With the 200th anniversary of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” approaching, this fall season promises to offer a wide-range of activities and events to help celebrate the Legend. Perhaps none will be as unique as a new signature event from Historic Hudson Valley and Brian Clowdus Experiences, “The Sleepy Hollow Experience,” coming to Washington Irving’s Sunnyside next month.
After critically-acclaimed, sold-out performances around the country, this outdoor, immersive theater event will be seen for the first time in the tri-state area. The River Journal spoke with Rob Schweitzer, Vice President of Communications & Commerce for Historic Hudson Valley, and the event Creator and Producer, Brian Clowdus.
“Historic Hudson Valley is thrilled to add to its Halloween-themed event roster, and to celebrate the legacy of Washington Irving with our partner Brian Clowdus Experiences,” said Schweitzer. “‘The Sleepy Hollow Experience’ is an interactive theatrical adventure and an innovative, fresh take on America’s most famous ghost story. I had seen Brian’s show at Old Sturbridge Village and knew immediately that it had to come to our site. It’s really something special, and we are really excited to introduce it as part of the bi-centennial celebration.”
Clowdus has been breaking boundaries since the beginning of his career, by producing shows that do so much more than just tell a story. They immerse audiences for experiences in the most unique, site-specific locations that are all-consuming, mesmerizing, and compelling. This production features live, professional musicians and singers, who will perform the scenes in various locations around the estate and engage with audience members. Theater-goers will be guided by storytellers from scene to scene, meeting Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel, imbibing in drinks and snacks during the famous party scene at the Van Tassel’s, and, in a thrilling climax, encounter the Headless Horseman himself.
“The Headless Horseman has gone all across the country, but having him ride on the estate of the man who created him is unreal,” said Clowdus. “‘The Sleepy Hollow Experience’ has been produced in four different regions, but having it come to life on the steps of Washington Irving’s home is an actual dream come true. The past seven years have been leading to this moment and I can’t wait to produce the most spectacular and immersive ‘Sleepy Hollow Experience’ to date.”
It’s that combination of a live, immersive experience which changes with each performance and the venue that should make this particular production so special. “Rob invited me down this past Halloween, and we looked at several different locations, but when I stepped onto Washington Irving’s estate I said ‘This is it, everything is here!’ Although the concept is the same, each of the performances have their own local flavor based on the venue. I’m really excited to see the shape that this one takes.”
In addition to the one-of-a-kind venue and audience participation, the ‘Sleepy Hollow Experience’ will feature top-quality, New York actors and musicians. “We got some incredible New York actors, the environment is incredible,” continued Clowdus. “This is unlike any of the other offerings Historic Hudson Valley has in its portfolio. If you’re thinking about going into New York City to see a Broadway show, you can actually see a Broadway-caliber show in your own backyard on the estate of Washington Irving.”
Details: The Sleepy Hollow Experience
Performances are scheduled for every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October, plus Halloween and the first weekend of November. Performances are at 6:30pm and 8:30pm (5:30pm and 7:30pm on November 3). Tickets are available online at http://www.hudsonvalley.org or by calling 914-366-6900. Historic Hudson Valley members receive a 10% per ticket discount. The experience is recommended for all ages.
Washington Irving’s Sunnyside is at 3 W Sunnyside Lane in Irvington.