There was no sleeping in Sleepy Hollow when Washington Irving's classic tale of the headless horseman versus schoolmaster Ichabod Crane galloped onto the Pearl Tyner Auditorium stage last weekend.
The Crestview High School drama department and Thespian Society production was punchy and fun, with exquisite costuming, perfect casting and a nice, moody backdrop.
Some good news and bad news came from the production.
Bad news first:
Just when we get to see what he can do in a starring role, senior Carmine Harrell, who played Ichabod, is graduating and planning to study music at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Good for Carmine, bad for us.
More bad news.
Cheyenne Baxter, who engagingly and charmingly played Katrina, also is graduating, following an impressive stage debut.
But the good news is we got to see what junior Wesley Barlow — who played the bad guy, Brom Bones — can do on stage, and we were impressed, especially when he sang. We look forward to seeing him in upcoming productions.
In fact, 14 members of the cast and crew are seniors and though we wish them well, we'll miss them and their talents.
Mac Sticha, another enjoyable senior, was Farmer Stuyvesant, a community leader who nicely sums up Sleepy Hollow when he sings, "We're superstitious Yankee folk," setting the stage for ghostly goings on.
As Brom Bones' toady Yost Van Ripper, Michael Brooks was dependable for comic relief, especially when crowned with a dunce cap in Ichabod's classroom.
Dominique Acol and Jill Cumbia as Katrina's friends, Hilda and Greta, were enjoyable. Jill drew laughter when she pined, "I'm almost 17 — practically an old maid."
Director, drama teacher and Thespian troupe adviser Annette Gebhardt was bursting with pride on Friday's opening night.
"It just didn't feel like opening night because the kids were so prepared," she said.
She particularly praised the production’s leading man.
"Carmine has such a good feel for the role," Gebhardt said. "He's a natural performer. He has such good instinct.”
From the show's moody graveyard opening, with impressive blacklight effects as ghosts rise form their graves, to the ending with the schoolmaster’s mysterious disappearance, the CHS spring musical was a pleasant mixture of music, comedy and spookiness.
"I am just so proud of everyone involved!" Gebhardt said after the show's weekend run.
Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.