Puget Sound Revels present ‘The Christmas Revels’ A mid-winter celebration of traditional music, dance and drama

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The ever popular Christmas Revels returns to the Rialto Theater for a series of shows beginning Dec. 15. This year’s show revives the holiday spirit of a 17th- century English village. PHOTO COURTESY OF PUGET SOUND REVELS

Revels is a contemporary series of performances, usually given at Christmas time, which involve singing, dancing, recitals, silly skits, and maybe some audience participation. Performers are most often local, non-professional and frequently young.

The productions hearken to English theatrical forms of the 16th century and earlier. Professional singers, actors and musicians are mixed with talented amateurs and tradition-bearers, often brought in to share a culture’s music, dance or ritual in an authentic manner. There is almost always a children’s chorus that performs songs and games from the period or location that the performance is focused on.

Each year’s Christmas Revels draws upon a different era or culture’s Christmas and winter solstice traditions. In the past, Puget Sound Revels have featured traditions from Nordic countries, 1930s Appalachia, Old Bavaria, Victorian England, 18th century Scotland, Eastern Europe, French Canada, Breton, Ireland, the Italian Renaissance and Celtic traditions.

This year, the Puget Sound Revels will be celebrating in a rural English village setting of the seventh century, where the doings of the wee folk – fairies, hobs, brownies and such – were part of everyday life. They could be helpful and kind or mischievous, or downright troublesome. If caught in their world, it takes magic to escape them.

This year’s performance includes actor Tony Curry and The Twimble Tunesters, made up of Jacob Breedlove, Ben Neubauer and Esther Saulle. The show also features the Revels’ adult and children’s choruses, the Seattle Brass Ensemble, an Abbots Bromley horn dance, a mummers play and more.

Expect singing, dancing, and storytelling. Expect beauty, mystery and hilarity. Bring family and friends to this lively concoction of folk tradition and high art that plays to sell-out audiences of all ages from throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

The Puget Sound Revels incorporated in 1992 and produced its first show, a Spring Revels, at the Scottish Rite Temple in Seattle in May 1993 followed by a Sea Revels at the same location in May 1994. The first Christmas Revels followed the same year in December 1994 at the Rialto Theater in Tacoma. There has been a Christmas Revels every year at the Rialto since 1994.

Throughout the year the Revels offers pub sings, house concerts and salons, outdoor celebrations and more. Their anchor production is The Christmas Revels, which involves 60 to 90 people on-stage. The heart of the show is a large chorus of adults and children (auditioned from the community) to which are added professional actors, storytellers, singers, dancers and instrumentalists. The volunteers’ enthusiasm energizes performances as their abilities are stretched to their maximum potential by the opportunity to work with seasoned performers. Each show is professionally lit and costumed and supported by professional instrumentalists.

The Christmas Revels

Saturday, Dec. 15, shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 16, shows at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (ASL interpreted)

Tuesday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Rialto Theater, 310 S. 9th St., Tacoma
Tickets: $19, $31, $36
Senior (65+)/students/groups (15+): $19, $27, $30
Children (12 and under): $12, $19, $25
Call the Box Office for the special discounts at (253) 591-5894.
Info: pugetsoundrevels.org or www.facebook.com/events/317419275742953

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