High School Musical Features 70 Students In Cast And Crew

What started in early September with auditions, followed by more than a month of rigorous rehearsals, will come to life this weekend when the Gilbert High School theater department unveils the musical Freaky Friday to audiences on Friday and Saturday.

The curtain will be raised in the high school auditorium on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a second show Saturday evening at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance through TicketSpicket HERE.

With a cast and crew of 70 students, and directed by teachers Zack Hackbarth and Tanner Stutzman, Freaky Friday is sure to be an entertaining production from start to finish. Based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Mary Rodgers, the musical version of Freaky Friday was developed by Disney Theatrical Productions and debuted in 2016.

“It’s a compelling family story that has a little bit of magic to it,” Hackbarth, who is in his fourth year of directing productions at GHS, said. “It showcases a lot of things that are relatable to a lot of families about their relationships with their parents, their siblings, and with their children. A lot of audience members can see their own lives in the characters that are portrayed on stage.”

Following The Sound of Music and Little Women in recent years, the GHS theater department yearned to tackle a more contemporary project in 2023 and it found the perfect opportunity with Freaky Friday.

“The plot consists of a mom and daughter who have a conflict,” Thomas Barbier, a sophomore who portrays Mike in the musical, said. “Basically, the premise is, you should see how my life is for a day, and then they switch bodies. They come to learn and appreciate that their lives are unique and have their own struggles.”

Izzy Platts, a senior who portrays Katherine Blake, one of the lead characters, says it’s a unique musical that offers actors numerous opportunities to stretch their talents.

“It’s unique in that I get to play two different characters, and that was definitely a new thing for me to have to understand both characters,” Platts said. “I’m so proud of everyone who has worked on the show. It truly is amazing.”

With a larger emphasis on the entire ensemble rather than a few main characters, Freaky Friday allows a number of students to step into the spotlight. Detailed choreography is also part of the production, which presents a new set of challenges for the cast.

“Every single person who is involved matters so much,” Barbier said. “Every single person who is on stage has put in so much work and so much time. It’s incredible.”

To help bring the entire cast together, Platts and Barbier were part of a group that organized team bonding adventures outside of rehearsal time. All of the students got to know each other on a deeper level, and Platts says that has only enhanced the chemistry on stage.

“In previous shows, we haven’t had as much ensemble involvement,” she said. “This year, we really tried to cultivate a community of actors, and it’s just so good to be a part of such a loving and welcoming and diverse community. Everybody comes from somewhere different, but we can all come together to do this, which is something we love.”

Barbier says all of the actors and singers do a tremendous job, but the success of the show goes even deeper than what you will see on stage. He credits the students who work behind the scenes for adding an additional layer to bring it all together.

“This is going to be phenomenal, and I would like to give a lot of credit to the stage crew,” Barbier said. “They worked their butts off and there’s a lot of stuff you don’t see. The directors have been phenomenal and the pit band has been great. We have amazing musicians here at Gilbert, and it’s just great that we’re able to do this.”

Due to copyright concerns, there will not be a livestream available for either performance. So be sure to get your tickets in advance, or arrive at the auditorium early on Friday or Saturday to catch his amazing show by our students.


Freaky Friday Cast
Ellie Blake/Lydia Weiler
Katherine Blake/Izzy Platts
Fletcher Blake/Canaan Stanton
Mike/Thomas Barbier
Gretchen/Bree Moore
Hannah/Lillian Dahlstrom
Adam/Evan Goetz
Savannah/Ashley Heimer
Parker/Charlie Mortimer
Wells/Aldo Escalera
Laurel/Alyse Beyer
Torrey/Danielle Vogel
Grandpa Gordon/Andrew Soupir
Grandma Helene/Gwen Pistilli
Danielle/Molly Weiler
Louis/Wyatt Jones
Dr. Ehrin/Maks Koziel
Mr. Blumen/Sam Ellingson
Pastor Bruno/Zeke Hatfield
Mrs. Luckenbill/Kylee Higgins
Señor O’Brien/Porter Searles
Ms. Meyers/Maddie Moore
Officer Sitz/Olivia White
Officer Kowalski/Emrick Ryan
Mrs. Time/Leah Mostek

Nora Bland, Ella Britt, Jahleeyah Garnica, Audrey Hilleman, Avalyse Julich, Dani Nlenanya, Brooke Peterson, Ava Price, Camille Rehbein, Jackson Riesselman, Elijah Sanford, Cece Schwager, Audrey Spiess, William Toupier, Joanna Stoker, Caitlin Strudthoff, Lydia Strudthoff, Scarlett Winfrey.

Stage Manager
Vanessa Rivas-Peña

Assistant Stage Manager
Cole Johnson

Stage Crew
Keagan Adams, Kyla Chance, Raylene Chen, Bella Johnson, Jocelyn Leiding, Madeline Lamm, Daniel May, Carly Saienga, Sidney Steenhoek, Jaden Wilson.

Sound Board
Jackson Dalager, Bayley Hintz.

Light Board
Nathan Tifft.

Sam Ellingson, Greyson Rehbein.

Pit Band Performers
Kayla Cakerice, Megan Lennon, Aldo Schwartz, Jonathan Stoker, Spencer Weydert, Jonah White, Shreya Srinath, Ethan Kwon, Amanda Jennings, Quinton Nespor.