East Lynne Theater Company to Present THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, 7/24-8/31

"No one is safe, no one is safe, no one is safe in Tarrytown," chant the six actors at the beginning of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The year is 1782 and the village is surrounded by ghosts from the past - including the Headless Horseman. A Hessian soldier who was killed during the Revolutionary War, he now roams the countryside at night looking for a head. When the new school teacher in town, Ichabod Crane, suddenly disappears, is it the fault of the Headless Horseman, or something else?

The award winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company presents this world premiere based on Washington Irving's supernatural tale. It is adapted by James Rana who so vividly created ELTC's last season's "The Poe Mysteries." Also like "Poe," this production, under the direction of Gayle Stahlhuth, travels up to Ocean Professional Theatre Company in Barnegat, NJ in late October.

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was published in "The Sketch Book of Goeffrey Crayon" (1820), bringing national and international success to writer Washington Irving (1783-1859). Although his father wanted him to study law, Irving preferred going to the Park Theater, the Shakespeare Tavern, and writing. With several friends, he created a semi-monthly periodical called "The Salmagundi Papers." It was a comic look at politics and current events in "the thrice renowned and delectable city of Gotham" - the first time Manhattan was so called - decades before "Batman." An old Anglo-Saxon term for "city of goats," Irving used it more for a "city of tricksters and fools." His public service included attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, secretary of the U.S. Legation in London, and U.S. Ambassador to Spain. Aside from his books of short stories, he wrote biographies on Christopher Columbus and George Washington. Although several of his stories were set in Tarrytown, NY, he didn't live there until 1832 when he bought a farm on the banks of the Hudson River, and named it "Sunnyside."

Playwright/performer James Rana has worked for the Big Apple Circus and performed with numerous theaters in NYC, throughout the country, and in Europe, including The Royal Shakespeare Company. He wrote and narrated "Poe: A Celebration" and "Going Polar" for National Public Radio, and his television scripts and screenplays have been honored at competitions including the LA Comedy Short Film Festival. For ELTC, he not only adapted Poe's work, but performed in "The Poe Mysteries," as well as "Sherlock Holmes Adventure of the Norwood Builder." He's taught juggling classes for ELTC for ages 8 - 80 in Cape May, and as part of Wildwood School District's after-school program.

In the role of "Ichabod Crane," is Matt Baxter Luceno, who was in ELTC's "It Pays to Advertise." Recently he was in "Chemistry of Love" at La Mama in NYC. Cast members who play many roles include ELTC favorites SuzAnne Dawson ("Dulcy"), Thomas Raniszewski ("Berkeley Square"), and John Cameron Weber ("The Butter and Egg Man"). New to ELTC are Elisa Pupko and Justin Bennett. Elisa was recently in "The Crucible" at The Gallery Players in Brooklyn and is a host for About.Com where she talks about everything from getting a cheese steak in Philly to how to cold-brew your coffee. Justin's New York credits include "Hamlet," "Curse of the Starving Class," and "Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)." He is directing "Separate Tables" in the fall in NYC.

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" runs from July 24 through August 31, with an 8:30 curtain, and a Wednesday through Saturday schedule. On opening night, Wednesday, July 24 there is an after-show party at The Washington Inn, 801 Washington Street. It's a great opportunity to mingle with theater professionals and fellow theater lovers. On Friday, August 2, is an after-show Q&A with the cast and crew. On Friday, August 23 is an American Sign Language performance.

ELTC performs in the historic First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes Street, a block off the beach at the corner of Hughes and Decatur in Cape May.

Tickets are $30 general admission, $25 for seniors (ages 62 and over), $15 for full-time students, and anyone ages 12 and under is free. For reservations and information, call ELTC at 609-884-5898 or go online to www.eastlynnetheater.org. Dine at The Washington Inn, 410 Bank Street, Frescos Seafood Trattoria, or Aleathea's at the Inn of Cape May for ticket-price savings.

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