Pictured above: the cast and crew of Freaky Friday posing for a silly photo after a performance
By Lilianna DeBlasio
This spring, Hammond’s theater department developed and performed Freaky Friday: A New Musical for the Hammond community to see. The production was a huge success for the department and was loved by the audience, with many people going to the show multiple times to see it again. This musical, developed by Disney’s theatrical production team, is based on the famed book of the same name by Mary Rodgers and the three previous movie adaptations.
The show develops a plot from two people’s point of view; Katherine and Ellie, a mother and daughter duo who encounter a strange phenomenon. The day before Katherine is set to get married, she and her daughter get into an argument, resulting in the two switching bodies and having to live as each other for the remainder of the show. The musical explores parental relationships with teenagers and gives the audience a peek into each of the characters’ minds, using monologues and personalized solos to do so.
While the performances were outstanding, they didn’t come without any issues along the way. Senior cast member Marlee Hunter explains, “The main issue was when we were online for a period. It was definitely an adjustment, but we made it through and put together a great show!” The impressive cast and crew persevered through Covid-19 spikes and changing county guidelines to put on an amusing, witty, and overall impressive performance.
One thing that made this production so enjoyable was Hammond’s talented cast. The mother, Katherine Blake, was played by senior Marlee Hunter, whose exceptional acting and singing skills stood out to the audience. Hunter has been singing her whole life and starring in local productions since she was just four years old. While she has been in many Hammond shows before, she never held such a substantial role as the one of Katherine Blake. Much of the audience was blown away by her voice, shocked that they had never heard her before.
When asked of the experience, Hunter said “I really enjoyed the production of the show. Even during super stressful moments, it was still a very fun and creative process.” With this being her last ever highschool production, she couldn’t have asked for a better cast, crew, and production team.
Also blowing the crowd away was freshman Jenna Dodge, playing daughter Ellie Blake. Although Freaky Friday was her first Hammond Production, Jenna stood out to the crowd immediately with her astounding singing and acting skills. Despite her young age, she proved that “she’s got this”, and managed to bring her character to life and show the depth of her role as Ellie.
Along with the cast, the tech and stage crew were vital in the show’s success. From building and managing sets to preparing the stage and props during the show, the crew helped the show come to life before our eyes. The innovative set props and mood altering lights helped build the scene for the cast to work off of, emphasizing the skills of those on stage and the story that they were telling.
After the performances, the department went to celebrate, a rightfully earned occasion after the previous days of non-stop performing. Everyone involved in the show helped to make it what it was, a success. The story was well told from the cast, developed from the crew, and managed by the directors and stage managers, making it a show to remember. Even a month after the show, people are still talking about it, complementing the actors on their skills and the crew on their artisan sets.
Even though it was just a musical, it served a larger purpose, bringing the community together. The theater department as a whole grew closer and more understanding of each member, as they worked together throughout the production process and overcame the hardships together. On a bigger scale, the school and community rallied together to support their friends, peers, and even strangers, creating an environment that any student would be lucky to be a part of.