SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. — Sleepy Hollow, New York is embracing the legend that bears its name.
The village is hosting a gravity-defying theatrical reimagining to mark the bicentennial of Washington Irving’s spooky tale of the Headless Horseman and CBS2’s Tony Aiello got an exclusive sneak peek.
The Headless Horseman is inescapable in Sleepy Hollow, home of the historic church that helped inspire Irving, who is buried in the graveyard and appearing from the great beyond.
A digital clone of Irving is one high-tech element of “The Legend,” a high-flying circus arts reimagining of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
“He says in the opening prologue, ‘I came back 200 years later to explain what I really meant by the legend,’ and that’s how the show progresses,” said writer Carlo Pellegrini.
“People want to believe in ghosts and things like that and it’s fun to do that,” said Sleepy Hollow Mayor Ken Wray. “And then you get here and you get into the woods, you get into the cemetery and go ‘Yeah, I could see this happening here.'”
Wray said restaging the legend in the village Irving made famous marks an important milestone.
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was published in the U.S. in 1820, but Sleepy Hollow is treating 2022 as the bicentennial because of the pandemic.
Times change and, 200 years later, the character of Katrina Van Tassel is much more than the pretty face that inspires a rivalry in Irving’s tale.
“We figured, let’s bring it up to contemporary times and make Katrina that powerful woman who almost becomes the leader of the story,” said director Hilary Sweeney.
A duel between Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane shows off the acrobatic skill of the performers who will retell the local legend every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 16, taking the tale of the Headless Horseman to new heights.
A state grant is supporting the show to help Sleepy Hollow develop its tourism industry.
“The Legend” runs 90 minutes. Advance tickets are $30.