HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF AND EMMA HUNTON
Delightful Musical Comedy, Based on Beloved Novel and
The Walt Disney Motion Pictures, Features Book by
Bridget Carpenter, Music & Lyrics by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey,
Direction by Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley
La Jolla Playhouse announces the two lead roles for its upcoming production of Freaky Friday, book by Bridget Carpenter (TV’s “Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”), music and lyrics by the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning team of Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal, If/Then), based on the novel “Freaky Friday” by Mary Rodgers and the Walt Disney motion pictures, to be directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley, running January 31 – March 12, 2017 in the Playhouse’s Mandell Weiss Theatre.
Broadway veterans Heidi Blickenstaff (Broadway’s Something Rotten, [title of show]) and Emma Hunton (Broadway’s Spring Awakening, Next to Normal) will reprise their roles from the recent Signature Theatre production, as “Katherine Blake” and “Ellie Blake,” respectively, in this uproarious new musical. Complete casting will be announced in the coming weeks.
|Heidi Blickenstaff (left) and Emma Hunton in La Jolla Playhouse’s production of Freaky Friday, photo by Jim Saah.|
“These two dynamo actresses have given electric new life to their iconic characters,” said Ashley. “I can’t wait for San Diego audiences to experience their thoroughly engaging performances in this joyous new musical that portrays the often tumultuous relationship between parents and children in ways that are at once heartfelt and hilarious – and absolutely universal.”
The reviews for Freaky Friday and its two lead actresses have been glowing. The Washington Post said the show “offers two marvelously sung, resonantly comical central performances by Heidi Blickenstaff and Emma Hunton,” while DC Theatre Scene raved, “Freaky Friday is lively, agile, and full of fun, fun, fun.”
Hailed by The Washington Post as “a polished, peppy, modern fairy tale,” Disney’s new musical Freaky Friday is based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers and two hit Disney films. The classic story of a mother and daughter who magically swap bodies for 24 chaotic hours has been given a contemporary spin with a hilarious new book by Bridget Carpenter (“Parenthood,” “Friday Night Lights”) and “a driving pop‐rock score” (DC Metro Theatre Arts) by Tony Award® and Pulitzer Prize winners Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal, If/Then). With inventive staging by Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley (Come From Away, Memphis) and sharp choreography by Sergio Trujillo (Memphis, Jersey Boys), this dynamic production is “delightfully spunky” with “timeless appeal” (Variety).
The Playhouse run will launch a three-theatre co-production of Freaky Friday, heading from San Diego to the Cleveland Playhouse and Houston’s Alley Theatre.
Heidi Blickenstaff appeared on Broadway in Something Rotten! (Bea Bottom, Outer Critics nomination), [title of show] (original creative team and cast), The Addams Family (Alice Beineke), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Ursula) and The Full Monty. Other New York credits include The Most Happy Fella (Cleo) at City Center’s Encores! and Now. Here. This. and [title of show] at The Vineyard Theatre. Her regional credits include Next To Normal (Diana) at Weston Playhouse: Elf (Emily Hobbs) at Paper Mill Playhouse, Dog and Pony (Jane/Bonnie) at The Old Globe, First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb at The Kennedy Center and Meet John Doe (Ann Mitchell, Helen Hayes Award) at Ford’s Theatre: TV credits: PBS: First You Dream: The Music of Kander and Ebb. Education: Duke University. More at heidiblickenstaff.com.
Emma Hunton’s Broadway credits include Spring Awakening and Next to Normal. She appeared off-Broadway in RENT and in the national tours of Wicked, Next to Normal and Les Misérables. Her regional credits include Cruel Intentions, The Big Lebowski, Clueless at Rockwell.
Christopher Ashley has served as La Jolla Playhouse’s Artistic Director since October, 2007. During his tenure, he has helmed the Playhouse’s productions of Come From Away, Chasing the Song, His Girl Friday, Glengarry Glen Ross, A Dram of Drummhicit, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Restoration and the acclaimed musicals Xanadu and Memphis, which won four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical and just opened in London’s West End. He also spearheaded the Playhouse’s Without Walls (WoW) series and the Resident Theatre program. Prior to joining the Playhouse, he directed the Broadway productions of Xanadu (Drama Desk nomination), All Shook Up and The Rocky Horror Show (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), as well as the Kennedy Center Sondheim Celebration productions of Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along. Other New York credits include: Blown Sideways Through Life, Jeffrey (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards), The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Valhalla, Regrets Only, Wonder of the World, Communicating Doors, Bunny Bunny, The Night Hank Williams Died and Fires in the Mirror (Lucille Lortel Award), among others. Mr. Ashley also directed the feature films Jeffrey and Lucky Stiff, as well as the American Playhouse production of Blown Sideways Through Life for PBS. Mr. Ashley is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award, the Drama League Director Fellowship and an NEA/TCG Director Fellowship.
A television writer, producer and playwright, Bridget Carpenter created the event series 11.22.63 for Bad Robot based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, which debuted on Hulu February 15, 2016. Prior to 11.22.63, she wrote and co-executive produced all five seasons of the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning series Friday Night Lights. She also was a co-executive producer on Parenthood, and most recently, was executive producer/showrunner of Sundance Channel’s drama series The Red Road. Carpenter’s plays have been produced by Steppenwolf Theatre, the Public Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and many other theaters across the country. She has written several songs for film, including “Basmati Blues” and “Dear Dumb Diary.” Carpenter received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Princess Grace Award, the Kesselring Prize and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She also received Emmy and WGA nominations for “Friday Night Lights.” Her plays Fall, Up and The Faculty Room have been published by Samuel French.
Tom Kitt received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as two Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations for Next to Normal. His music for Next to Normal also received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Score. He is the composer of If/Then (Tony Award nomination, Outer Critics Circle Award nomination); High Fidelity (Broadway), Bring It On, The Musical (co-composer with Lin-Manuel Miranda; Broadway), The Winter’s Tale, All’s Well That Ends Well and Cymbeline (The Public’s NYSF); From Up Here and The Madrid (MTC); Orphans (Broadway) and The Retributionists (Playwrights Horizons). Kitt is also responsible for the music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations for Green Day's American Idiot on Broadway, and provided additional arrangements for their Grammy Award-winning album 21st Century Breakdown and their album trilogy, ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré!. He received an Emmy Award as co-writer (with Lin-Manuel Miranda) for the 2013 Tony Award opening number, Bigger. As a musical director, conductor, arranger and orchestrator, his credits include Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2, 2Cellos featuring Lang Lang (Live and Let Die), The Kennedy Center Honors, 13, Debbie Does Dallas, Everyday Rapture, Hair, Laugh Whore, Pippin (Deaf West) and These Paper Bullets!. Upcoming musical projects include Grease Live!, SpongeBob Squarepants, The Musical, Dave, Magic Mike, The Visitor and Jagged Little Pill.
Brian Yorkey received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the 2009 Tony Award for Best Score, for Next to Normal. He was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Next to Normal, and his work on the show earned him the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Score. He partnered again with the Next to Normal team on If/Then (Tony Award nominee for Best Score), starring Idina Menzel. Brian co-wrote the libretto for The Last Ship (Outer Critics nomination, with John Logan), with a score by Sting. He is currently working on the original musical Jesus in My Bedroom, with composer Tim Symons, as well as stage musical adaptations of Magic Mike and the Tom McCarthy film The Visitor. He is also adapting Jay Asher's bestselling novel 13 Reasons Why for Netflix, Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. Film projects in active development include Chase for Anonymous Content and Rosenzweig Films, Time After Time for Universal, and Score! for Team Downey and Warner Bros. Additional theatre credits include Making Tracks, which has played off-Broadway and regionally, the musical adaptation of Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet, and the play Book of Jobs with Alex Glover. Brian has directed off-Broadway and regionally and for seven years was associate artistic director at Village Theatre in Washington state, one of the nation’s leading producers of new musicals. He’s a graduate of Columbia University, where he was artistic director of the Varsity Show, an alum of the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the WGA.