- Book by Hunter Foster
- Music & Lyrics by Matt Conner
- Based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
- Produced by Signature Theatre
- Scenic Design Derek McLane
- Costume Design Kathleen Geldard
- Lighting Design Chris Lee
- Sound Design Matt Rowe
- Orchestrations Michael Morris
- Music Directon Gabriel Mangiante
- Directed by Matthew Gardiner
From the composer of Nevermore and Partial Eclipse, The Hollow is a chilling musical reinterpretation of the classic thriller The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In a devout 18th century village, a mysterious stranger spreading radically new ideas challenges the traditional order. However, when rumors spread of a headless horseman murdering friends and neighbors, the townsfolk blame the outsider for this demonic curse.
As is usual with our group, before we decide as individuals if the show was successful, that is, do we like the show, we are charged with the task through conversation to come to some understanding of what, through their efforts, the creators of a piece of a music-theatre intended to create.
Here are some questions I’d like all of you to reconsider and respond to. Some of us read the story on which the show is based and may wish to consider both in our exploration of this show.
Washington Irving opens his story with the following passage
“Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquility.”
Question: Did the set, music and opening scene recreate the atmosphere of the original and to what end?
Washington Irving again:
“The cognomen of Crane was not inapplicable to his person. He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield…How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! And how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scourings!
Question: Ichabod Crane stands out as a strong caricature in our literary consciousness, yet this personage re-created for this stage was a handsome leading man. So, why might the creators of The Hollow made this choice?
On the Dramatic Plot:
In Washington’s Irving’s tale, Katrina Van Tassel never gives the luckless schoolteacher the time of day, and Brom is “full of mettle and mischief” who may have played a trick on Ichabod to send packing the would-be suitor of his girl.
Question: What do the creators intend us to believe happened to Ichabod and the other characters who disappear in The Hollow? And why is the Headless Horsemen never seen except as a lighting and sound effect?
Are there performances that created compelling characters that provided a new color or depth to this work?
What musical style or styles is composer Matt Connor working with to create the soundscape of this piece?
How did the orchestration seem to support or not Connor’s compositional style? Is there a tune that stands out for you and why?