Tuscarora High School
It's often been said that, "Before you judge a man, you must walk a mile in his shoes," and Loudoun Valley's Freaky Friday took this notion to the next level. After a teenager swaps bodies with her mother, the two begin to desperately search for a way to switch back, while learning about the stress of each other's day-to-day lives. With an amazing pit orchestra, wonderful actors, beautiful singing, brilliant lighting and special effects, and breathtaking sets, this show was a crowd pleaser Saturday night.
The hilarious new musical version of the fan favorite Freaky Friday by Pulitzer Prize winners Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey brings a new and fresh energy to the old classic. When rebellious teenager and controlling mother get into a heated argument, a magic spell makes them swap bodies. Follow along as the two take on each other's crazy lives in this hilarious comedy and desperately search for a way to swap back their bodies, and learn a heartwarming and valuable lesson in empathy.
In Loudoun Valley's production, talent, both on and off the stage, worked together to suspend the audience's disbelief through captivating songs and dances as well as brilliant lighting and incredibly artistic comic-book esque sets. All of these elements combined with the flawless orchestra, took the show to the next level.
Claire Trochlil, who played Ellie Blake, had an amazing voice with limitless range and unbelievable technique. Sophie Stapleton, who portrayed Katherine Blake, had impressive characterization as well as superb physicality. Going from one character to another in front of the audience's eyes is a difficult task, but these two talented actresses pulled it off beautifully. Adam, played by Bryan Ly, had excellent comedic timing as well as a fantastic voice. Francesca Fiorello, who wonderfully portrayed Fletcher, had top-notch characterization and body language, making the audience wonder if the actress was an actual high schooler or an extremely talented middle schooler that was too perfect to not cast.
The high school ensemble of Freaky Friday continuously impressed the audience with their limitless energy and stunning vocals. Jack Powell, who played soon-to-be husband Mike, was hilarious and had wonderful characterization. Genevieve Howley, who portrayed the stressed-out assistant Torrey, had amazing physicality that always made the audience laugh as well as a beautiful voice that made the audience smile.
The tech in this show was awe-inspiring. Lighting (Nick Tortora and Delaney Herr) was very well executed, and the special effects (Henry Trochlil and Sullivan Crooks) were extremely creative. The sets (Trevor Schoeny, Daniel Testa, and Malloch Henderson) were incredibly artistic and truly looked like a comic book. The props (Emily Simpson, Jane Delashmutt, Hope Billtoc, and Katie Hetey) were extremely realistic. Because of the amazing costume design (Victoria Wright, Abhirami Shankaran, and Karishma Kuhnke), the high school ensemble looked like real and stylish teenagers. The stage crew (Daniel Testa, Alyssa Lane, Jane Delashmutt) pulled of smooth and seamless transitions from scene to scene time and time again, and the stage manager (Lorien Kelso) did an amazing job of making sure that everyone and everything were where they needed to be. Something unique that sets Loudoun Valley's show apart from other schools's was its pit orchestra, which played flawlessly and joyously all night while not overpowering actors on stage.
Freaky Friday at Loudoun Valley High School will warm your heart and make you laugh out loud with its meaningful lesson in empathy and its body swapping mother daughter comedy team. With energetic comedy, excellent acting, extraordinary singing, outstanding orchestra, amazing sets, great special effects and choreography, what else could be better on aa "freaky" Friday night?
Stone Bridge High School
How can an uptight mother and an emotionally volatile daughter push past their disagreements and see life from each other's perspectives? According to Freaky Friday, switching bodies might help! Complete with twirling Biology class frogs, a crazily competitive scavenger hunt, and quite a few sandwiches, Loudoun Valley High School explored the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter in their hilarious, yet charming, production of Freaky Friday.
Freaky Friday the musical, adapted by Disney and written by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, premiered at the Signature Theater in 2016, and has since then been performed in theaters across the United States. The musical centers around a soon-to-be bride, Katherine, who is intent on having a perfect, cover story worthy wedding with her fiance, Mike. Her teenage daughter, Ellie, is opposed to the union, and wants to participate in an epic scavenger hunt (hosted by her selfie-crazed crush, Adam), instead of attending her mother's rehearsal dinner. Neither character gets what they wish for, however, when a freak accident involving a broken hourglass causes the duo to swap bodies.
Sophie Stapleton and Claire Trochlil, playing Katherine and Ellie, respectively, led the cast with stunning vocals and trained senses of physicality. Sophie's body language flipped like a switch when Katherine swapped bodies with her daughter, immediately taking on the diction and posture of a slouching, reckless teenager. Claire, on the other hand, conveyed the swap by becoming more purposeful and graceful with her movements, as well as blatantly butchering teenage slang. Both lead characters had captivating vocals, with Katherine rediscovering her sense of passion and spirit during "No More Fear," and Ellie showing her newfound understanding of her mother's life and sacrifices during "After All of This and Everything"
Adam (Bryan Ly), or rather, "Master of the Hunt," delivered each line with expert comedic timing, and could always be found snapping a selfie or basking in the attention of his many fans (when he wasn't coming up with sandwich-related analogies, of course). Torrey (Genevieve Howley) was the epitome of the frazzled assistant, stealing scenes with her developed, jaded sense of comedy. In addition, Ellie's brother Fletcher (Francesca Fiorello), expertly brought the perspective of an innocent child to the show with a squeaky voice and hand-made puppets.
Whenever the ensemble appeared onstage, whether it was as shouting high schoolers battling over an hourglass, or Biology students dancing and spinning their frog’s mid-dissection, they brought with them an incredible energy and sense of fun. Each featured character, from bubbly reporter Danielle (Emma York) to wrathful gym teacher Ms. Meyers (Liza Shourds) had unique and well-developed characterization, further contributing to the professionalism of each scene.
The hard-working cast members were supported by excellent technical effects. Each prop, from the giant hourglass with purple sand to the frogs mounted to cutting boards, was hand-made, yet still looked clean and professional. Fletcher's puppets, one with a teal and blue striped body, and the other with a star-shaped body and angry eyebrows, were as unique as the character and perfectly complemented Fletcher's childish jokes and voices.
The actors and actresses of Loudoun Valley High School put incredible energy and effort into their production of Freaky Friday, allowing for a fun and lighthearted show, which still illustrated an incredibly important message: you never truly know what someone else is going through until you walk a mile in their shoes.