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‘Sleepy Hollow’ finds a new tune

Addison O’Donnell and Christine Borchick star as Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel in Lee Alucci’s original musical version of ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.’

How unlucky is Ichabod Crane?

First, he’s the kind of guy who attracts bullies the way tulips draw tourists to Amsterdam.

Second, he lives in a town where people are getting murdered.

Third, he’s in love with a fellow schoolteacher, Katrina Von Tassel — and she’s already keeping company with a natural bully named Brohm Bones.

Brohm Bones is “like every jerk you ever went to high school with,” said Lee Alucci, an actor/director who wrote his own musical version of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” for the Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts.

The show, which debuts tonight at the J.J. Ferrara Center in Hazleton, includes such familiar figures from Washington Irving’s folk tale as the three folks in the love triangle as well as a Hessian trooper, whose appearance coincides with the killings in a 1790 Dutch-style community of rural New York.

Joining them are characters who sprang from Alucci’s imagination, among them Heidi Von Ridewright, a young woman who’s pining for Brohm even as he pursues Katrina.

At one point, Alucci said, Heidi and Katrina share a poignant duet. “They sing about love from two different directions. One is looking at love as it goes away. The other is looking at love as it might be starting.”

Alucci, who plays the Hessian trooper/narrator in addition to directing the show, worked on the musical score with Addison O’Donnell, the teenage actor who plays Ichabod.

“There’s a little bit of everything, musically,” Alucci said, mentioning songs that fit into rock and pop genres as well as a number Katrina sings to her elderly father that’s “almost like a lullaby, almost like a church hymn.”

The story has its humorous moments, as when the police chief discusses how everyone could be a murder suspect, from the youngest schoolchild to the chief himself.

It also has a helping of Halloween suspense, Alucci said, but there’s no gore.

“The show is actually a comedy/musical/drama/mystery,” he said. “There’s nothing grotesque or bloody. We wanted to keep it completely family friendly. My 7-year-old son will go, and I know he’ll be perfectly fine.”

As for another seasonal project, PTPA will have auditions for “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the Ferrara Center.

If you go

Who: Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts

What: ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’

When: 7 tonight and Saturday night, 3 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Oct. 30 and 1 p.m. Oct. 31. Dinner is 90 minutes before show time.

Where: J.J. Ferrara Center, 212 W. Broad St., Hazleton

Tickets $15, $12, $8 for show only; $28, $24, $16 for dinner and show

More info: www.ptpashows.org or 454-5451

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