Resurrecting the Headless Horseman After a Pandemic


Headless Horseman - Noah Chartrand, Dancers: Jeremy Ward and Shea Coughlin, Ichabod Crane - Devon Turchan In the hood is: Michael Lynn Jenkins | Photo credit: Giancarlo Osaben

With the lingering fall breeze bringing October to New York, what better time than to tell the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Victory Theatrical along with Be Bold! Productions, Michael Sgouros, Brenda Bell and the Player’s Theatre enchant us after a long hiatus just in time for Halloween with Sleepy Hollow: A Musical Thriller. The tale of the Hessian trooper beheaded by a cannonball in battle and brought back from the dead is engrained in all of our minds and exploding onto the stage on MacDougal Street.

And there could be no better theme than resurrection for the Player’s Theatre, as it has been a long pandemic for everyone. So much talent and creativity has been repressed by a global lockdown that almost extended two years. This production, for all involved, is like a breath of fresh air; a rebirth into the New York City Off-Broadway scene.

Theatre is life for so many of this city’s residents and most cannot comprehend how difficult the pandemic had been to the vibrant artistic community that makes this beautiful city what it is. Never knowing when a production would get the greenlight to perform in front of a live audience. Rehearsing with masks-on via zoom. The uncertainty and roadblocks were torturous for many, but alas there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Back at 100% capacity, the Player’s Theatre is immensely proud to present this American classic. Sleepy Hollow: A Musical Thriller is based on the original, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, published in a book of 34 stories by Washington Irving in 1819, and has aged like a fine wine through time. Irving himself would be hypnotized by the gorgeous set-design by Elizabeth Chaney, as it stuns with perfect visuals and colors that complement the seemingly effortless momentum of the choreography by director Pierce Cassedy.

The silence of the lockdown is over as the production harnesses the soul of a live cello and percussion pit musically directed and composed by Michael Sgouros. The story, staying true to the original work, is gracefully told with dialogue and lyrics by Brenda Bell as you are transported to another era with costumes by Courtney Hansen. The enthralling journey is perfectly lit by lighting designer Jessica Choi which coincides perfectly with the set design and energy of the cast.

Ichabod Crane is masterfully played by Devon Turchan, alongside Laurel Anderson, Sarah Bloom, Noah Chartrand, Shea Coughlin, Helora Danna, Eric Fletcher, Michael Lynn Jenkins, Sue-Ellen Mandell, Sage Spiker, and Jeremy Ward; all of whom boom with energy.

With the company reviving each show every three years, each performance is honed and perfected, digging deeper into the roles and story. This year, the trees on stage will bring a hollowness to the audience and engulf them in their eerie spirit. A taste of Sleepy Hollow in Greenwich Village.

Wander deeper into the gloomy night, further down into the unknown, the hollow, and visit the production’s site at www.HollowtheMusical.com or explore a video clip at https://youtu.be/ZihqdlQSxSE. With well-deserved praise, The New York Times said “This show also explores another darkness: that of the human heart. Those old enough to miss telling scary campfire stories will find pleasant chills here, and something to think about, too.”

Since we are all New York-Strong, in order to even be at 100% capacity, all audience members over the age of 12 must show full proof of vaccination and wear a mask when not drinking. We all want to go back to normal and this is the way. Nominated for an Innovative Theatre Award for Best Original Music, tickets for Sleepy Hollow: A Musical Thriller are on sale at the Player’s Theatre box office at 115 MacDougal Street in Bravo’s Books which opens at 11AM, or can be purchased online at http://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/1068232. If you use their promotional code: NYArtist at online checkout, you can receive a Tier 2 seat for $20 (this does not include a $2 service fee and Ovation convenience fee). The production is running from September 24th-November 7th, 2021.

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