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An older performance of "Welcome to Sleepy Hollow," a musical written by Heather Megill based on the classic ghost story. Courtesy photo.

Oceanside Theatre Company presents ‘Sleepy Hollow’ musical

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside Theatre Company presents “Welcome to Sleepy Hollow,” a musical written by Oceanside playwright Heather Megill and directed by Kandace Crystal, beginning Oct. 6 and running through Oct. 29 at the historic Sunshine Brooks Theater.

Originally commissioned for Encore Youth Theatre in 2001, Megill’s play is an updated version of the classic tale of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” featuring a contemporary musical theater score with a steampunk aesthetic.

Megill gave life to many of the characters, including the Woman in White and Katrina Van Tassel, Ichabod Crane’s love interest whose role in the original short story was overshadowed by descriptions of her father’s land and dinners.

“Katrina’s journey through the story is the most critical perspective to tell,” Megill said. “Hers is a coming-of-age story we all can relate to. She is the connection between Ichabod and the other townspeople and without her, the characters float around without an anchor to reality. She gives depth to a story that could easily slip into a world of silly caricatures and absurd circumstances.”

Megill’s musical develops Katrina’s character from the start with the young woman’s insistence that she’s outgrown the village school in Sleepy Hollow. When an unwanted suitor comes knocking and her parents insist that it’s school or marriage, she decides to give her education another chance. Her curiosity for learning is soon rekindled by Ichabod, the new teacher whose intelligence and interests enrapture her.

Unfortunately, her jilted would-be lover Brom, the town bully, isn’t the only obstacle in the way of her budding romance with the new headmaster. Shortly after arriving to town, Ichabod is haunted by the Woman in White and learns of the town’s horrifying history and legend of the Headless Horseman.

Under the direction of Crystal, who recently gained critical acclaim in the one-woman show “Neat,” a Scripps Ranch Theatre and Loud Fridge co-production, “Welcome to Sleepy Hollow” promises to be brought even further into the modern era.

“We tend to forget about the talent in our backyard – my goal is to amplify the voices right here in San Diego County,” Crystal said. “It’s an honor to be able to do this with a playwright like Heather, who is open to casting to all gender identities and ethnicities to best represent our talent pool in San Diego. I want “Sleepy Hollow” to be an event at OTC, not just another show.”

Based on the classic ghost story, “Welcome to Sleepy Hollow” is a show that aims to appeal to an all-ages audience.

“What better way to celebrate the fall season than with an updated take on a timeless ghost story?” said Managing Director Alex Goodman. “OTC is excited to bring back the work of Heather McGill after a successful return to the Brooks with ‘Not Your Normal Nutcracker’ in December 2023. We hope this large ensemble musical will get audiences in the spirit of Halloween with its infectious musical numbers and Disney’s ‘Haunted Mansion’-level spooky fun.”

Performance dates include a preview night at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, with the official opening night on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. and a matinee on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. Following performances are scheduled for Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. at Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. until Oct. 29.

The Brooks Theatre is located at 217 N. Coast Highway in Oceanside. Tickets range in price from $20 to $50 and are available at

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