"Sleepy Hollow" Opens on Halloween in Wallman Hall

Thursday, October 02, 2014

The name “Sleepy Hollow” conjures images of the awkward school teacher, Ichabod Crane, on his bedraggled horse being chased through the dark woods by the Headless Horseman. It is fitting that the Fairmont State University production of “Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” opens on Halloween. 

The Town & Gown production runs Oct. 31, Nov. 1, Nov. 6, 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. in the Wallman Hall Theatre. Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office at (304) 367-4240. Tickets are $10 and go on sale Oct. 13.

In this version of the famous tale, the latest schoolmaster, Bastian Onderdonk, played by Christian Cox of Fairmont, is leaving Sleepy Hollow after several bouts with the supernatural. The villagers beg him to stay, or at least send a replacement – one who might lift the curse that has plagued their small town. As Onderdonk flees, the townspeople watch as the bridge disappears before their eyes, and they know they are trapped in Sleepy Hollow.

Several weeks later, a new schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane, played by Brandon Lee, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, sweeps into town, certain he can be of great service to this backwoods village. Crane is a strict disciplinarian, but he is soon rattled when books mysteriously fly off the shelf in his classroom.  

Determined to make the best of a bad situation, Crane sets his eye on the lovely and talented Katrina Van Tassel, played by Shannon Yost of Fairmont. Katrina is the only daughter of wealthy farmer, Balthus Van Tassel, played by Shawn Dunn. Miss Van Tassel is secretly engaged to Mr. Brom Bones, played by Stephen Phillips of Fairmont, and Crane’s desire for Katrina and her father’s riches soon put him in conflict with Brom. 

At a Halloween party hosted by the Van Tassels, Ichabod and Brom compete for Katrina’s attention while the villagers tell tales of the town’s unfortunate past. The tales include a story of a newlywed couple attacked by spirits sent by the bride’s sister, who is known to dabble in witchcraft. The bride wakes from the attack to find her groom without a head.  Ichabod reacts with scorn to the villagers’ tales. Yet, he tries to use the town’s curse to blackmail Katrina. Their conversation is overheard by her father, Brom, and the party guests. Ichabod is driven from the party into the dark night.

“Sleepy Hollow” is an original musical by Jim Christian and Tom Edward Clark. In 2009, Christian and Clark received the National Musical Theater Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center during the Region VIII  Kennedy Center/ American College Theatre Festival  in St. George, Utah.

The FSU production is directed by Francene Kirk. The music direction is by R.J. Nestor, and the choreography and movement work is by Susan Cato. The cast includes Gary Hayes, Maddie LaFollette, Clayton Dunn, David Shaver, Dani DeVito, Isabella Diserio, Tyler Giorcelli, Katie Groover, Kathy Dunn, Sarah Lemley, Billy Tobin, Lydia Rose Hatten, Mary Grace Tillman, Jani Ann Eagle, Carmela Lilly, Franchesca Rose Aloi, Kathryn Scarbro, Will Wright, Johnna Lopez, Bailey Kershner, Isaac Covey, Mary H. Tillman, Morgan Carder, Zach Moffatt and Christopher Yost. Troy Snyder is the scenic designer. FSU Theatre major Bekah Watson is the costume designer, and Anthony Edmond is the stage manager. 

“Sleepy Hollow” is a full-length production and is not recommended for young children.