Friday was anything but Freaky: Show Review for Euclid High School Big Show 2019
Euclid High’s Big Show has a reputation for excellence and Tyler Pearl’s directorial debut continued that tradition. Audiences were treated to a heartwarming production of Freaky Friday with an exhausting five shows presented over a four-day run. The high energy musical production offers a modern twist on the classic tale of a mother and daughter struggling to relate to one another. As their magical day unfolds, they learn to appreciate each other and those around them. Through the dedication of an exceptionally talented cast and crew, audiences are reminded what it’s like to be a teen reaching for independence, while also aching for the love and attention of their parents. Adults are taught that children don’t need perfection and that adolescence isn’t always as easy as we might remember it.
Maggie Elkins and Izzy Johnson were extraordinary as mother and daughter Katherine and Ellie Blake. They captivated the audience with their vocals and awed us with their star power. Particularly impressive was the change in demeanor that followed the unbelievable metamorphosis triggered by the mystical hourglass. That pivotal moment was outstanding, thanks to the use of a rotating platform, lighting and special effects. When Elkins donned the red Converse shoes, her shoulders loosened and her superb acting convinced us she was a young girl in a grown woman’s body. Equally persuasive was Johnson with her hair neatly pulled back and her flannel tightly tucked in, suddenly switching gears to depict a middle-aged woman with the body of a teen girl. (Enabling what could have been a throwaway line- if not for the spontaneous cheers from female audience members- as Johnson’s character encouraged all young women to love their bodies.) The musical take on this Disney story features a challenging score and both ladies impressed in their vocal range, acting and stage presence.
Freaky Friday focuses on two very strong female leads, but the supporting cast also excelled. Newcomer Xavier Stovall wowed as Fiancé Mike, delivering a strong overall performance and an incredible solo on “Vows.” Eighth-grader, Simeon Johnson and familiar favorite Jan Robinson were hilarious and poignant in alternating moments, showing maturity beyond their years. Leroy Berts was fantastic as “The Huntmaster” Adam, deserving of the spotlight aimed his way as he navigated the aisles in an exceptionally clever use of technology. Isaanae Smith and Da’Shanel Nichols joined Johnson, Elkins, Stovall, and Berts on a powerhouse performance of “Bring My Baby (Brother) Home,” eliciting thunderous applause from the audience.
Euclid High School continues a long tradition of a disciplined and hard-working cast and crew sharing their talent with their peers and the Euclid community. Many of this year’s stars should return for next year’s Big Show, leaving audiences eager to see what 2020 has in store for us! You can see these talented students on stage at Playhouse Square for the Dazzle Awards on May 18th.