'Freaky Friday'

Ellie, played by senior Jenna Kaiser, and Katherine, played by senior Regan Elias, are a mother and daughter at odds until a freak accident causes them to switch bodies for a day in the Disney musical comedy “Freaky Friday,” which opens this weekend at Providence High School.

CLARKSVILLE —“You just don’t understand!” is a common statement teenagers say to their parents — and vice versa. “Freaky Friday” — the musical by Disney — gives one rebellious teenage girl and her stressed-out mom the chance to understand what the other is going through when they accidentally switch bodies for a day.

Performed for the first time locally, the Providence High School musical opens Friday in the Robinson Performing Arts Center. The comedy shows how Katherine and her daughter, Ellie, cope with the switch.

Senior Regan Elias, who plays Katherine, said she truly enjoys her role because she gets to “play such contrasting parts in the same musical.”

Senior Jenna Kaiser, who portrays Ellie, said she enjoys the “dynamic of switching between the teen and adult,” a feat accomplished by the actresses adjusting their body language.

Portraying the switch is harder than it sounds, Regan said.

“You have to take the mind of two different people and different stances and different body language as a whole because you are two very different people,” Regan said. “Going from an uptight mom who is stressed beyond belief to a teenager who hates everything — in a split second — is definitely very challenging.”

Jenna said she found it a little easier to portray each character because she sees herself as somewhere in between the two, so she can understand both.

“I can relate to the teenager, but she’s really rebellious, and I’m not,” Jenna said. “I can relate to the mom’s following the rules and doing what’s right, too.”

The comedy ensues as other characters interact with Katherine and Ellie and have no idea the mother and daughter have switched bodies, said sophomore Kieran Kelly, who plays Mike, Katherine’s fiancé. Mike is confused when his fiancé suddenly no longer likes him, and her daughter, who previously couldn’t stand him, is now nice to him.

“It’s odd because they are about to get married,” Kieran said of Mike and Katherine.

Junior Luke Rodski’s character, Adam, is Ellie’s boyfriend, and he undergoes similar confusion. Luke said audiences will find the show “intensely funny” and looks forward to putting on a show that is brand new to the area.

While there are a lot of laughs, there are some tender moments too. Regan’s favorite solo is “After All This and Everything,” which she sings to Katherine’s sleeping son/Ellie’s brother while portraying the daughter.

“He has just come home after trying to run away,” Regan said. “I tell him about all the things I’ve learned from my 16 years on the earth, and I begin sing-ranting about all the bad and good I went through and how our family will get through whatever is thrown at us. It is a very touching scene and one of my favorites.”

Jenna said the music and dancing are her favorite parts. She’s been taking dance her whole life, so she really enjoys “combining the musical aspect with acting. Adding the music helps give it a lot more meaning and drives the points across.”

Director Ellen Holifield is excited for the show to open and said it is one of her favorites because the set is so colorful and the music is so fun.

‘“Freaky Friday’ is a vibrant, energetic show and it is so exciting to be the first in the area to produce it,” Holifield said. “The students are excellent at bringing the characters to life, executing the music and choreography, and capturing the messages within it. Audiences young and old are sure to enjoy it.”

Freaky Friday opens Friday, March 1, with premiere night, which includes a preshow reception at 6:30 p.m. in the Koetter Gym and the show at 7:30 in the Robinson Performing Arts Center for $40. All other performances are $15 for adults and $10 for students through grade eight. Student tickets are only available by phone or in person. On March 2, 8, and 9, the show times are 7 p.m. On March 3 and 10, the show times are at 2 p.m.

Tickets may be purchased online on the school website, www.providencehigh.net, by clicking on the orange Buy Tickets link or by calling 812-945-2538 ext. 301. They may also be purchased at the box office prior to each show.

— SUBMITTED

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