West Valley teens among Herberger cast of ‘Freaky Friday’

Ryley Grace Youngs, Paige Schmella, Carson Roubison, Anna Mettes, Max Mendoza and Allison Belsan will be part of the "Freaky Friday" production this month at Herberger. [Submitted photos]

Valley Youth Theatre (VYT) will open the final production in the theatre company’s 30th season, Disney’s “Freaky Friday, The Musical,” 7 p.m. Friday, June 14, at The Herberger Theater Center, 222 E Monroe St, Phoenix.

The show will run through June 30.

The cast and crew include more than 50 Valley performers, tech crew and orchestra, between the ages of 7 and 19, as well as five professional adult actors from the Phoenix area. The show is directed by VYT’s 24-year Producing Artistic Director Bobb Cooper. Music direction is by Mark Fearey, choreography by Nathalie Velasquez, scenic design by Dori Brown, lighting design by Jeff A. Davis and sound design by Brian Honsberger.

West Valley contributors include Max Mendoza of Avondale (as “Parker”), Anna Mettes of Glendale (Hannah), Carson Roubison of Goodyear (adult ensemble/waiter/Officer Kowalski/dad), Allison Belsan of Surprise (adult ensemble/Savannah’s mom/waiter), Paige Schmella of Surprise (student ensemble), and Ryley Grace Youngs of Surprise (adult ensemble/Officer Sitz/mom/waiter).

Thirty-two young people (ages 11 to 19) from all corners of the Valley will appear as cast members, eight will serve as technical crew and 11 will perform in the orchestra for every performance. More than 200 hours of rehearsals have taken place since April.

At least 20 performances of “Freaky Friday” will be presented throughout the show’s run, including four daytime performances designated for school field trips.

The new musical is based on the bloved 1972 novel by Mary Rodgers and the hit Disney films (developed by Disney Theatrical Productions expressly for licensing to theatres), features a book by Bridget Carpenter – the co-executive producer and writer on the beloved TV hits, “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood” – and music and lyrics by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey – the Pulitzer Prize-winning composers of “Next to Normal” and “If/Then.”

“As with all of our productions, ‘Freaky Friday’ gives everyone involved the real-life experience and real-time schedule of a professional theatrical production,” Mr. Cooper stated. “It’s important to us the make sure auditions truly are open to every young person in the Valley. Cast, crew and orchestra members never pay fees to participate. They don’t have to rent or purchase costumes or equipment and there are never requirements to sell tickets. They also aren’t required to have any previous theatre experience or any theatrical education. We just strive to recognize potential and to match talent and skill levels with the requirements of each role. I think that’s very evident in this production.”

Tickets are available at vyt.com or by calling 602-252-8497.



What: “Freaky Friday”

When: June 14-30

Where: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E Monroe St, Phoenix

Tickets: vyt.com or 602-252-8497

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.