LET’S REVIEW: Freaky Friday makes for family fun at La Jolla Playhouse

Emma Hunton and Heidi Blickenstaff star in 'Freaky Friday' at La Jolla Playhouse.
(Jim Carmody)

The 1976 comedy film version of “Freaky Friday” was nominated for three Golden Globes — for Best Actresses Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris, and Best Original Song.

All the music, humor, fantasy and family film elements that made it a favorite are captured onstage in La Jolla Playhouse’s production of Disney’s “Freaky Friday,” book by Bridget Carpenter, music and lyrics by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, and directed by Christopher Ashley.

Ashley’s casting was perfect. Heidi Blickenstaff portrays Katherine, mother of daughter Ellie (Emma Hunton) and son Fletcher (Jake Heston Miller). Katherine is about to marry Mike (David Jennings), and the kids are not very happy about it.

While Katherine and Ellie are having a discussion about family members and recent events, an hourglass being held between them magically switches their personalities. Katherine is now feeling and thinking like Ellie, and vice-versa.

For Katherine, this is an overwhelming incident at one of the most important times in her life. Yet Blickenstaff brings laugh after laugh to her character when people — especially Ellie’s friends and male admirer Adam (Chris Ramirez) — actually engage her in conversation.

Likewise, Ellie is now speaking and thinking like her mom, which is a problem when she is around friends and making plans. The young Jake Heston Miller does a good job as son and brother Fletcher and trying to figure out what’s going on.

The production has captured all the magic of Mary Rodgers’ original novel, and the wonderful singing talents of the cast provide laughs and great entertainment for the entire family.

IF YOU GO: “Freaky Friday” is on stage through March 19, in the Mandell Weiss Theatre at La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive on the UC San Diego campus. Tickets start at $20. (858) 550-1010.