Review By Megan Wirts
Freaky Friday opened last weekend to a crowd of excited family members, friends and theater lovers last weekend at the Grant Fine Arts Center. If you missed it there will be three more shows this weekend: March 3rd at 7:00pm and March 4th at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. So don’t you worry, you too can experience the magic created on the beautiful stage at Grant Public Schools.
Freaky Friday is a familiar favorite. Originally a novel written by Mary Rodgers and adapted to the screen several times spanning many generations. Director Lukas Sweers said that the reason that this story has lasted so many years is because, “The relationship struggles between parents and children have not changed. What this story has always aimed to do is highlight the nuanced frustration that each generation faced and because of this generational divide, every audience member should be able to identify with someone on stage.” With his strong direction the students on this stage shine!
Speaking of the characters, the show is led by the magnificent Alaina Keelean and Deidre Kennedy. Both seniors at Grant High School, and their last high school musical, you don’t want to miss seeing them both completely wow the audience every night! It has been a joy to watch them grow and become the incredible actresses and vocalists they are now. Their futures are bright! Playing mother and daughter that switch bodies due to a magical hourglass, they had the crowd in tears from laughter from their comedic timing and their tender moments with each other and their family. Ellie just wants her mom to understand her and Katherine just wants her daughter to be her best self and they are not communicating well. Through this transformation they are allowed to spend a day in each other's literal shoes and come to an understanding that neither of them are perfect and both feel pressure in their lives and they truly love each other. Alaina plays Ellie, the teenage daughter of Katherine, played by Deidre. Their acting chops and vocal abilities blew me away and I felt like a proud mama sitting in the audience watching in awe. I could listen to both of them sing all day long and I would never tire of it. I loved the bluesy “Bring My Baby (Brother) Home”, their vocal acrobats and power was impressive. You will tear up while Deidre tenderly sings “After All of This and Everything” and will be feeling the power when Alaina busts out “No More Fear”. Bravo!
You can’t have a high school musical without a love interest. Bobby Johnson plays Ellie’s crush, Adam and “list master” of an extravagant scavenger hunt happening on the night of Katherine’s wedding rehearsal dinner. Bobby is not a stranger to the stage and they were an awesome addition to this cast. They played the cool heat throb Adam excellently and I loved them during “Women and Sandwiches”. I especially loved their entrances, you must see this show to know what I am talking about, but you will love it too. Then there is Gabe Malone, who plays Mike, Katherine’s doting fiancee. Gabe has the voice of an angel and his solo song “Vows'' will have you saying “wow” and giggling a little.
The cast was filled with familiar faces like the incredibly talented Gracey Koogler as Torrey who is a vocal powerhouse and absolute joy to watch, and Julia Simon as Savannah, who played the best mean girl. Just so you know, Julia is very sweet in real life. There are also many new faces, like the talented 8th grader Padrick Metz as Fletcher, Ellie’s puppet loving little brother, who brings some comedy and sweetness to the show. The large ensemble numbers like “Oh Biology” and “Watch Your Back” (Lead by the impressive Emerson Mayra as the gym teacher Ms. Meyers) were so much fun to watch with fun dance numbers and lots of laughs! Everyone on that stage was an integral part in making this show a success.
Not only do the kids you see on stage work hard, but those in the back are working just as hard. They keep the show running, build the sets, keep the lights on, play beautiful music and allow us to hear the actors on stage. Without the crew and the pit, a show could not happen. Congratulations to all of you on your efforts behind the scenes!
It is such a joy to see these students finding themselves through theater. I have seen shy young kids completely transform into confident young adults on that stage. The theater is a wonderful place to learn teamwork and form lifelong friendships. Thank you so much to people like Lukas Sweers and Philip DeYoung (Our new GHS Band Director who directed the pit.), for showing these students that if you work hard, you can have incredible results.
I hope that you will find the time to support this incredible group of hard working students and get tickets to see this show! You can find them at https://grantfac.booktix.com/ or they can be purchased at the box office an hour before show time. Performances are at the Grant Fine Arts Center on March 3 at 7:00pm, March 4 at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors and $10 for adults.
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