About the Show, 

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”


A singular performance

by Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk,

with live musical accompaniment by Jim Keyes



The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Presents a decapitated ghost from the American Revolution galloping after a Connecticut Yankee schoolmaster. Written in 1819 by Washington Irving this gothic-romance went “viral,” bringing the author wealth and fame. “The Legend’s iconic Headless Horseman continues to haunt us today.  Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk’s solo show offers a dramatic retelling of this American classic. True to the author's original story, the performance streamlines with spirited action, jump-starts, and wit. 


Long noted for his educational theater programs given to school children, Mr. Kruk began performing Irving’s classic for Historic Hudson Valley in 1996. Currently, his October run of fifty shows at Sleepy Hollow's Old Dutch Church, sell out before opening night. Audiences appreciate Kruk's animated embodying of Irving's iconic characters.  He pipes and preens as Ichabod Crane delivers a rollicking Brom Bones and a coquettish Katrina Van Tassel.  The Dutch New-Yorkers of Sleepy Hollow from the tremulous Farmer Brouwer to the braggadocious Doffue Martling leap with life from the storyteller’s varied voices and gestures. 


Composer Jim Keyes created an original music to accent Kruk’s telling. Complete with period melodies, eerie atmospherics, character motifs Keyes does all on his tailored pipe organ. His live accompaniment gives tingles and thunders. 



Performance Details


Booking Information: jonathankruk@gmail.com


Running Time: About fifty-five minutes,

Best for ages ten and up. 

School Shows

Colleges - Ask for a performance, followed by a talk on Irving's sources  with Q & A for students

Libraries, Church Venues - Ask about non-profit discounts

Regional Theaters - Ask about shared ticket sale profits 


Availability:  Book at least six months in advance in Late September, Weekdays in October, November. 

You may see  Historic Hudson Valley's  production of "Irving's Legend." October Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and on Halloween. 


The show can adapt to most stage settings. 


About Jonathan Kruk 


Jonathan Kruk, M.A. education theater, has enjoyed a full-time career as a professional storyteller since 1989.  Performing annually at over two hundred venues,  he's engaged audiences at countless schools, libraries, historic sites, and festivals. Currently, he is a BOCES listed Artist -Educator, offering virtual performances and workshops

Jonathan Kruk was selected “Best Storyteller in the Hudson Valley” and has been featured on The TODAY Show, ABC Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, the BBC, the National Geographic Channel,  radio WHUD, and WAMC "Listen with the Lights On." 


Author of “Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley”  and “Legends and Lore of the Hudson Highlands,” for The History Press,  Jonathan Kruk shares secrets and stories about the Washington Irving and the Headless Horseman at book talks. He’s earned two awards for his recording of Irving's original “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” He has seven other award-winning recordings for children and adults, including "Once Upon the Hudson" with folk musician Rich Bala.


Kruk and Keyes also collaborate on Jonathan’s solo performance of “A Christmas Carol.” 





 Here’s what people say about Jonathan Kruk’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Show…


We were quite enchanted by the stunning simplicity of the Old Dutch Church dressed in candle-light and quietude… (Jonathan Kruk) a singular spirited presence in bespoke sartorial splendor, beguiling the entire audience with myriad faces, voices, sounds, and gestures… an amazement… Just brilliant!  Sandy Saunders & Shelley Sams, Garrison, NY


When I saw Jonathan perform the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" last year, I was really impressed. I've never seen anyone bring the story to life so well--we had chills!  Lindy Ryan, Brunswick NJ


Kruk streamlines (The Legend’s) beautiful words into a 50-minute dramatic retelling. The audiences have responded in kind. Every year Kruk sells out Irving’s Legend before the performances even begin. Historic Hudson Valley, which sells tickets for the run, has helped the Lower Hudson Valley become a go-to spot around Halloween-time. Its successful Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze and Horseman’s Hollow attractions are packed with visitors, and Kruk’s work, which is performed in the shadows of the monuments at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, is equally popular.  John Stoles, Publisher, Hollywood Soap Box


Kruk throws himself into "The Legend" with abandon. Keyes’ score adds mood to the tale… In the quieter portions you could hear a pin drop, and while there is occasional laughter, by the time Kruk gets to Ichabod’s wild ride with the headless horseman, the crowd was literally sitting on the edge of their seats.

Such is the power of storytelling when done by a master, that one could feel the spirit of Irving descend on the congregation. ... When he speaks of the horseman being buried in the lonely churchyard, he gestures to a place not thirty feet from where he’s speaking. ... 

Kruk darts in and out of shadow during the performance, the old graveyard behind him through the windows, leaves blowing in the breeze. His only props are a lit jack-o-lantern, his tri-cornered hat and his walking stick, which he waves in the air at times, turns it horizontal for the reins of Gunpowder, Ichabod's horse, and slams it onto the floor for emphasis. Kruk alternated between dialogue, sound effects of the horse’s hooves, cries, yelps, his voice rising in pitch and fever with Keyes’ working the organ like a madman, and by the time the horseman threw his head at Ichabod, the crowd was utterly transfixed.  Todd Atteberry The History Trekker


He used dramatic tones to introduce the story and with glowing emotions, he embodies many of Irving's most intricate characters. Kruk … had every person in the church hanging on to the edge of their seats - never knowing when the next scare might come.  Kruk made it feel like we were hearing the story again for the first time ever! 2011 Tripadvisor.com 


...Try to attend an event inside the Old Dutch Church. Built in the late seventeenth century, the quaint interior offers no electricity or heat, just candles and a stove—perfect for master storyteller Jonathan Kruk's colorful rendition of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”   Lisa Van Allen, Fodor’s Travel


“Thrilling” Wall Street Journal

“Intrepid” New York Times

“Spellbinding” Broadway World

 Jonathan Kruk & His Storytelling


Jonathan Kruk’s passion for communication and education, lead to storytelling.  What started as original “Booczak Adventures” to entertain his rambunctious kid brother, turned into a full-time career in 1989.  He created performances for young children like “Finger Fables”  and “Stories to Step Into. ”  Jonathan is best known for his signature shows of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “A Christmas Carol.”  Now, he considers it a blessing to give about 500 performances annually at schools, libraries, historic sites, festivals, parties, workshops and more.

Born in El Paso, Texas,  Jonathan Kruk grew up on tall tales and daydreams in Westchester County. While pursuing a masters degree in educational theater at New York University, friends got Jonathan a gig entertaining at Abingdon Square Park in the middle of the city.  When kids abandoned the monkey bars, cyclone sprinkler and ice cream truck to listen, Jonathan, found his career calling.

Children adore Jonathan’s interactive fairy tales.  “Mr. Kruk was so good at telling stories that he made me feel like I was watching them,” declared a third grader recently.  Using varied voices, creative dramatics and language of the senses, his performances feature heroes on the Hudson, Greek mythology stories, finger fables, rainbow dragons, and witches who knot their noses to stop them from running.

Jonathan was selected “Best Storyteller in the Hudson Valley” by Hudson Valley Magazine.  The New York Times, called him “intrepid”  … “with a way with the spoken word.”  An artist educator with a masters degree, his school programs are BOCES registered for partial funding.  Jonathan’s eight recordings have earned Parent’s Choice and other honors.  He’s been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, Al-Jazeera America, The O’Reilly Factor, National Geographic and the History Channel.

He started performing “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in 1996.  He's entering his ninth season with forty-five performances at the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow.  October 5-31, 2018

His book published in 2011 by The History Press,  Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow & the Hudson Valley tells the back stories of the varied spirits mentioned by Irving in his classic. Further, it shares the inspiration and sources of the galloping horseman’s lost head.  

Jonathan and his wife, actress and filmmaker Andrea Sadler, live in a cottage in the Hudson Highlands, swimming, biking, hiking, communing with the Elfin folk and collecting bricks.  They recently created Fox and Crow Productions to produce storytelling videos, workshops and children's books.