Many are familiar with the story of Freaky Friday — a teen and her mom swap bodies for a day and grow closer after walking a mile in each other’s shoes – and have either seen the movies or read the book by Mary Rodgers.
In a song-filled iteration of the story, Reynolds Secondary School’s theatre department will be putting on virtual presentations of Freaky Friday The Musical at 7 p.m. on March 9, 10, 11 and 12.
The show features teen Ellie Blake (played by Grace Fouracre) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine (Nadia Lurie). An argument results in a magical hourglass being broken, causing the pair to switch bodies. The cast members sing and dance their way through the mishaps and bonding moments before recovering the hourglass which allow the pair to switch back.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the cast of 25 student actors, 17 musicians and a six-person stage crew will present their four performances via livestream.
The students have been preparing for the musical since the end of September but, because of the public health orders, things looked very different this year, explained band teacher and conductor Jamie Davis. In a normal year, the cast alone is comprised of 50 but due to the pandemic, the number of actors, musicians, crew, teachers and parent volunteers was capped at 50, masks had to be worn at all times and actors had to stay six feet apart. This meant fewer juniors were cast as it was the seniors’ final year to participate, he explained.
The 50-person limit also meant that some musicians had to play two instruments. Ethan McGrath, a Grade 11 student in the pit orchestra, will play both the alto and the tenor saxophone. Adapting to all the obstacles was a great learning experience because things don’t always go according to plan, he said.
The songs range from pop to funk to R&B and the scenes are “fun and funny,” said Sarah Terlesky, a Grade 12 student playing Katherine’s assistant, Torrey.
Fouracre and Lurie, both in Grade 12, switch characters partway through the musical to simulate the body swap – “It’s absolutely hilarious,” Davis explained.
The pair developed their characters’ mannerisms and found ways to portray a mother-daughter relationship without being able to touch. It was a challenge, but Fouracre focused on the positives – despite everything the pandemic took away, the musical allowed the students to come together and the virtual performance will allow them to bring joy to a wider audience.
“We’re feeling the lack of an audience but the camaraderie has doubled,” Davis said.
While the audience won’t be physically present, the virtual performance will allow folks around the world to tune in – including Lurie’s extended family in England.
Tickets are available online for $10 each at showtix4u.com.