr. Ashley is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award, the Drama League Director Fellowship, and an NEA/TCG Director Fellowship.

SERGIO TRUJILLO (Choreographer) Broadway: A Bronx Tale, On Your Feet (Tony Award nominee, Outer Critics Circle/Astaire Award), Best Musical Tony Award Winner Memphis, (Olivier/OCC Award, Drama Desk/Astaire Award nominations), Tony/Olivier Award-winning Jersey Boys (OCC/Greenroom/Dora Awards, Drama Desk nomination), Addams Family, Next to Normal, Hands on a Hardbody (Drama Desk nomination), Leap of Faith, Guys and Dolls (Astaire Awards nomination), All Shook Up. Other theatre: Freaky Friday (Signature Theatre), Invisible Thread (Second Stage), Flashdance (National Tour). International: Tarzan (Disney), Peggy Sue Got Married (West End), The Sound of Music and West Side Story (Stratford Festival). Upcoming: Arrabal (ART), The Donna Summer Project (La Jolla Playhouse), The Detroit Project (Berkeley Repertory Theatre).

The Design Team for Freaky Friday also includes: BRYAN PERRI (Music Supervisor), ANDREW GRAHAM (Music Director/Conductor), MICHAEL STAROBIN (Co-Orchestrations), CARMEL DEAN (Co-Vocal Arrangements), BEOWULF BORITT (Scenic Designer), EMILY REBHOLZ (Costume Designer), HOWELL BINKLEY (Lighting Designer), KAI HARADA (Co-Sound Designer), BRIAN RONAN (Co-Sound Designer), and WIGS AND WHISKERS (Wig Master). The Stage Manager for this production is CRISTINE ANNE REYNOLDS and the Assistant Stage Manager is JULIANNE MENASSIAN.

For a complete list of creative team bios, please visit

Freaky Friday Inside CPH Events – All FREE

Behind-the-Scenes: All for One! One for All!
Monday, April 17 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
An “ensemble” can be a well put-together outfit, a musical quartet, or any type of team working as one. In Disney’s Freaky Friday, our acting ensemble includes some amazing “triple threat” (acting, singing, and dancing) talent. Meet members of the cast of this new musical based on the hit books and Disney films as they discuss what it’s like to work, live, and travel together as a family of artists and the process of developing new material for the stage. All together now… one, and two…

Sunday, April 23 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 25 from 9:30 – 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 30 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Stay after the show to continue the conversation our plays start! TalkBacks are regularly scheduled for patrons as an opportunity to delve deeper into the experience with the artists.

Pre-Show Conversations begin 45 minutes prior to the start of each performance.

Production photos are available at

Ticket Information

Freaky Friday will take place in the Allen Theatre from April 15 – May 20. Tickets range in price from $25 – $110 each. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.

Cleveland Play House, recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award® and founded in 1915, is America’s first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate, and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the-art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.

The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Cleveland Play House with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. We also thank the residents of Cuyahoga County for supporting Cleveland Play House through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

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