When you personally know someone in a Broadway show, what’s the first thing you do when you sit down in the theater?
Open the Playbill and look for the name.
I’ve had that pleasure several times with Heidi Blickenstaff, the Fresno musical-theater dynamo who at a young age belted out “Tomorrow” for Good Company Players and kept on singing till she reached New York. By my count, I’ve tracked down Heidi’s name in Playbills for “The Full Monty,” “[title of show],” “The Little Mermaid,” “Now. Here. This” (the sequel to “[title]”) and “Something Rotten!” (Note that in four of those shows, she originated her roles.)
But I’ll admit something: I got an even bigger jolt a few weeks go when I saw “Heidi Blickenstaff” pop up in the opening credits for the new Disney TV movie musical “Freaky Friday,” which will be released Friday, Aug. 10, on the Disney Channel. (She gets second billing, just after Cozi Zuehlsdorff, star of “Dolphin Tale,” who plays her daughter.) I’m not sure why seeing Heidi’s name on my advance video screener had such an impact. Is it because of the outsize influence of Hollywood on pop culture? Or knowing that someone I have long admired for her talent is receiving the “validation” of being captured forever on a screen?