George Ide photos
Revels came to Boston with four Sea Revels performances featuring founder John Langstaff and chanteyman Lou Killen at the Emerson Majestic Theatre, May 8-10, 1998
Revels, Inc., producer of the annual Christmas Revels winter solstice celebration in Cambridge, has started a new holiday tradition: the welcoming of Spring in the city of Boston through seasonal and ritual music, dance and folk tales. The first production in Boston signaling the arrival of Spring was be a Revels favorite: Sea Revels, a lively celebration of the sea. Complete with sea chanteys and period dance, historical ballads and ghost stories, Sea Revels was family entertainment at its finest. All performances took place at the historic Emerson Majestic Theatre in the heart of Boston's theater district.
The performance began at the turn-of-the-century, dockside in Boston Harbor. Peddlers and newsboys spilled about the bustling streets, filling the air with a cacaphony of street cries. Before it's over, our theatrical voyage took us from the docks to the sea, with the fishermen and whalers, to the Carribean with its pounding island rhythms and Carnival-like festival of Junkanu and, eventually, back home to safe harbor.
Featured performers included British balladeer and chanteyman Lou Killen, Bahamian musician and storyteller Derek Burrows and, making a rare Boston appearance, Revels' founder John Langstaff. In addition, Paula Plum, named Outstanding Actress by Boston Theatre Critics in 1995, narrated the tale of Lieutenant Cockatoo, written by the late English stage direcror, Ronald Eyre and performed by cast members with assistance from the magical puppets of local artist Sara Peattie.
Also featured in Sea Revels: musician David Coffin and the 50-member Revels Chorus; The Dockside Children; a high spirited Foc'sle Fufu Band; and The Padstow 'obby 'oss from Cornwall, England, whose wild dance of death and rebirth has marked the beginning of spring for centuries. The audience itself rounded out the cast for, as in all Revels, audience participation was greatly encouraged. Filled with sea chanteys, historical ballads, audience participation and lively instrumental pieces, Sea Revels took place at the historic Emerson Majestic Theatre in Boston.
Performance dates and times are:
- Friday, May 8th at 8pm
- Saturday, May 9th at 3pm
- Saturday, May 9th at 8pm
- Sunday, May 10 (Mother's Day) at 3pm
Production staff for Sea Revels included Patrick Swanson, stage director; George Emlen, music director; and Virginia D. Morton, production manager.
Susan Wilson photo
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The Emerson Majestic Theatre is located at 219 Tremont Street in the Theatre District in downtown Boston, a minute's walk from the Boylston Street T stop on the Green Line. The theater is wheelchair accessible.
Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1971 by John Langstaff and his daughter Carol, Revels companies now reside in 10 cities across the United States. In Cambridge, Revels produces the "The Christmas Revels", its annual winter solstice celebration, at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre. This Sea Revels program marks Revels return to Boston, after seven years of producing an open air production of Midsummer Revels at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln.
For more information:
80 Mount Auburn Street
Watertown, Massachusetts 02472-3930
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