The Headless Horseman Comes to Sarasota Polo Field



On any other night, the sound of hooves on the Sarasota Polo Field would give little cause for concern, but with the approach of All Hallow’s Eve they belie a more sinister presence. The headless horseman roams these grounds, they say, and only the new schoolmaster, Ichabod Crane, can get to the bottom of the gruesome mystery. Produced by The Players Centre For Performing Arts, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow comes to the Sarasota Polo Club tonight and tomorrow night, bringing a whole host of family-friendly activities before the show and even incorporating a real horse in the production.

A rare outdoor production from The Players, Sleepy Hollow sees a cast of 13 actors (and that one horse) bringing Washington Irving’s Halloween classic to life under the direction of Alyssa Goudy, taking over for Sara Logan, who directed last year’s production. “Sleepy Hollow is such an iconic tale,” says Goudy of stepping into the hotseat midway through production. “The opportunity to take this classic story and put my own little touch to it in bringing out Ichabod’s humor or Katrina’s sassiness or Brom’s toughness is really rewarding.”

And whereas last year involved a lot of experimentation (“Shooting from the hip,” says Goudy, or “panicking,” she jokes), being the first time producing a show outdoors with no control over the lighting and nominal control over the hoofed costar, this year sees the production ironing out the wrinkles for an even more exciting show. Beginning at 6pm sharp, the play lasts for a quick and rollicking hour, closing just in time for the sun to set with the audience applause. And swapping last year’s metal bleachers for single chairs, Goudy promises more comfortable, and less freezing, posteriors for the peanut gallery.

More than just a show, a $25 dollar ticket ($12 for kids under 15) grants access to not only Sleepy Hollow, but the Tarrytown walkthrough experience, which opens at 5pm, an hour before the show. Organized in conjunction with the folks from Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Tarrytown brings food trucks, cinnamon popcorn and caramel apples to munch on, as well as face-painting, caricature artists and photo booths and games for kids and parents. “It’s just a chance to come out and have some fun,” says Goudy, “and to really get in the Halloween mood.”

With only two days left (tonight and Saturday night) in this production’s limited four-day run, time is short. Space is limited to 200 people per night, and tickets are going fast. “You can try to get tickets at the door,” says Goudy, “but I don’t guarantee it.”

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a special production from Players Centre for Performing Arts, runs tonight at 6pm, with a final show tomorrow at 6pm. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for children under 15.


Pictured: A scene from last year's production of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" from The Players Centre for Performing Arts.

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