Disney’s musical remake of “Freaky Friday” will hit Disney Channel this summer. Cozi Zuehlsdorff (“Dolphin Tale”) and Heidi Blickenstaff (“The Little Mermaid” and “Something Rotten!” on Broadway, and the stage production of “Freaky Friday”) will star in the original movie.
The new TV adaptation will be more music-driven than the movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan was and will be much more like the hit stage production. The story is a classic body-swap comedy about a mother and daughter who spend a day in each other’s shoes. Disney Channel has set a premiere date for the event, which will air on August 10th on Disney Channel and will be available earlier on DisneyNOW (to verified users) and midnight on Disney Channel VOD.
Adam Bonnett, executive vice president, Original Programming, Disney Channel, said, “This movie is a creative collaboration with our Theatrical colleagues who developed an original stage musical from a beloved story. Now we’ve added a fresh twist by adapting it again into a movie for kids and families – with Broadway talent on and off camera – that has the potential to be a classic ‘DCOM’ for years to come.”
Tom Kitt wrote the music and Brian Yorkey penned the lyrics for “Freaky Friday.” The Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning pair also collaborated on “If, Then” and “Next to Normal,” as well as the stage version of “Freaky Friday.” Eight songs from the stage production and two new songs, including one co-written by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, are performed in a theatrical pop-rock style by the cast.
The script, written by Bridget Carpenter (“11.22.63,” “Friday Night Lights,”), is based on her Disney Theatrical Production stage adaptation of the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers. The movie is directed by Steve Carr (“Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” “Daddy Daycare”) and executive produced by Thomas Schumacher, president and producer, Disney Theatrical Productions (“The Lion King”, “Aladdin” and “Frozen” on Broadway), Carr and Susan Cartsonis (“Deidra & Laney Rob a Train,” “What Women Want”).
In the movie, Blickenstaff playes Katherine Blake, a busy mother and a perfectionist who runs her own catering company and struggles to understand her teenage daughter. While refereeing endless bickering between Ellie and her younger brother Fletcher, Katherine is carefully planning every single detail of her impending wedding to her fiancé and calming influence, Mike.
Zuehlsdorff plays Katherine’s 16-year-old daughter Ellie in the film, who’s attempting to assert her independence from the mother who she perceives wants her to be perfect. She’s also struggling to accept her father’s death five years ago and the fact that her mom is now getting remarried. As a result, Ellie’s school attendance and grades are suffering.
A confrontation rises when Katherine won’t allow Ellie to join “The Hunt,” an epic all-night scavenger quest organized by her crush Adam. Upon wishing the other would change their ways, mother and daughter magically swap bodies through the magical power of an hourglass that Ellie received from her father – a treasured gift which is then accidentally shattered. Now, they must hunt down the matching hourglass that Katherine’s late husband gave her in order to swap bodies back to their true selves. First, the two must spend the day literally in each other’s shoes, because Ellie needs to get to school or she’ll face suspension and Katherine has an important magazine interview, to promote her catering business, and her engagement party, which can’t be missed.
Also starring in “Freaky Friday” are Ricky He as Ellie’s friend Adam, Alex Désert (“Let it Shine”) as Mike and Disney Channel star Jason Maybaum (“Raven’s Home”) as Fletcher. Kahyun Kim (“Austin & Ally”) plays Torrey, Katherine’s high-strung business associate; Dara Reneé is Ellie’s mean girl classmate, Savannah; Jennifer Laporte and Isaiah Lehtinen are Ellie’s best friends Monica and Karl, respectively; and Sarah Willey (also known as Marlowe Percival) plays Savannah’s friend Kitty.
The movie’s musical highlights include “Just One Day,” a duet by Katherine and Ellie that reveals the distance they feel between each other; “I Got This,” when Katherine and Ellie start their crazy day in each other’s shoes; “Oh Biology,” a song about the changes experienced by adolescents; “Go!,” a fun and fast-moving ensemble number that unfolds during the exciting competition of “The Hunt”; and “At Last It’s Me,” an original pop song performed by Zuehlsdorff.
Tony nominee John Carrafa’s (“Into the Woods,” “Urinetown”) spirited and creative choreography incorporates everyday action and movement, turning ordinary moments into realistic “motion of life” musical sequences.
Emmy nominee David Lawrence (“Descendants,” “High School Musical”) composed the score. Perry Andelin Blake (“Middle School – the Worst Years of My Life,” “The Wedding Singer”) is the production designer. Academy Award winner Angus Strathie (“Moulin Rouge!,” “Deadpool”) is the costume designer.