Freaky Friday: Humor and surprising depth

Missoula Community Theatre's season opener "strikes a chord with all ages" through Nov. 3

On Stage

What happens when a frazzled mom and her rebellious teenage daughter switch bodies? Find out in Missoula Community Theatre’s season opener, Disney’s “Freaky Friday,” Oct. 24-Nov. 3 at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts.

When a story is genuinely compelling, it contains the power to be retold in many different ways, and speak across generations. Such is the case with “Freaky Friday,” which has entertained families since the original book by Mary Rodgers was released in 1972, and in the two successful movies that followed.

Most people are probably familiar with the story: a frazzled mom and angst-ridden daughter magically switch bodies and lives for one day, which creates frustration for them and comedy for the audience.

But according to MCT director Joseph Martinez, the musical also offers surprising depth. “The story focuses on issues children and parents are going through and are afraid to tell anyone,” he says. “It’s a beautifully written script.”

Mom and daughter unexpectedly find compassion and respect for the other’s journey, and newer, more tender definitions of family grow and blossom.

Martinez also enjoys working with the youthful “Freaky Friday” cast. “The energy is amazing. They love what they’re doing,” he says. “The cast has really taken on the responsibility of telling this story.”

The enthusiasm the teen cast members infuse into the show is especially exhilarating, he notes. “It’s fun when you can have a cast of teenagers playing teenagers.”

He says it’s been an exciting, gratifying experience to see the “kids who have grown up learning in our children’s programs and then performing in the ensembles of our community theatre take on leads and carry a show. Seeing that growth is always invigorating.”

Martinez is confident that audiences will not only enjoy the story and musical score of Disney’s “Freaky Friday,” but that they will also discover some emotional resonance in the play. “It strikes chords with people on a heart level,” he says.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 24-Nov. 3. Tickets are available at, by calling 406-728-PLAY (7529), or at the MCT Box Office, which is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.