By PAM JOHNSON
Special to the H&T
Coming to the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre in time for Halloween is the mysterious tale of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” set to take the stage Oct. 17 through Nov. 3.
It’s the perfect time of year to see this favorite classic played out on the JRT stage and in their newly renovated theatre.
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” follows the story of Ichabod Crane (Lucas Schmidt), a schoolmaster who is new to the village of Sleepy Hollow. The lovely Katrina Van Tassel (Madelyn Goward) — the daughter of a wealthy farmer (Shawn Hale) — catches Ichabod’s eye, while his romantic rival, Brom Bones (Lucas Wilcox), claims Katrina as his own. The tension grows throughout the show and will leave you wondering just how far Brom Bones will go to win his lady love. And with the backdrop of scary stories and legends, audiences are in for a frightful good time.
“This show incorporates ghost stories — like the Headless Horseman — which are popular this time of the year,” Schmidt said. “It’s an American story associated with Halloween. So it’s seasonal, and people love seasonal things. And they like to get scared, but not too scared.”
“This show is perfect for families,” director Janette Gaines said. “It has just the right amount of suspense and scariness without overdoing it.”
Not only is the time of year appropriate, but historic Jonesborough is the perfect location to get in the mood to enjoy this spooky tale.
“Seeing this show is the best way to bring in the fall,” said Melissa Nipper, who portrays Dame Van Tassel. “Especially here in Jonesborough. We’re in Tennessee’s oldest town that was established in colonial days. And this story is from that time period.”
Madelyn Goward agreed. “The town makes the show special because they put so much into the fall decorations. And everything feels historic. You get the feel of it just walking down the street. And when you walk out of the theatre, you could almost be in Sleepy Hollow.”
Washington Irving’s story of Sleepy Hollow was published in 1820 and has been a favorite for almost 200 years. Though it can be considered an atypical story, with no real protagonist or antagonist, Irving creates a multi-dimensional experience that leaves audiences wondering just who is the good guy or bad guy. And for two centuries, the “fill in the blank” conclusion still has people speculating.
“There are interesting characters and a lot of humor in this story,” Gaines remarked, “but the kicker that I believe keeps people coming back is that you don’t really know the ending.”
“There’s not really a solid ending,” Goward echoed. “The author leaves the audience to decide what happens. So much is left up to their interpretation and imagination.”
So, take a break from the busy holiday season and go see this classic. Leave with your own thoughts and ideas about what truly happened to Ichabod Crane.
“If people like ghost stories and want to get into the Halloween spirit,” Wilcox said, “come check out this show. And if they haven’t seen it before, they definitely need to come see it.”
This production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is written by Mary and Andrew Arnault, directed by Janette Gaines, and music directed by Shawn Hale. The JRT appreciates the show sponsors: Joe Grandy and Sonia King/Mary B. Martin.
Rounding out the cast are Tim Barto, Annika Beatty, Larry Bunton, Dana Kehs, Charles Landry, Richard Lura, Nathan Marooney, Sarah Nipper, Carter Pattison, Ella Pattison, Kellie Reeves, Brooklynn Shelton, Sharon Squibb, and Kari Tuthill.
Performances run Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $17 general admission, $15 for students and seniors. There is also a special group rate for parties of 15 or more. (An interpreter will be provided for the deaf on Saturday, Nov 2, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for these select seats must be purchased by Oct 12.) To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010 or go online to www.jonesboroughtheatre.com.