Ever since it originally appeared in 1972 as a children’s novel by Mary Rodgers, Freaky Friday has been one of the most well-liked stories ever to enter the popular imagination. The concept of a mother and daughter suddenly switching bodies was just ripe for plenty of comedy and some drama.
It’s no surprise that Freaky Friday has been adapted multiple times on film, TV and stage. Disney for instance had a TV movie version starring Shelley Long and Gaby Hoffman in 1995 shown on ABC. Now, they’re going to adapt the stage musical for TV on Disney Channel this year.
The original stage musical for Freaky Friday was developed by Disney Theatrical Productions, making an easy transition to television. Some of the stage performers are also reprising their roles on Disney Channel, like Heidi Blickenstaff as Katherine the mom. Cozi Zuehlsdorff will portray daughter Ellie (and Katherine post-switch, and vice-versa).
Bridget Carpenter, who wrote the book for the musical, will return to adapt it into a screenplay, while Tom Kitt and written by Brian Yorkey, who were respectively composer and lyricist, will also reprise for the TV movie’s musical numbers and soundtrack. Susan Cartsonis and Thomas Schumacher serve as producers.
A teaser for Disney’s Freaky Friday shows the signature scene where the mom and daughter switch bodies. This version has Blickenstaff’s Katherine and Zuehlsdorff’s Ellie doing a tug-of-war with an antique hourglass that triggers their “exchange”. Following a brief moment of confusion, the two of them scream in familiar fright.
Other cast members for the TV musical are Alex Désert, Ricky He, Disney Channel regular Jason Maybaum, Kahyun Kim, Dara R. Moss, Jennifer LaPorte, Isaiah Lehtinen as Karl and Sarah Willey. This latest adaptation of Freaky Friday will premiere this summer, only on Disney Channel.