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Signature Theatre The Hollow

By • Sep 14th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Hollow
Signature Theatre
Signature Theatre
Through October 16th
90 minutes
$72-$77
Reviewed September 10th, 2011

The Hollow is a reinterpretation of Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” The Hollow tells of the adventures of schoolmaster Ichabod Crane and his interactions with the people of Tarrytown, a village in rural New York during the 1790s.

My only recollection of the Sleepy Hollow tale is the Headless Horseman as told by Walt Disney in an animated movie released in 1949. So I was expecting a ghost story, full of tension, playing on the fears of the audience. What I saw was an interesting love story between the former schoolmistress and the new schoolmaster, with the headless horseman running as an undercurrent to what was happening in the town.

Sam Ludwig made Ichabod Crane a trusting young man, a nice contrast to the distrustful townspeople. His kind manner upon meeting young Pieter Claassen (Noah Chiet) instantly allowed the audience to connect with Crane. Pieter takes Ichabod to meet the former school mistress, Katrina Van Tassel (Whitney Bashor). Katrina is very open to meeting Ichabod, and as Ichabod immediately starts to share new stories with Pieter and Katrina, it is obvious they have accepted him. Ichabod and Katrina’s relationship built slowly and believably. So when others in the town dislike the stories, and by extension Ichabod himself, simply because the stories are not from the Bible, there is a great amount of tension.

Parts of the show (the distrust of outsiders, supernatural beings, jealousy, deceit) felt as if they were built from ideas in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. The time period of course contributes to that feeling. There is also a fair amount of humor, such as the different ways that the townspeople handle Ichabod’s books.

Derek McLane’s set was evocative, suggesting both the trees of the forest and a web. While the sounds and lights representing the Horseman were never fully explained in the story, those scenes in the forest were very effective. Were people imaging things, or was there really a presence of some sort out there? The townspeople also had a bizarre notion of honoring the Horseman’s victims would somehow serve as a talisman against him. The music and songs of The Hollow were nice, but didn’t really resonate. There isn’t a number you’ll be humming as you leave the theatre.

The Hollow is a part of Signature’s American Musical Voices Project Repertory Series, where they have developed two new musicals performing in repertory. The Boy Detective Fails is the other musical. Overall, The Hollow explores love (parent-child, husband-wife, drunkard-ale, fiance-betrothed) within the framework of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, yet never really explains anything.

Photo Gallery

Ichabod Crane (Sam Ludwig) makes his first appearance in the sleepy town of Tarrytown Whiney Bashor (as Katrina Van Tassel) is startled by something in the hollow
Ichabod Crane (Sam Ludwig) makes his first appearance in the sleepy town of Tarrytown
Whiney Bashor (as Katrina Van Tassel) is startled by something in the hollow
The devoted residents of Tarrytown read from the Good Book Henriette Van Brunt (Sherri L. Edelen) teaches little Pieter (Noah Chiet) to 'Be Not Afraid.'
The devoted residents of Tarrytown read from the Good Book
Henriette Van Brunt (Sherri L. Edelen) teaches little Pieter (Noah Chiet) to “Be Not Afraid.”
Katrina Van Tassel (Whitney Bashor) is introduced to a forbidden book from her new friend Ichabod Crane (Sam Ludwig) Baltus Van Tassel (Harry A. Winter) gives his daughter (Whitney Bashor) a reassuring embrace
Katrina Van Tassel (Whitney Bashor) is introduced to a forbidden book from her new friend Ichabod Crane (Sam Ludwig)
Baltus Van Tassel (Harry A. Winter) gives his daughter (Whitney Bashor) a reassuring embrace
Sam Ludwig (as Ichabod Crane) and Whitney Bashor (as Katrina Van Tassel) come together to fight off the mysterious headless horseman Sam Ludwig (center, as Ichabod Crane) finds himself surrounded by the frightened residents of Tarrytown
Sam Ludwig (as Ichabod Crane) and Whitney Bashor (as Katrina Van Tassel) come together to fight off the mysterious headless horseman
Sam Ludwig (center, as Ichabod Crane) finds himself surrounded by the frightened residents of Tarrytown

Photos by Scott Suchman

Cast

  • Katrina Van Tassel: Whitney Bashor
  • Brom Van Brunt: Evan Casey
  • Pieter Claassen: Noah Chiet
  • Henriette Van Brunt: Sherri L. Edelen
  • Constable Vos: James Gardiner
  • Ichabod Crane: Sam Ludwig
  • Marie Claassen: Tracy Lynn Olivera
  • Xandra Vos: Margo Seibert
  • Charles Claassen: Thomas Adrian Simpson
  • Ellis Buren: Russell Sunday
  • Baltus Van Tassel: Harry A. Winter

Understudies

  • Katrina Van Tussel: Madeline Botteri
  • Baltus Van Tussel: Cory Cunningham
  • Ellis Buren/Charles Claassen: Christopher Mueller
  • Constable Vos: Stephen Russell Murray
  • Ichabod Crane: Glen North
  • Xandra Vos: Kristin Reigler
  • Brom Van Brunt: Tim Rogan
  • Henriette Van Brunt/Marie Claassen: Weslie Woodley

Crew

  • Scenic Design: Derek McLane
  • Costume Design: Kathleen Geldard
  • Lighting Design: Chris Lee
  • Sound Design: Matt Rowe
  • Production Stage Manager: Kerry Epstein
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Lacey Talero
  • Director of Production: Michael D. Curry
  • Orchestrations: Michael Moris
  • Music Direction: Gabriel Mangiante
  • Directed by: Matthew Gardiner

Musicians

  • Piano/Conductor: Gabriel Mangiante
  • Woodwinds: Lee Lachman
  • Violin: Andrea Vercoe
  • Cello: Aron Rider
  • Keyboard: Jacob Kidder
  • Percussion: Gary Tilman

Disclaimer: Signature Theatre provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has performed in local productions, but prefers to be behind the scenes. Mike earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Online News Association.

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