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Original Musical SLEEPY HOLLOW to Open at The Players Theatre

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Just in time for HOLLOWeen "Sleepy Hollow" runs through November 7th at The Players Theatre located at 115 MacDougal Street (between Bleecker and West 3rd).

Original Musical SLEEPY HOLLOW to Open at The Players Theatre

As the nights grow cooler and the days grow shorter, there's nothing like the scent of autumn leaves in the air as New Yorkers start to dream about pumpkin spice lattes and cozy, warm libations. But, just north of the city in a quiet town called Tarrytown, the Headless Horseman begins to stir. His arrival back on stage at The Players Theatre in Greenwich Village is inevitable this year...it's been far too long since he's paid MacDougal Street a visit, especially with Covid delaying his visit by a year.

Sleepy Hollow, an original musical by Michael Sgouros and Brenda Bell, which opens on September 24th at The Players Theatre in New York City's Greenwich Village, reveals a haunting deeper than the woods of the hollow. Its shadows are cast from the darkness of the human soul.

At the center of the story is the elusive Headless Horseman (Noah Chartrand), a soldier fabled to have lost his head in battle in the real-life Tarrytown, New York. You may recall Washington Irving's 1820's tale, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" which spun the story into a bewitching classic. "Sleepy Hollow the Musical" by Bell and Sgouros also follows the trials of the ill-fated Ichabod Crane (Devon Turchan) and the events that led him to his fatal chase with the Headless Horseman.

Washington Irving's original story did hold its challenges for playwright Brenda Bell. "Irving is a beautiful, fanciful writer. He often goes on at length with detailed descriptions of everything from the sound of rustling leave to the delights of a lavish dessert tray. This is a wonderful treat for readers but sometimes difficult to adapt for the stage" noted Bell. She wanted to stay true to all the story elements while digging deeper into the characters themselves. She wanted to know why Ichabod Crane was "so cold - so hollow".

"Everyone gets lost in the Hollow sooner or later; can't help it, it's our nature" warns Hans Van Ripper (Eric Fletcher) during his first meeting with the naive Ichabod Crane. The nature that Van Ripper speaks of is human nature. The hollow asks those who venture into its shadow "What do you fear most?" And after a year like 2020, we've all been a bit more in touch with our deepest fears than we'd like to admit. Ichabod fears that he will never be loved, as a man nursing his wounds from emotional battles with cheating lovers and bullish rivals. Even his attraction to Katrina Van Tassel (Laurel Anderson) is treated as more of a business deal than a potential love interest, which he explores in his tragic ballad "The Not in Love Song".

Bell used historical resources to assist in developing the characters of the Tarrytown folk, and has even spent time up there herself. "I learned that Dutch women of that period were very independent and strong" said Bell. This research led to a different take on Lady Van Tassel (Sue-Ellen Mandell) and the development of the song "Never Sit Out the Dance" where she gives sage advice to her daughter Katrina and best friend Anna (Helora Danna) while revealing her longing and regret which she so carefully conceals. The musical "Sleepy Hollow" explores the local folk of this enchanted Hollow; exposing their fears as well as their flaws, offering a slice of this early American Dutch community as tasty as Lady Van Tassel's wicked apple pie. This theme is also explored through earthy costumes by Courtney Hansen, which ground us firmly in the colonial period while adding a dash of whimsy.

The eerie direction and choreography by Pierce Cassedy encourage shivers up your spine from the moment you enter the hollowed theatre. Elizabeth Chaney's haunting set design and spooky lighting design by Jessica Choi enable the hollow to always be present, subtly encroaching on the residents of Sleepy Hollow as well as any unfortunate visitors (such as yourself).

The musical features a live ensemble comprised of cello and percussion. Sgouros, a Julliard-trained percussionist, chose this specific orchestration for its diverse nature. "Two percussionist play over 30 instruments during the show" remarked Mr. Sgouros adding that the cello's wide range allows for a great deal of variation from one musician. Percussion also lends itself to the creation of non-melodic sounds, including eerie sound effects in the Hollow created by using a violin bow on the side of the vibraphone.

Just in time for HOLLOWeen "Sleepy Hollow" runs through November 7th at The Players Theatre located at 115 MacDougal Street (between Bleecker and West 3rd). Tickets are $32-$62 and can be purchased through https://hollowthemusical.com/ or at the box office which opens daily at 11a inside Bravo's Booknook. Performances are on Thursday at 7p, Friday at 7p, Saturday at 3p and 7p and Sundays at 2p.


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