New Jersey Stage

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

East Lynne Theater Company presents an ASL performance of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- On Friday, August 23, at 8:30p.m., the award-winning East Lynne Theater Company will present an American Sign Language Interpretation of the well-reviewed "Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

     It was during last season's successful "The Poe Mysteries," that ELTC's artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth, asked James Rana if he would be interested in tackling Washington Irving's supernatural story. The three tales that Rana adapted from Poe contain dense sentence structures and dialogue – not easy to adapt. The challenge with "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is that there is only one line of dialogue in the whole story.  A play is dialogue, so Rana had to create what characters were saying, and still remain true to this classic American story about the schoolmaster from Connecticut trying to live among the superstitious people of Tarrytown, New York. The names of Ichabod Crane, Katrina Van Tassell, Brom Bones, and the Headless Horseman are part of America’s folklore.

     In the role of Ichabod Crane, is Matt Baxter Luceno, who was in ELTC's "It Pays to Advertise" last season. Cast members who play many roles include ELTC favorites Suzanne Dawson ("Dulcy"), Thomas Raniszewski ("The Poe Mysteries"), and John Cameron Weber ("The Dictator").  New to ELTC are Elisa Pupko and Justin Bennett. Elisa was recently in "The Crucible" at The Gallery Players in Brooklyn and is a host for About.Com. Justin's New York credits include "Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)." He is directing "Separate Tables" in the fall in NYC.

      Audiences, as well as critics in New York City and South Jersey, are praising this world premiere production, and ticket sales are doing well in Cape May, and at Ocean Professional Theatre Company in Barnegat, where this productions transfers to in October.  The show attracts ages eight through eighty-eight.  

     Since the early 1990's, ELTC has offered ASL performances for at least one night for each of three mainstage productions yearly. The theatrical ASL interpreters are Kathy Filippo and Gina Lanza, who have performed many times for ELTC. The process involves them seeing the production at least once, plus going over the script several times to figure out who will interpret which roles, and in many cases, come up with signage for unusual names and words.

     "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" runs through August 31, with an 8:30 curtain, and a Wednesday through Saturday schedule. Performances are at The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, where ELTC is in residence, at 500 Hughes Street, a block off the beach at the corner of Hughes and Decatur. Tickets are $30 general admission, $25 for seniors (ages 62 and over), $15 for full-time students, and anyone ages 12 and under is free.  For reservations and information, call ELTC at 609-884-5898 or go online to

     East Lynne's production of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" would not be possible without season sponsors Curran Investment Management, Aleathea's Restaurant, and The Henry Sawyer Inn, and show sponsor The Washington Inn; The NJ Dept. of State, Division of Travel and Tourism; NJ State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the generosity of many advertisers and patrons.