‘Sleepy Hollow, a Musical Tale’ puts a modern spin on a spooky classic Oct. 23-Nov. 1

By: Victoria Mullen

A haunting classic has been updated and set to music. With a limited run from October 23-November 1, the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre (GRCT) presents ‘Sleepy Hollow, a Musical Tale.’ The audience will find a lot to love about this stage play as it combines comedy, drama, and music.275px-Ichabods_chase_crop

Based on Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow—originally published in 1819 with a collection of other short stories—the stage play, music and lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Freedman promises fun for everyone. Tickets are $10-$16.

“Our cast has approached this show as a blend between a Tim Burton film and a Scooby-Doo episode,” said Associate Director Allyson Paris. “The music in this play is outstanding, filled with modern pop-themed songs. Families can expect to see some of the most talented young people in West Michigan singing and dancing. You will be singing and dancing too!”

Set in New York within a 1790s Dutch settlement—nicknamed ‘Sleepy Hollow’—the original story’s protagonist is Ichabod Crane, a schoolteacher who meets up with the Headless Horseman after unsuccessfully proposing to a young lady. The Headless Horseman chases Crane through a haunted forest, only to be stymied by the river—ghosts cannot cross water. Instead, the horseman takes up his severed head and throws it at Crane, hitting his face. Even after all these years, Crane’s fate remains unknown.

As legend has it, the Headless Horseman was a Hessian soldier who was killed during the Battle of White Plains in 1776. Decapitated by an American cannonball, his body was whisked away by his comrades; the remains of his shattered head were left on the battlefield. Each Halloween night, he rises as a malevolent ghost, furiously seeking his lost head. For the sake of additional gruesomeness, modern lore has the ghost riding headless with his severed head resting on the pommel of his saddle.

sleepyGRCT’s updated spin begins in the present day on Halloween night as three modern-day children find themselves thrust into the mysterious village of Sleepy Hollow, in Colonial New England. The children encounter a variety of colorful characters and even have a confrontation with the infamous Headless Horseman himself. As the children sing and dance their way through the world of the 18th century, they find the origins for traditions that are celebrated today as they unveil the haunting allure of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Recommended for children ages seven and older, Sleepy Hollow, A Musical Tale is great family fun with just a bit of a Halloween edge. Kids attending the October 31 matinee (2:00 curtain) performance are encouraged to dress in their Halloween costumes. Special treats will be given to the first 200 children. 

Go here to purchase tickets or call 616.222.6650.