Revels Houston performs in 20th anniversary show

December 10, 2010 6:37:21 AM PST
Revels Houston brings a variety of accomplished performers to the stage for The Christmas Revels ? A Celtic Celebration of the Winter Solstice, the organization's 20th annual production. Early-music performers and Irish step dancers will join the cast and over 50 Revels Houston singers and dancers for this year's exciting and energy-packed production focusing on the traditions and legends of the Celts. Six performances over two weekends, December 11-12 and December 18-19, on the University of Houston campus in the Wortham Theater, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, offer a great way to celebrate the holidays with family and friends.

Tickets are available online at www.revelshouston.org or through the Revels Houston box office at 713-668-3303.

Renowned multi-instrumentalist Al Cofrin brings his early-music ensemble Cymry (from the Welsh word for family) to this year's production of The Christmas Revels. Award-winning bagpiper E.J. Jones and fiddler extraordinaire Kristen Jensen join Cofrin in presenting authentic Celtic music in the show.

Cofrin will perform on Irish cittern, folk guitar and medieval bagpipes. He is a Riverrun Records recording artist, the director of the Istanpitta early-music ensemble and a member of the nationally known Celtic band Clandestine.

Jones will perform on highland bagpipes, Irish flute and smallpipes as well as providing vocals in the ensemble. He began making Scottish smallpipes in 2003 and played his own instruments on Ed Miller's 2006 release Never Frae My Mind and Robert Earl Keen's What I Really Mean.

Jensen plays fiddle and sings in Cymry. She also plays fiddle with Poor Man's Fortune, a Celtic band based in Austin, and performs with Gypsy Dance Theatre at the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Cass Irish Dancers, students from Cass Academy, will perform traditional Irish dances during The Christmas Revels performances. Established in 2005 by director Erin Cass, the academy's dancers perform and compete at the local, national and international level.

The Paragon Brass Ensemble returns for their 20th year in Revels Houston's annual production. Through its association with Young Audiences, the Paragon Brass Ensemble has introduced thousands of children to classical music each year. Ensemble members include Thomas Tillotson on trumpet, Travis Scheaffer on trombone, Will Samson on tuba, and Jack Westmoreland on percussion.

Barbara Lasater, last seen as Queen Elizabeth I in the 2008 Revels Houston production, makes her third appearance with the company. A professional actor and director with stage, screen and television credits, she teaches acting through her company, Barbara Lasater Acting Company.

Lasater's daughter-in-law also takes the stage for her first year with The Christmas Revels. Karen Lasater is an actor, dancer and musician who recently moved to Houston.

Actor, playwright and producer Bob Boudreaux makes his third appearance with Revels Houston this season. A Houston resident for the past 30 years, Boudreaux is well-known for his 26 years of service as a top-rated news anchor for the Houston ABC affiliate.

Brian Hamlin returns to Revels Houston for a second season. Hamlin received his bachelor's degree in acting and directing from the University of Houston and is a recognized actor, singer and stage-fight director who has lent his talents and skills to a number of local productions.

Dan Witschey has performed with Revels Houston since its founding, singing or playing double bass in more than half of the productions. He has frequently served on company's Board of Directors and Advisory Board. Witschey is a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani, where he has practiced law for 35 years.

Revels Houston interactive performances feature the song, dance, musical and storytelling traditions of diverse cultures. While each Christmas Revels production is focused on the music and traditions of a different culture, certain elements remain constant from year to year. For instance, the Morris dances and a Mummers play are always included, and the first act of every performance traditionally ends with the cast and the audience joining hands and dancing their way out of the theater.

PERFORMANCES
Saturday, December 11, 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 12, 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 18, 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 29, 2:30 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 713-668-3303. 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 are available at www.revelshouston.org.


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