This August, Disney Channel is airing “Freaky Friday” the Musical, starring Heidi Blickenstaff and Cozi Zuehlsdorff. The beloved story between mother and daughter, featuring a magical body-swap has been brought to screens since Disney’s creation in 1976, However, this year, Disney has added a musical twist to the classic. The music, written by Tom Kitt and Bryan Yorkey offers an upbeat tune for mothers, daughters and everybody around the world to add to their playlists.
“Even though it is an honor to get to do a property that is so beloved, I think our stab is pretty new,” Blickenstaff said.
A plot as unorthodox as a body-swap between two characters requires off-set preparation, such as mannerism meetings with the goal of creating characters as synchronized as possible. The collaborative nature of the behind-the-scenes work done to perfect both roles makes for a unique performance that is seldom accomplished.
“It is a very unusual thing to share two roles with another actor. Usually, as an actor, you are solely responsible for one character, and in this situation, we are both responsible for both,” Blickenstaff said. “So it is incredibly collaborative and incredibly fun because we both wanted to serve the characters in a great way and give the characters continuity.”
The body swap between mother and daughter offers a relatable storyline that parents and children worldwide can resonate with, along with an important body-positivity message. The character of the teenager Ellie Blake starts off the movie as an insecure high schooler and throughout the story, as Ellie learns to appreciate her mother (Katherine), she comes to learn the importance of loving herself, as well as Katherine comes to realize that her daughter needs to hear as much appreciation from her as she does scoldings.
“When you meet my character in the beginning, she’s wearing really baggy clothes because she doesn’t really feel so good in her own skin,” Zuehlsdorff said. “Which I feel like every teenager can relate to… We all feel self-conscious sometimes.”
With messages from self-acceptance to child-parent rivalry, many watchers worldwide can find a relatable message behind the classic story of “Freaky Friday.” Although children are the main audience to enjoy Disney Channel original movies, this tale offers an eye-opening plot which the entire family of all ages can resonate with and sing along to on Disney Channel, Aug. 10th.
“It’s kind of like the press that you would hear from ‘Lady Bird,’ how if you sit down and watch it with your mom, you’re going to fall apart and hug each other right when it’s over — it’s the same kind of situation,” Zuehlsdorff said. “I think it’s really going to speak to people who are in high school and beyond.”