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Mother and Daughter Grow Closer in Sunnyvale Community Players’ “Freaky Friday”

In Disney’s “Freaky Friday,” a mother and her daughter trade bodies for a day. Sunnyvale Community Players Junior Productions is running “Freaky Friday” on Feb. 21 through March 8 with the Puppets Cast and Sandwiches Cast.

Aaron Weisberg, who co-directed the show with his wife Cindy, talked about the most recent 2016 production of “Freaky Friday,” adapted from Mary Rodgers’ 1972 novel. Upbeat songs from the show include “Just One Day” and “Bring My Baby Home.”

“The switch happens at a pivotal moment for the mother and the daughter,” Weisberg said. “It’s the day before the wedding of Katherine, the mother. She’s trying to arrange it and cater her own wedding and get a magazine to cover her event so she could get her name out there. Her daughter Ellie and her friends have been trying to lead this scavenger hunt. The hunt is led by a boy Ellie has a crush on.”

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The element that remains the same through the various adaptations of the story is that the mother and daughter grow a better understanding of each other through their body swap.

“Both of them grow and get to place where neither of them thought they needed to be, but it is actually where they needed to be to evolve,” Weisberg said. “A lot of teens find it difficult to communicate with their parents. If you don’t communicate, it’s hard to understand each other. And it’s hard to understand each other if you don’t communicate.”

From the Sandwiches Cast, Rose Madsen, 13, plays Ellie, or depending on how one looks at it, Katherine in Ellie’s body.

“Spending a day in Ellie’s shoes made Katherine realize she couldn’t control her daughter because her daughter is living her entire life without her,” Madsen said. “Ellie lost her dad. She dealt with it in her own way. There is a line in the show after they switch back when Katherine said, ‘Today and every day, I will be here. I will love you.” I felt that there was a lot of her realizing that, ‘This is my daughter, and if I can’t love her the way I want her to be, then I should learn to love her for who she is.’”

From the Puppets cast, Maddy Wenig, 18, plays Katherine, or Ellie in Katherine’s body.

“Ellie starts out the show thinking her mom lives this easy and superficial life, and that it’s easy to be her mom. But then she realizes how difficult her mom’s life is,” Wenig said. “She starts to understand the choices her mom has made, such as remarrying after her father died. Towards the end, Ellie accepts Mike (Austin Nipper), Katherine’s fiancé and she is okay with having him in the family. She was initially hung up about her dad’s passing. But now she realizes from being in her mother’s body that Mike does care about her mother and the family, how he truly loves her and how he’s a great guy.”

Learn more and purchase tickets at sunnyvaleplayers.org.

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