Play House delivers ‘Freaky’ season finale

Cleveland Play House’s next musical draws inspiration from a Disney live-action hit and boasts a Tony- and Pulitzer-winning songwriting team.

“Freaky Friday” will close out the Play House’s 2016-17 season. It’s based on the Mary Rodgers’ novel about a mother and daughter who swap bodies for 24 hours. The book spawned two Disney films, a 1976 version with Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster as the mother-daughter duo and a 2003 version starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan.

The stage version features songs by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, who won Tonys and a Pulitzer Prize for “Next to Normal” and also created the musical “If / Then,” which starred Idina Menzel on Broadway. The book is by Bridget Carpenter, who was a writer and co-executive producer on the television series “Friday Night Lights” and co-executive producer on “Parenthood.”

Cleveland is one of the first cities where the musical is being staged, and it is being presented as the centerpiece of the Play House’s 2017 New Ground Theatre Festival.

According to artistic director Laura Kepley, “Audiences will have a ball with this dynamic new musical, which has been adapted for the stage by some of the top creative minds in the musical theatre industry. While ripe for comedy, the storyline also focuses on empathy and what it’s like to see the world from somebody else’s perspective and to literally stand in their shoes.

“I know that this sensational new musical will go on to have an incredible life in theaters all over the world, and I am thrilled that Cleveland audiences will have the opportunity to say they ‘saw it first,’ right here at Cleveland Play House.”

Heide Blickenstaff, whose Broadway credits include “Something Rotten!,” “The Little Mermaid” and “The Full Monty,” will play the mother. Emma Hunton, who appeared on Broadway in “Spring Awakening” and “Next to Normal,” is cast as the daughter.

“Freaky Friday” runs Saturday through May 20 at the Allen Theatre, Playhouse Square, 1501 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. Tickets range from $25 to $110 and can be ordered by calling 216-241-6000 or online at