Disney’s stage musical adaptation of beloved title Freaky Friday made its world premiere last year at Virginia’s Signature Theatre, and it’s presently hitting the West Coast’s La Jolla Playhouse for a winter run. To whet your appetite for the adaptation of the classic novel-turned-movie-turned-movie-turned-movie, EW has an exclusive first listen to three tracks from the show’s upcoming album (set for release on Feb. 10).
The songs showcase Friday’s dual leading ladies, Broadway veterans Emma Hunton and Heidi Blickenstaff, as they rip through the score by Next to Normal Tony- and Pulitzer-winning pair Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. Friday Night Lights writer Bridget Carpenter has written the book, and the whole production is directed by Christopher Ashley. Presently, there are no plans to transfer the show to Broadway, but nevertheless the door is now wide open for licensing for professional, regional, and amateur productions around the country.
“Where I think this record especially is going to fit on the shelf next to Next to Normal and If/Then is that we try to write characters who sing for understandable reasons,” says Yorkey. “They sing when they’re at extremes of emotion, when they’re under real pressure and trying to work things out. I feel like that’s a thing that’s common across all of our shows: characters who are trying to figure out what the hell they’re going to do with their lives. And that certainly is the case of these two women who have switched bodies.”
“The performers on this album completely capture what it is we wanted to create with this show,” says Kitt. “They have such artistry and such a wide variety of colors that they use to tell the story. These are human artists who are doing something that they believe in, that they are passionate about. And it’s the greatest compliment that we creators can have — to watch them interpret our material and make it a living, breathing thing.”
Regarding the pair’s first Disney endeavor, Yorkey adds, “I’m in this business because of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. More than anything else that’s why I wanted to write songs. And to have songs on a record that will say Disney on it is…goosebumps.”
First up, the musical’s second song, “Just One Day,” kicks in after the prologue and introduces protagonist Ellie (Hunton); her mother, Katherine (Blickenstaff); and the folks who inhabit their world (primarily Ellie’s brother, Katherine’s fiancé, and her assistant Torrey). Freaky Friday goes down on the eve of Katherine’s wedding and a hotly anticipated scavenger hunt at Ellie’s school.
Eventually, Ellie and Katherine swap bodies (surely by now you know the very basic crux of this iconic 45-year-old plot, right?) and by track six — titled “Oh, Biology” — Katherine-as-Ellie is feeling the pressure of being a teen once again as her friends lay on pressure and a dissectible frog lies in waiting.
Fast forward to track number eight, “Busted,” wherein Katherine and Ellie both make startling discoveries about each other — involving tattoos and hidden cigarettes, respectively.
The rest of the plot and album we leave to you, when Freaky Friday debuts its original cast recording on Feb. 10. The physical album release is available on March 17.