This December, families from all around the region are gathering in the heart of Downtown Portland to celebrate the season through captivating song, dance, and storytelling at Midwinter Revels: Andalusian Night – A Celebration of the Solstice. After a two-year hiatus from in-person productions, the Portland Revels’ brand-new show features songs, stories and dance from the vivid and diverse communities that lived side-by-side in 14th-century Andalusia, Spain.
The annual Midwinter Revels production is, at its heart, a celebration of community and of the changing seasons. Each winter, the Portland Revels chooses a different theme, time and place to tell an enchanting story of the longest night of the year, and of the return of light and hope that follows the winter solstice. Over the last quarter-century, Revels productions have featured music and traditions from cultures including Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
With a multi-generational cast of over 60 people, the Midwinter Revels: Andalusian Night production promises to be a feast for the eyes and ears, with lively music, lush costumes and gorgeous scenery. It’s a joyful, uplifting way for friends and family to revel together during the darkest time of the year.
In Midwinter Revels: Andalusian Night, three travelers meet in Córdoba on the winter solstice and propose a storytelling competition. As each of their three stories unfolds, the audience is transported to different worlds through vibrant imagery and song. Then, the competition’s judge enthralls the audience with her own unique story. Woven throughout the performance are touchstones familiar to long-time Revels-goers: a lively Morris dance, the timeless words of Susan Cooper, and the audience and cast joining their voices together in song - all alongside new traditions, songs and dances from the different communities represented on stage.
Andalusian Night features special musical guest Seffarine, along with the Revels band, the Portland Bass Quintet, the adult, teen and children’s choruses, flamenco dancer and instructor Laura Onizuka, and some of Portland’s favorite performers: Doren Elias, Zero Feeney, Shuhe Hawkins and Mikki Lipsey. Together, they welcome audiences to a celebration of community, warmth and acceptance, and of bringing back the light at the darkest time of the year.
Portland Revels was founded in 1994 by a group of enthusiastic Portlanders who were inspired by the work of John Langstaff and the original Revels, Inc. in Watertown, Massachusetts. The initial performances at Mago Hunt Theatre at the University of Portland found an eager and enthusiastic audience, and today, attending the Midwinter Revels has become a beloved tradition for families throughout the region. Portland Revels has presented a holiday production each year, with digital shows in 2020 and 2021 that were offered free of charge, in the hopes of providing light and joy to audiences, even in the darkest times.
“The music is wonderful, and I’m so excited for the audience to hear what Nat and Lamiae of Seffarine are bringing to the show,” said director Bruce Hostetler. “Their presence on the artistic team has pushed us all to a new level. And I’m delighted to be back in a theatre, with a live audience, together again after these two years of celebrating virtually.”
Midwinter Revels: Andalusian Night is the 27th wintertime production of the Portland Revels, on stage for one weekend only, December 16 through 18, with ASL interpretation at all four performances. Both showings on December 17 will also offer audio descriptive services. The show runs approximately 2 hours, plus an intermission, and is a family-friendly holiday event recommended for audience members 6 years old and above.
Younger revelers are invited to join the audience on December 29 and 30, when Portland Revels presents Brave Night: A Children’s Celebration of Light, a special one-hour Revels story for children ages 2-7. This is the perfect show to wrap up the holiday season with kids on their final days of the holiday break. They will sing, play and laugh away the darkness with Revels Children’s Chorus, three silly new friends…and a magical fox!
Midwinter Revels: Andalusian Night – A Celebration of the Solstice will take place December 16 through December 18 at the Newmark Theater at Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. Tickets for Midwinter Revels: Andalusian Night are between $16 and $109 dollars. Tickets for Brave Night: A Children’s Celebration of Light for December 29 and 30 are between $18 and $35. All tickets can be purchased at portlandrevels.org