The Road to Freaky Friday: The Groovy 70s

Freaky Friday runs February 21-March 8

The Road to Freaky Friday the Musical:
The Groovy 70s

When you hear the name “Freaky Friday,” you might think about the Disney film from the early 2000s starring the radiant Jamie Lee Curtis and a young Lindsay Lohan. Or if you’re a little bit older, you might think of the 1976 film starring Jodie Foster. But did you know those aren’t the only films under the “Freak Friday” name or that all these films were adaptations of a novel by Mary Rogers first published in 1972?  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a little walk through memory lane to see just how we got to the new Freaky Friday musical hitting the Sunnyvale Theatre stage next month! 

This week, we’re kicking things off with the groovy 70s… 

The Original 1972 Novel

For people of a certain age, they may have first encountered the story of a mother and daughter switching bodies on an especially unusual Friday via the original Mary Rogers novel. The book mostly takes place in the Andrew family’s home and is centered around surly teen Annabel (magically switched into her mother Ellen’s body) as she struggles with an overflowing washing machine and gets into other domestic hijinks. The means by which Annabel and her mom Ellen switch bodies is never explained and much of the humor comes from Annabel’s love interest, Morris, who suffers from chronic congestion, which in turn, causes him to mispronounce many words (including his own name). Don’t ask. In the end, Annabel gains a new appreciation for her mother and the two switch back into their proper bodies. 

In addition to inspiring four film adaptations and a stage musical, this novel also inspired Mary Rogers to write two sequels: A Billion for Boris (1974) and Summer Switch (1982).  

1976 Film Adaptation

The first film adaption featured a screenplay by original novel author Mary Rogers and starred Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris. Many of the main plot points from the novel remained. But as often happens with film adaptations, the story was “opened up” to include an extensive chase sequence at the end culminating in Barbara Harris’s Ellen waterskiing in an aquacade while Jodie Foster’s Annabel wildly drives a convertible without having any previous driving experience! Again, don’t ask. Eventually all is right by the end–though, like the novel, the manner in which Ellen and Annabel switched bodies and back again goes unexplained. There is also a little comic button at the end suggesting that Annabel’s dad Bill and brother Ben will likely have a “Strange Saturday” ahead.

Next week, we’ll look at a certain Cheers leading lady’s appearance in a 1990s television adaption and more fun stops along our Freaky Friday journey. But you don’t have to wait until then to get your tickets. You don’t want to miss out on getting your choice of seats, so get them now while you still can!

Leave a Reply