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Revels Houston
News Release
Thursday, November 05, 2009

Revels Houston presents The Christmas Revels
A Medieval Celebration of the Winter Solstice

HOUSTON, TX - Revels Houston presents its 19th annual production of The Christmas Revels, this year transporting audiences to Medieval England for a celebration of the Winter Solstice. Seven performances will take place over two weekends, December 12-13 and December 19-20, on the University of Houston campus in the Wortham Theater, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. The show, not seen in Houston in a decade, features a charming story line, spirited chants from the Medieval era and an enthusiastic cast of about 60 singers, actors and dancers. Tickets are on sale online at www.revelshouston.org, or through the Revels Houston box office at 713-669-9528.

The Revels Production

Essentially a comedy with enough conflicts to ramp up the drama and the fun, the opening scene finds the Fool using his hilarious antics to entertain the crowd gathered at the banquet hall of a Medieval castle in England. The gathering awaits the arrival of the King, who finally enters to lead the greatly anticipated solstice celebration. The show comes complete with merrymaking, singing, frivolity and a Renaissance band. As always, expect a splash of audience participation. 

Revels artistic director Beth Sanford selected this show for a variety of reasons. “It was such a hit the last time we did it ten years ago,” she says. “The audience can really relate to the story. The characters play off each other so well; it resembles today's political scene. It's a very timely show.” Sanford was also pleased that Larry Pisoni (the Fool) was available. “He is well-known for his performance in the 1999 production. Everything just fell into place, and this seemed like the perfect year to bring the show back,” says Sanford.

The Revels Music

Revels Houston also is pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca Vaughn as music director. Vaughn directed the children's chorus for Revels Houston in seasons past and has been a music educator for the last two years. “We are so fortunate to have Rebecca on board,” says Sanford. “She's a fresh new talent and has done a wonderful job with the children's chorus. It's in keeping with Revels tradition to promote from within, and we are delighted that Rebecca was ready to step up to the plate.”

Vaughn is equally excited to begin her tenure as music director with this particular show. “It's so raucous and fun,” she says. “There are robust drinking songs that require a good dose of theatricality along with plenty of chants and Old English music. The music is really the driving force of this show.” Special features include the Paragon Brass Ensemble and the early music group Austin Troubadours.

The Revels Story

Revels began with John Langstaff, who recreated the joy of celebrating holiday music with friends and family in a 1957 revue. Although the show was a critical success, it failed financially. In 1970, NBC contacted Langstaff to recreate the show for a television special with Dustin Hoffman as the dragon. Langstaff's daughter, Carol, decided to give the stage show one more try at Sanders Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, an event that eventually launched Revels organizations in major cities across the U.S. When John's nephew, David Langstaff, moved to Houston in 1991, the path was paved for Revels Houston.

PERFORMANCES

Saturday, December 12, 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 13, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 19, 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 20, 2:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

TICKETS

Lower level: Adults $35; Children 12 and under $17.50

Upper level: Adults $25; Children 12 and under $12.50

Buy online starting October 15 at www.revelshouston.org and through the Revels Houston box office at 713-669-9528. Group discounts are available.

WHERE

University of Houston campus at the Wortham Theater in the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Entrance 16, Building 507. Directions and Parking information at www.revelshouston.org.

ABOUT REVELS HOUSTON:

Revels Houston is a community-based, nonprofit performing arts organization committed to the preservation of multi-cultural traditions through family-oriented productions, celebrations and educational outreach programs. Cultural traditions are celebrated through the medium of music, dance and drama. Revels Houston is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and the Texas Commission on the Arts.




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