The Christmas

Revels 2020

A 50th Anniversary   Virtual   Celebration! Celebrate with Us!

Journey with us through the ages and across the globe.

This December, a small band of performers will walk into an empty theater to fulfill the promise of “people singing, to keep the year alive,” as stipulated in Susan Cooper’s poem, "The Shortest Day." They will be joined by two stalwart audience members who have been present since the first Christmas Revels in 1971: the marble statues of James Otis and Josiah Quincy. James and Josiah remember every song, every dance, and every “Welcome Yule!” and are quite excited to share their vivid memories with us...

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18th - 31st


50th Annual Virtual Celebration

The Christmas Revels 2020

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20th at 6 pm ET


A Toast to Founder John Langstaff

The Wassail Party and The Christmas Revels 2020

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Follow the Journey
Meet the Performers

This year, we’re excited to showcase over 210 participants, including the adult chorus, virtual audience members, and the featured performers listed below.

Yo-Yo Ma


Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four, and three years later moved with his family to New York City. There, he continued his studies at the Juilliard School. After his conservatory training, he sought out a liberal arts education and graduated from Harvard with a degree in anthropology. Yo-Yo’s career is testament to his faith in culture’s power to generate the trust and understanding essential to a strong society. This belief inspired Yo-Yo to establish the global cultural collective Silkroad, and, more recently, to set out on the Bach Project — a six-continent tour of J. S. Bach’s suites for solo cello and an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all.

Paula Plum

Role: James Otis

This season, Paula appeared at SpeakEasy Stage in The Children and at Greater Boston Stage Company in The Last Night at Bowl-Mor Lanes, both directed by Bryn Boice. She is the recipient of seven IRNE awards, the 2007, 2017& 2020 Eliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actress, the 2004 Eliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence, and the 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University. In 2009 she was one of five actors nation-wide to receive the Fox Actor Fellowship in association with SpeakEasy Stage. As a founding member of Actors’ Shakespeare Project, she has played Cleopatra, Beatrice, Lady Macbeth, and Phèdre. She has appeared regionally at the the Lyric Stage, the American Repertory Theatre, the New Repertory Theatre, Merrimack Repertory, the Huntington Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, and Elm Shakespeare. Film credits include: Mermaids, Malice, Next Stop Wonderland, and Irrational Man directed by Woody Allen. Television: Science Court (three seasons ABC) and co-creator and star of The Dick & Paula Celebrity Special for FX. Ms. Plum is a cum laude graduate of Boston University and has studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, the Dell’Arte Institute, and École Phillipe Gaulier,Paris. She has been published in American Theatre magazine and is married to actor Richard Snee. Paula is a professional acting coach @ and is currently the visiting Monan Professor at Boston College for the 2020-21 Academic Year.Music and Dramatic Art, the Dell’Arte Institute, and École Phillipe Gaulier,Paris. She has been published in American Theatre magazine and is married to actor Richard Snee. Paula is a professional acting coach @ and is currently the visiting Monan Professor at Boston College for the 2020-21 Academic Year.currently the visiting Monan Professor at Boston College for the 2020-21 Academic Year.

Richard Snee

Role: Josiah Quincy

Richard Snee appeared in The Christmas Revels in 1998, 2006, 2008, and 2017. If you can discern a pattern there, please let him know. He is a founding member of The Actors’ Shakespeare Project where he was last seen last spring as Malvolio in their Lyric Stage production of Twelfth Night, directed by the lovely and talented Paula Plum. He also performed last summer in The Gloucester Stage’s Barefoot in the Park, with the lovely and talented Paula Plum, and appeared last fall in Speakeasy Stage’s Choirboy, but without the lovely and talented Paula Plum.

David Coffin


David recently celebrated 40 years of performing with Revels. He just released a compilation 2 CD set David Coffin Live from the Revels Stage representing his favorite songs with various guest artists, the Revels Choruses, and most importantly, you, the Revels audience. Widely known for his rich baritone voice, David performs on an impressive array of musical instruments, including concertinas, recorders, penny whistles, bombardes, gemshorns, shawms, rauschpfieffes, or, as he explains, “Generally anything that requires a lot of hot air”. At the heart of David’s work is his extensive collection of songs from the Maritime Tradition. When he’s not on the Revels stage David is presenting his signature Enrichment Programs (a history of Wind Instruments and an imaginary 18th Century Whaling Program) in New England schools as the Revels-Artist-in-Residence. In the Spring, Summer, and Fall he can be found on a boat in Boston Harbor either narrating history tours for Boston Harbor Cruises where he manages the narration program, or taking over 10,000 inner-city kids out to a harbor island through Save the Harbor Save the Bay.

Carolyn Saxon


Carolyn is a lifelong performer who tells stories and sings songs all over the world. A longtime member of Actors Equity, her theatrical credits include Broadway, Broadway National Tours and regional theatres throughout the United States including Papermill Playhouse (NJ), Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Connecticut Repertory. Now based in Boston, she’s worked with Greater Boston Stage, Front Porch Arts Collective, New Repertory Theatre, The Christmas Revels @ Sanders Theatre, Wheelock Family Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage, Central Square Theater, North Shore Musical Theatre, Lyric Stage Company, Queen Mab Micro-Theatre, Starlight Square in Cambridge, the Outside the Box Festival and the Emerson Paramount. Her orchestral work includes the Boston Pops, Carnegie Hall, Teatro Colon, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic. She is a member of the Boston Pops Gospel Choir, Millennium Choir, Sharing a New Song and the One City Chorus. An avid traveler who believes in the power of music to unite, she’s entertained audiences throughout Japan, Colombia, South Africa, Argentina and Uruguay. Film credits include ‘Sweet & Lowdown’, ‘Small Time Crooks’ and ‘The Curse of the Jade Scorpion’.

Johnny Nichols, Jr.


Johnny Nichols, Jr. has stage directed and music directed over 30 shows in his professional career including Shout, The Mod Musical, Legally Blonde, Urinetown, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Little Shop of Horrors, Madagascar, Fiddler on the Roof, and more. Johnny is an active vocal coach, clinician, and adjudicator for theater programs in New England and the South. He has a host of professional stage, opera, and film credits, participating in productions such as RENT, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Anything Goes, Hello Dolly, Chicago, Cabaret, Gianni Schicchi, Le nozze di Figaro, and La Boheme. Johnny is the Artistic Director for the Ipswich River Community Chorus and a guest conductor for choirs and orchestras across the country, as well as a renowned performing arts educator for area public schools and after school organizations. In spring 2020, Johnny became the Education Director of Revels. Most recently, Johnny presented a concert of spirituals and stories as part of the #RevelsConnects Musical Connections Series on Facebook Live.

Meet the Virtual Chorus

For this extraordinary year we created a chorus of singers who – in a normal year – live too far away from Cambridge to consider auditioning or whose busy lives made the time commitment of a Sanders production impossible. We are pleased to invite these singers onto the virtual stage as our adult chorus this year.

Meet the Virtual Audience

We are delighted to have a truly remarkable group of talented singers join us as our virtual audience this year, welcoming us all in with their voices and leading us in our most cherished all-sings.

Patrick Swanson

Artistic Director

Patrick Swanson began his career in London as an actor at the Arts Theatre in the West End. In 1969 following a European tour with the La MaMa Plexus Troupe he moved to New York and received his world theater education as a resident actor at La MaMa E.T.C. His numerous directing projects include opera, ensemble, music -theater and circus. He was a founding stage director of Circus Flora and is currently Artistic Director of Revels Paddy taught acting and improvisation at the London Academy of Dramatic Art (L.A.M.D.A.), the London Drama Centre, and New York University. He served as artistic director of the Castle Hill Festival at Castle Hill in Ipswich, Massachusetts, directing and co-producing opera and theater works, including the premieres of Julie Taymor's Liberty's Taken and Peter Sellars’ production of Cosi fan Tutte. Locally he has directed for the Spoleto USA festival; Gloucester Stage, The Alley Theatre Houston and the Charles Playhouse as well as numerous productions in the U.K. and Europe. His Actor's Shakespeare Project production of Shakespeare's King Lear with Alvin Epstein was nominated for three 2006 Elliot Norton awards and subsequently transferred to Off-Broadway. Paddy’s most recent acting role was as Father Jack in Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa at Gloucester Stage. He currently researches, writes and directs all Cambridge Revels scripts and serves as consultant to the other eight Revels production companies performing in the U.S.A.

George Emlen

Music Director

George Emlen is a conductor, composer, arranger and music educator. He was music director of Revels from 1984 to 2016 and has recently returned to that position after a four-year hiatus. George currently teaches a leadership course, “Conducting Your Chorus,” at the Harvard Kennedy School for senior executives in state and local public office. Previously he was on the faculty of the New England Conservatory, where he directed the Conservatory Camerata; Lesley University in the Creative Arts in Learning program; the College of the Atlantic, and the University of Maine. He also taught at Noble and Greenough School and the Putney School. In recent years George has worked with Bobby McFerrin in the vocal improvisatory genre of Circlesinging, which he incorporates into his conducting and teaching. George’s compositions and arrangements are published by Lawson-Gould, Thorpe, Lorenz/Sacred Music Press, and Redwing Press. George is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the New England Conservatory, where he earned an advanced degree in choral conducting. In Maine he founded and conducted the Acadia Choral Society, while also conducting the Oratorio Chorale and the Mount Desert Summer Chorale.

See All Performers
Ticket Information


$ 50 /per household

The Christmas Revels 2020 Event Pass

Dec 18th @ 7pm ET - Dec 31st @ 11:59pm ET

For the first time in 50 years, the annual The Christmas Revels will not be celebrated live in Harvard’s historic Sanders Theatre. For this extraordinary year we have created a unique, virtual The Christmas Revels - a cornucopia of music, dance, song, and ritual from our richly recorded archives. This event pass grants you full on-demand access to The Christmas Revels video production anytime between Friday, December 18 at 7pm ET through Thursday, December 31 at 11:59pm ET.


$ 80 /per household

The Christmas Revels 2020 Event Pass and CD

Dec 18th @ 7pm ET - Dec 31st @ 11:59pm ET

The Christmas Revels Event Pass and CD option gives you full on-demand access to The Christmas Revels video production as well as our new retrospective 2-CD set, "The Christmas Revels: Celebrating 50 Years!" The CD comes with a special commemorative booklet that shares the story of Revels over its 50 years, with quotes, photos, and more. Price includes shipping and handling.

How to Watch the Show

Thank you for joining us for The Christmas Revels 2020! Check out the tips and FAQs below to create an unforgettable Revels experience in your own home. Please contact if you have any questions.

Get Started
Get Set Up
Get in the Spirit
  • How do I purchase tickets?

    Follow the links above to purchase your Wassail Party and The Christmas Revels 2020 Event Pass or your event pass for The Christmas Revels 2020.

  • How do I access the event?

    After purchasing your event pass, you will receive a confirmation email containing an access link. When you are ready to watch the performance, you will click on this access link. A reminder email with your access link will also be sent a few days before The Christmas Revels 2020  is available for viewing.

  • When can I watch The Christmas Revels 2020?

    The Christmas Revels 2020 will become available for viewing on Friday, December 18 at 7PM ET. Access to the video will end on Thursday, December 31 at 11:59PM ET. You will be able to watch the video at any time during that window, as often as you like.

  • Can I watch The Christmas Revels 2020 more than once?

    Yes! Once you’ve purchased your event pass and received your access link, you can watch the performance as many times as you like during the viewing window, which runs from Friday, December 18 at 7PM ET until Thursday, December 31 at 11:59PM ET.

  • Is it one event pass per person or one event pass per household?

    Each event pass gives you one access link to view The Christmas Revels 2020 video production. That access link is valid for only one device at a time. If your household will be watching the event on one device, you will only need one event pass. However, if your household plans on watching simultaneously on several devices, or if your family plans to watch at the same time but from remote locations, you will need to purchase a separate event pass for each device and location.

  • On which devices can I watch The Christmas Revels 2020?

    You can watch your video on your computer, tablet, phone, or any device that has an internet browser. Simply open your confirmation email on your preferred device and click the blue button with the access link. You can also “cast” the performance from your device to your television. Learn more about how to do this on the “Get Set Up” section.

  • I've lost the email with my access link. Can you resend it?

    Absolutely! If you have lost your original confirmation email or cannot find the reminder email that was sent, you can contact our support team at during regular office hours, Monday – Thursday between 8 AM – 4 PM, and they will resend your link.

    If you are planning to view The Christmas Revels 2020 during a weekend, please make sure to locate your access link in advance and during the week so our team is available to help you.

  • How can I give Christmas Revels event passes as gifts?

    There are a few different ways you can purchase and send gift passes to friends and family.

    Option 1: You can purchase all of your passes at one time. Your confirmation email will contain separate access links for each pass you have purchased. You can then distribute these links to your friends and family. We encourage you to keep track of which link you send to each friend or family member for reference if needed. Remember, each link can only be played on one device at a time, so make sure to send unique links to each friend or family member. You will receive a reminder email in December, and you can reach out to remind your friends and family members at that time as well.


    Option 2: You can purchase each pass one at a time and input the email address of each friend or family member instead of your own. They will receive the confirmation email with an access link as well as a reminder email in December. They will also receive the receipt information, however. If you don’t want them to receive the receipt information, you will need to follow option 1 or option 3.


    Option 3: You can purchase each pass one at a time, inputting your own email address, and then forward the separate confirmation emails to your friends and family members. This will allow you to share the confirmation link only and delete the receipt information. We encourage you to keep track of which link you send to each friend or family member for reference when the reminder emails come through. You will receive separate reminder emails in December for each pass purchased which you can then forward to your friends and family members. One tip to help you keep track of which access link belongs to whom is to change the first name in the order form to say “For [Name of Guest]” for each pass purchased.

  • What device should I use to watch the video?

    You can watch The Christmas Revels 2020 video production on your computer, tablet, phone, or any device that has an internet browser. Simply open your confirmation email on your preferred device and click the blue button with the link. Remember you are only able to watch the production on one device at a time.

    You can also “cast” the performance from your device to your television. Learn more about this in the “how can I view the performance on my television?” section.

  • How do I set up my device?

    Internet Browser:  We recommend using Google Chrome to view the production; in our tests, this one worked the best. Please be aware that Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge do not support our platform.

    Internet Speed: We recommend an upload speed of at least 3 Mbps. Not sure what your internet speed is? Check your internet speed.

    Speakers:  If you are planning to watch on your computer, phone, or tablet, make sure your device is connected to quality internal or external speakers.

    Headphones: If you are having trouble hearing (volume isn’t loud enough) try using headphones. Headphones create a more localized sound which can increase the volume without adjusting any settings on your device. It is possible to connect more than one set of headphones to a computer. 

  • How can I view the performance on my television?

    We have included instructions in this section for several different ways to cast to your television. Once you have selected a method, you can use this video to test your connection and make sure it works.


    Option 1: Connecting Directly from an iPad, Laptop, or Desktop Computer, Using an HDMI Cable

    If your television has an HDMI port, you can use an HDMI cord to hook up your device directly to your television. You may also need an HDMI adapter. HDMI cables and adapters can be purchased online, or at Best Buy, office supply stores such as Staples and Office Depot, or department stores such as Target and Costco.

    We have included a photo of an HDMI cable and a close-up shot of an HDMI port so you can identify it on your television or device.


    Option 2: Using Apple AirPlay/Screen Mirroring

    If you are using an Apple device, you may be able to use AirPlay or AppleTV to broadcast the performance on your television. 

    Here is a list of televisions that are compatible with AirPlay.

    Instructions for setting up AirPlay can be found here.


    Option 3: Using Chromecast

    If you are using Google Chrome on an Android devices, Chromebooks, or other PC devices or computers, you may be able to use Chromecast to broadcast the performance on your television.

    If you have a newer television, it may have Chromecast built in (here is a list of some that do). Otherwise, a Chromecast device can be purchased and used with any TV that has an HDMI port.

    Instructions for how to use Chromecast


    Option 4: Using Your Smart TV

    If you own a Smart TV, you may be able to browse the SCMS directly on your television. View these instructions for how to get web videos to play on smart TVs.

  • Follow the journey online

    Follow Revels @therevels on Facebook, @revels_inc on Instagram, and @therevels on Twitter to find the latest news on The Christmas Revels 2020. From holiday traditions to behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, we’re excited to share daily snippets of Christmas Revels spirit with you!

  • Get together (virtually)!

    Plan a time to view The Christmas Revels 2020 with friends and family who have also purchased an event pass. Watch from your own homes and set up a video chat or group text over FaceTime, Zoom, WhatsApp, or Skype during the show so you can reminisce and sing together in real time. 

    Please remember that each household will have to purchase their own Christmas Revels 2020 event pass to watch simultaneously. Each event pass may only be used on one device at a time.

  • Revel safely

    Make sure to hold your Revels celebrations in accordance with CDC guidelines. Limit your in-person audience to just the people in your household, and use virtual communication options to include outside friends and family. The CDC recommends that all people, regardless of symptoms, continue to take all recommended measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission, including wearing masks, maintaining social distancing procedures, and washing hands regularly. View the latest CDC guidelines here.

  • Share your photos and memories of past Christmas Revels

    We’re celebrating 50 years of The Christmas Revels! and we want to remember each year with you! Share your photos, videos, and memories on social media with the hashtag #ChristmasRevels2020 or email and you may be featured on our social media channels as we countdown to The Christmas Revels 2020.

  • Get festive

    One of our favorite parts of The Christmas Revels is the magical sets and costumes that light up Sanders Theatre every year. Bring a piece of the magic into your home with lights, wreaths, and decorations, and don’t forget to dress up in your favorite holiday outfits!

  • Crank the tunes!

    Fill your home with the sounds of Revels! Break out your Revels CDs or visit our store for music from past Christmas Revels performances, including Ribbon of Highway: An American Christmas Revels, David Coffin: Live from the Revels Stage, and our brand new 50th anniversary CD, The Christmas Revels: Celebrating 50 Years!, all recorded live at Sanders Theatre.

  • Get in touch

    Do you have an idea for celebrating The Christmas Revels 2020 that you’d like to share with the Revels community? We’d love to hear from you! Please contact us at

Support Revels
Discover Our
50th Anniversary CD!

We’re so excited to announce the release of our 50th Anniversary 2-CD set! This album captures five decades of Christmas Revels productions and the adventurous spirit and flavor of these truly magical performances, recorded live from the Sanders Theatre. Revels productions are rich smorgasbords of choral and solo singing, traditional folk dances and stories, children’s songs and games, and a brilliant brass ensemble. Now you can bring this magic into your own home. Our CD also makes a great holiday gift!

Our Sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors! Christmas Revels 2020 wouldn’t be possible without generous community support.

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