Metro Weekly

Creative Cauldron Stirs Up Four Musicals

The company celebrates its 20th anniversary with a full season of entirely original works, including The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Creative Cauldron --Ichabod: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Creative Cauldron’s Ichabod: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Creative Cauldron celebrates its 20th anniversary with a full season of entirely original works, including five musicals, all presented in an intimate, flexible venue originally known as ArtSpace Falls Church.

“Our 20th year marks the perfect opportunity to celebrate creativity by supporting the work of individual artists,” says Laura Connors Hull, the company’s founder and producing artistic director.

Notably, four of those five musicals feature original music by the organization’s prolific in-house music-making duo of composer Matt Conner and lyricist Stephen Gregory Smith.

The musical lineup includes two revivals from the couple — with the December return of their original holiday show The Christmas Angel, a Dickensian fairy tale based on a 1910 novella, and the spring reprise of their musical spin through Hans Christian Andersen’s acclaimed classic staged by and featuring area students participating in the company’s signature education program the Learning Theater Ensemble.

Next month offers another Learning Theater production of a Conner-Smith musical, this one an adaptation of George MacDonald’s classic novel The Princess and the Goblin, helmed by the company’s founding producing director Laura Conners Hull.

As far as is publicly known, Conner and Smith play no part in the only non-musical play of the season, February’s Bold New Works Premiere of Diagnosed, written and directed by Helen Hayes Award-winning actress Iyona Blake.

And the season will draw to a close at the top of June with the only non-Conner-Smith musical in the bunch: a regional premiere of the Audrey Hepburn-focused Audrey: The New Musical featuring book, music, and lyrics by Danielle Moore.

But the 2022-23 Season commenced earlier this month with Conner-Smith’s musical adaptation of what the company bills as “America’s original ghost story,” Ichabod: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Washington Irving’s classic tale about a mysterious new school teacher and a Headless Horseman in a quiet hamlet comes to life with humor, music, and fully realized characters, with direction by Conner and Smith plus musical direction by Paige Rammelkamp.

Colum Goebelbecker portrays Ichabod opposite Brooke Bloomquist as his love interest Katrina Van Tassel, with Bobby Libby playing Ichabod’s rival Brom Bones, Erin Granfield as Katrina’s mother, James Myers as Katrina’s father and gentleman farmer, and Lenny Mendez as the oldest student and schoolroom leader Hendrika.

Those professional actors will be joined by students from the organization’s Musical Theater Training Ensemble for this world-premiere production characterized as being “told through the eyes of the school children in Ichabod’s classroom,” and further touted as having “the fun and chill of a tale told round the campfire.”

Through Oct. 30. Creative Cauldron, 410 South Maple Ave. Retail 116. Tickets are $25 to $45. Visit www.creativecauldron.org or call 703-436-9948.

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