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Tickets On Sale Now for ‘The Christmas Revels’ at the Lobero

Santa Barbara Revels will present four performances, Dec. 17-18, of the holiday favorite

Tickets are now on sale for four performances of the Santa Barbara Revels’ production of The Christmas Revels in Celebration of the Winter Solstice on Dec. 17-18 at the historic Lobero Theatre.

In this fourth annual presentation, The Christmas Revels transports audiences to early 19th-century Bavaria to enjoy the colorful costumes, lively dancing, glorious choral and instrumental music, and engaging storytelling of that time and place. Many now-familiar Christmastime activities have their roots in Nordic/Germanic traditions, and The Christmas Revels creates an entertaining opportunity to revisit and relish these holiday rituals.

This year, we meet Sankt Nikolaus, portrayed by Simon Williams, chair of the UCSB Department of Theater and an audience favorite with Opera Santa Barbara presentations. This is not your jolly old St. Nick, but an inveterate recordkeeper who tallies everyone’s good and bad deeds and doesn’t hesitate to make them known publicly and humorously, to reward people with a gift or — more often — punish them with a lump of coal or a switch, wielded by his mischievous side-kick Knecht Ruprecht, played by Boxtales Theatre Company veteran Matt Tavianini.

Sankt Nikolaus also is aided in his seasonal activities by local favorite Diane Stevenett playing Frau Hölle, the supernatural matron of spinning, childbirth and domestic animals. She provides a mystical counterpoint to the antic goings-on.

As always, the choral music in The Christmas Revels is lush and varied, ranging from familiar carols to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy to folk songs of the period. The large choruses of adult and child singers are complemented by a full range of musicians, from brass to alpen horns to accordions. The dancing includes the ever-popular polka, a graceful Laendler and an energetic Schuhplatter. The dramatic segments feature the Legend of St. Nikolaus as well as The Tale of Hanswurst, with its seasonal theme of death and rebirth.

Stage Director Maggie Mixsell has assembled a multitalented, intergenerational cast of select professional performers and local volunteers. Music director and song leader Ken Ryals engages and involves everyone, both on and off the stage.

The Revels’ hallmark of audience participation is alive and well, as all are invited to sing along on select carols and rounds, to participate in our signature “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and to dance with company members in “The Lord of the Dance.”

Performances will be at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 and at 1 and 5 p.m. Dec.18. Ticket prices are family-friendly and are available through the Lobero Theatre box office in person at 33 E. Canon Perdido St., online at or by phone at 805.963.0761. As revelers like to say: Join us and be joyous!

Click here for more information.

— Susan Keller represents the Santa Barbara Revels.

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