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East County Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 4 months ago

Legend of Sleepy Hollow expands at the Sarasota Polo Club in Lakewood Ranch

Four performances of the Washington Irving classic will be part of a fall festival.
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

Jeffery Kin, the artistic director of The Players Centre for Performing Arts, was doing his best to be politically correct.

He was talking about how he searched through the many scripts for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to find one that would be most appropriate for the four scheduled performances Oct. 19 at the Sarasota Polo Club in Lakewood Ranch.

"We went through lots of different versions of the scripts," Kin said. "We were looking for what works best in an outdoor facility.

"We also had to look at the historic period, where some of the words were complicated. Did we want to replicate early American dialogue?"

So you want to engage the children without boring the adults?

"Exactly," Kin said with a laugh.

This will be the third consecutive year The Players is presenting Legend of Sleepy Hollow at the Sarasota Polo Club and the hope, for both The Players and sponsor Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, is that it becomes a tradition.

The upcoming performance, will be quite different from the first two years in that the show has been turned into a festival. Kin said the hope is for the public to realize all the things The Players can provide for the community. 

"We sat down with SMR and asked, 'How can we make this better?" Kin said. "We thought a daytime festival would attract attention to the things the theater does. There will be Mommy and Me sing-alongs, lessons on how to do a "Thriller" dance, improv performances, mask painting and a costume sale."

The four performances of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow will run at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Each performance will be an hour in length to accommodate children's shorter attention span. Families can enjoy all the other festival highlights either before or after the show.

The admission — $20 for adults, $10 for students 24 and younger or a $40 family four-pack — includes the festival and one performance of the show. Wrist bands will be issued that will be coded depending on which time is picked. 

Kin said the actors will need to be at their best because the set will be minimal and there will be little ability to change the mood with lighting. The actors will have to transform the viewers to another time with their ability and their costumes. Amanda Heisey will direct the performances.

Each show will seat about 120 people to keep things intimate. Kin said the actors will be closer to the audience this year as opposed to years past.

Kin said he is saying weather prayers, but the next day, Sunday, will be a rain date if needed. 

He also wanted to note the contributions of James and Misdee Miller, the owners of the Sarasota Polo Club, along with their staff members.

"The reality is that this show is a collaboration," Kin said. "The new owners are fans of The Players. They understand what we are trying to accomplish. They have been amazing, opening the doors to us."

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