What is Revels?

History

The Revels story began with John Langstaff, who tried to recreate 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 1966, 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 live 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.

“John was so charismatic, he truly believed in the power of the old folk material that had come out of the people, which is so missing from modern society. He recognized a need for people to connect through song and dance. He inspired us all.”

-Ruth Cross, Revels Houston Board member

Revels Houston

Revels Houston is a community-based performing arts organization committed to the preservation of multicultural traditions through family-oriented seasonal productions, celebrations and educational outreach programs. Incorporated in 1990 in Texas as a nonprofit organization, Revels Houston is affiliated with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Revels, Inc., the organization founded by John Langstaff.

Revels interactive performances feature the song, dance, musical and storytelling traditions of diverse cultures. We blend these elements into seasonal celebrations, demonstrating how differing cultures throughout the ages are fed by the same great river of myth, story and song.

Professional singers, dancers, musicians and community members young and old join together to form the cast and chorus of Revels Houston’s productions. Each year, a different culture is the focus of our December production, The Christmas Revels. We are truly multicultural – in both the content of our production as well as the diversity of our performers.

Revels is a living tradition that bonds all participants — audiences, performers and volunteers — together as companions in celebration. Revels comes from the community, for the community.

While each Christmas Revels production is focused on the music and traditions of a different culture, there are certain Revels traditions that are part of each Revels performance. The Morris dances and a Mummers play are always included, and the first act of every performance ends with the cast and the audience joyously dancing their way out of the theater to The Lord of the Dance.

Board of Directors
Celia Homer
Connie Eicher
Sharon Keith
Sonia Beasley

Advisory Board
Ruth Cross
Carolyn Douglas
Bob Stevenson
Dan Witschey