The Christmas Revels

“Celestial Fools”

The Christmas Revels

The Christmas Revels is “a stellar, hit holiday show and “an unmissable treat for the whole family.”
DC Metro Theater Arts

Holiday magic is just around the corner in a rustic village in Europe! As the Winter days grow short, three wandering performers from far-off lands weave music, dance and stories from their cultures into an enchanting and dramatic tale of the Winter Solstice. But when the sun finally sets on the longest night — and darkness seems to stretch on without end — these “Celestial Fools” lead us on a journey into the heavens to reclaim the light and restore its warmth to the world.

Join Washington Revels to celebrate the season with rousing carol sing-alongs, a mad-cap Twelve Days of Christmas, and dancing in the aisles with a cast of over 100, ages 9-90. Enjoy an exuberant blend of music from around the globe by renowned Klezmer and world-music instrumentalists Seth Kibel (clarinet & flute), Vladimir Fridman (guitar), and Bob Abbott (string bass), with the glorious tones of the Washington Revels Brass. Finally, embark on a Winter journey led by tradition bearers Karim Nagi (Arabic drumming & dance), Shizumi Shigeto Manale (Japanese dance & theater), and Mark Novak (Jewish song), as they share wit, wisdom, and even some Winter Solstice magic to help call back the light. Welcome Yule!

Read the 2019 Christmas Revels program

Thanks to Our Media Sponsors:

Washington Revels thanks WERA 96.7 Radio Arlington and Takoma Radio / WOWD 94.3 FM for their in-kind sponsorship of the 2019 Christmas Revels. Click their logos to learn more about each of these community radio stations in Arlington, VA and Takoma Park, MD, and to listen live online from anywhere.

Photo of The Celestial Fools by Alain L. Gutiérrez Almeida


Saturday, December 7, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 8, 2:00pm
Friday, December 13, 7:30pm (Family Friday)
Saturday, December 14, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 15, 1:00pm & 5:00pm


Matinee Prices (all 1 & 2 pm shows) in Red

Orchestra A-N (Center):  Adult $60 / $65 |  Youth $40 / $45
Orchestra A-N (Sides):  Adult $50 / $55 |  Youth $32 / $37
Terrace* AA-JJ:  Adult $45 / $50  |  Youth $27 / $32
Terrace* KK-RR:  Adult $30 / $35  |  Youth $20 / $25
Terrace* SS-UU:  Adult $18 / $23  |  Youth $12 / $17
Wheelchair Spaces (Row N): see Row N pricing above
Youth = 18 and under

* Terrace seats require climbing stairs


GW Lisner Auditorium
730 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20052

10% off for groups of 10-19; 20% off for groups of 20 or more*
Service charges: $2.50 per ticket plus $3.50 per order
* Available only through the Washington Revels office: call 301-587-3835

25% off Youth tickets on December 13 at 7:30pm
Save money and bring the whole family on Friday night!!
Please Note: Discounted Youth tickets do not count toward 10-ticket and 20-ticket thresholds for purposes of group discounts.

All performances wheelchair accessible.
Audio Description – Sunday, December 8 at 2:00pm

2019 Guest Artists

Karim Nagi

Karim Nagi is a native Egyptian immigrant to the USA and a true crossover artist uniting the Arab tradition with the global contemporary world. He has released 14 CDs, ranging from traditional Arab music to fusion and electronica. He has authored instructional DVDs for the Tabla/Doumbek, Riqq tambourine, Maqam and Taqsim, Finger Cymbals, Drum Solo for Dance, and Arab Folk Dance. As a dance and drum teacher, Nagi has taught at dozens of festivals in the US, Asia, Europe and Cairo, as well as most major Arab Culture festivals in the US.

He taught at the New England Conservatory of Music for 5 years, and has lectured and presented at numerous US colleges and universities. He has also lectured internationally on arts and diversity at universities in Taiwan, China, and Ecuador. Nagi’s Arabiqa program has conducted over 400 school assemblies across America, exposing young audiences to Arab traditional arts.

His most recent project, “Detour Guide,” incorporates English language storytelling with Arab music and rhythm, along with graphic and video art, to describe the experience of Arabs’ life and culture. Recently Nagi received a Doris Duke Grant for the Islamic Arts through the Virginia Tech “Salaam” project. He has also just been elected to the board of directors for Chamber Music America.

Shizumi Shigeto Manale

Born in Hiroshima and raised in Osaka Japan, Shizumi Shigeto Manale’s numerous artistic endeavors are dedicated to promoting multicultural understanding and acceptance.

A world-renowned and highly awarded dancer, choreographer, author, director, and film producer, Manale founded Shizumi Dance Theatre in 1985 and, from 2000-2015, directed the children’s dance company Shizumi Kodomo Dance Troupe, which performed for President Clinton at the White House’s Millennium Celebrations. She also wrote and choreographed a joint United States-Japan musical theater production for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at Gallaudet University. Manale served as the artistic director of the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s opening ceremonies for seven years.

Other notable projects include the documentary films Geisha: An Artist’s Journey, broadcast by PBS, and Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard, about the friendship between Hiroshima children and American civilians in the aftermath of the atom bomb.  The film was shown President Obama’s 2015 visit to Japan and it was recently screened at a UN Peace Conference this past October. In 2014 she authored the related English-language book Running with Cosmos Flowers, published by Pelican Publishing Co.

Classically trained in Noh and Kyogen theater and Jiuta-mai dance, Manale also studied modern dance at the University of California-Berkeley, creative performing arts at San Francisco State University, and classical ballet at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance.

Photo of Shizumi in the 2019 Christmas Revels by Alain L. Gutiérrez Almeida

Mark Novak

Mark Novak is a rabbi, storyteller, musician, writer, composer, father, and avid Washington Nationals fanatic. He is founder and spiritual guide of Minyan Oneg Shabbat, Washington DC’s Jewish Renewal gathering, and co-founder of The MultiFaith Storytelling Institute, whose mission is to change the world one story at a time.

Mark thanks Washington Revels Artistic Director, Roberta Gasbarre, for nudging him until he said “Yes” to joining the 2019 Christmas Revels production!

Visit Mark online at one or more of his many websites:;;;; and

Photo of Mark in the 2019 Christmas Revels by Alain L. Gutiérrez Almeida

Seth Kibel

Seth Kibel is one of the Mid-Atlantic’s premier woodwind specialists, working with some of the best bands in klezmer, jazz, swing, and more. Wowing audiences on clarinet, saxophone, and flute, Seth has made a name for himself in the Washington/Baltimore region and beyond. He has been the featured performer with The Kleztet, Bay Jazz Project, Music Pilgrim Trio, The Natty Beaux, and more. Seth is the winner of 28 Washington Area Music Awards (Wammies), including “Best World Music Instrumentalist” (2003-11) and “Best Jazz Instrumentalist” (2005, 2007-8, 2011-14). His most recent recording, No Words — Instrumental Jazz & Klezmer by Seth Kibel, was released in 2015 on the Azalea City Recordings label. One song from that album, “New Waltz,” was the Grand Prize winner of the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest (MASC), sponsored by the Songwriters’ Association of Washington (SAW).

Vladimir Fridman

Vladimir Fridman was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. Trained in both music and civil engineering, he decided to pursue his real passion — guitar. Soon he was well known in Moscow’s musical community and performed in theaters, with orchestras, and on Russian TV. As an active member of the eccentric show group Jazz Balalaika, Vladimir toured Europe, the Middle East, and Japan and released 4 albums. Audiences in many countries have enjoyed his scintillating concert performances.

Since his arrival in the United States in 1998, Vladimir has become widely known in music circles within the greater Washington area. He frequently appears as a soloist, as well as with leading musicians. He is a member of two bands: Music Pilgrim Trio and TransAtlantic Duo. He can be heard on the WAMMIE Award-winning Gypsy Strings album, Ole Guapa.

In addition to guitar performance, Vladimir is a gifted composer — you can hear many of his compositions on his website. He also runs a successful guitar studio, and many of his students have received awards at the Maryland State Guitar Competition.

Bob Abbott

Bob Abbott is a freelance bass player and arranger in the Mid-Atlantic region. His performance experiences range from local community festivals to performances at national political and social events and international festivals. In 2011 he had the honor of traveling and performing in Croatia and was a guest musician and judge at the Zagreb Guitar Show; in 2014 he returned to Croatia as a clinician and featured performer at the 2nd Annual River Jazz Festival. Bob is an endorsed artist for JanAid Basses, GuitarStrap.It, Acme Bass Speakers, Nitewalker Preamps, and Guardian Pro Cables.

In addition to Bob’s career in music performance, he is the Guitar, Keyboard & Music Technology teacher at Arundel High School in Anne Arundel County. Bob enjoys playing in pit orchestras and has worked with many schools and community theater productions, as well as the New York-based Infinity Theater Company. He is looking forward to being part of the 2019 Christmas

Washington Revels Brass

The Washington Revels Brass lends its joyful, clarion sound to every Christmas Revels production. Current performers include trumpeters Bob Birch (director and member of the group since 1996) and Fred Marcellus, hornist Andrew Houde, and trombonists Bryan Bourne and Jeff Gaylord, with percussionist Don Spinelli. The ensemble views itself in a certain sense as a microcosm of Revels everywhere: they have their own rituals, traditions, and personality. They differ from every other part of the Revels only in that their ways are largely invisible to all but themselves. (Photo Credit: Ryan Maxwell Photography)

Area Dining Recommendations & Discounts

District Commons: An American Bistro

Washington Revels recommends these great Lisner-area restaurants, which have partnered with us to offer you a special discount when you show your Christmas Revels ticket! All are within easy walking distance of both the Foggy Bottom Metro Station and the Auditorium.

District Commons

Traditional American tavern with raw bar, shareable appetizers, and a range of entrées.
Special offer: Show your 2019 Christmas Revels ticket and receive a free cocktail with the purchase of food!

View Map: Lisner Auditorium to District Commons

El Chalán

Peruvian cuisine with lunch & dinner menus – try their famous Lomo Saltado, plus desserts and a fabulous wine list. Not to be missed!
Special offer: Show your 2019 Christmas Revels ticket and receive a free glass of wine or beer with the purchase of any entrée!

View Map: Lisner Auditorium to El Chalán


Housed in a historic corner pharmacy, their menu features American comfort food with a twist – don’t forget to try their signature tots!
Special offer: Present your 2019 Christmas Revels ticket for a free order of tots*
*one ticket per table visit, dine in only, with the purchase of an entrée. Can’t be combined with any other offers.

View Map: Lisner Auditorium to Tonic

By Metro:

Take either the Blue or Orange Line to the Foggy Bottom Metro Station. From there, it is a 2 block walk to Lisner Auditorium.

View Map: Walking Directions

Where to Park Around Lisner Auditorium:

Street Parking: Some street parking is unmetered but most is either metered or “Park & Pay.” Parking is free on Sundays, but not on Fridays or Saturdays until a specified time in the evening (varies between 6:30pm, 8:30pm and 10pm – check the signs and meters). In some locations you can only purchase street parking for a maximum of 2 hours (4 hours with a handicapped sticker), but in others you can purchase unlimited parking from 6:30 to 10pm.

Garage Parking: There are 5 parking garages (each described below) near Lisner that are open during all relevant show hours. Three are GW University garages. They are the closest options to Lisner – 1-1/2 and 2 blocks away – and have a flat rate of $11 after 5pm on weekdays and $12 on weekends. The other 3 options are all Colonial garages, all of which have a flat rate of $11 or $12 after 5pm on weekdays and on weekends. The (GW) Marvin Center Garage (the closest garage to Lisner), is once again open on weekends! (Nearby PMI garages are all closed during the hours of our shows.) NOTE: the (GW) Academic Center Garage, entrance on the south side of I (Eye) Street between 21st and 22d Streets, is no longer open to visitors at any time. It has been replaced by the new University Garage (see below).

Click the garages below for more details. Click here to download a printable PDF description of Lisner-area parking.

GW Marvin Center Garage

GW University Garage

GW G Street Garage

Colonial Garage, Lot 769

Colonial Garage, Lot 180

Frequently Asked Questions

Every year, we get asked many excellent questions about The Christmas Revels and getting around Lisner Auditorium. We’ve tried to answer the most common questions as best we can here. If you need additional information, please call the Revels Office at 301-587-3835 or send an email to

  1. How long is the show? Each performance is generally 2 hours and 30 minutes long, including intermission.
  2. When does the house open? Theatre doors open 30 minutes prior to each performance’s scheduled start time. Doors to the lobby areas open one hour before the start time.
  3. I ordered online. When will I get my tickets? All tickets are sent as a PDF attachment to the email address you used at checkout. If you cannot find this email, search “” in your inbox. If you still cannot find your tickets, simply call us or send an email to and we will re-email your tickets to you.
  4. Can I place a group order online? No: to take advantage of the discounts for groups of 10 or more, you must call the Revels Office and place your order over the phone at 301-587-3835.
  5. Do I have to print out my tickets? No, you can display your tickets on your mobile phone when you arrive at Lisner Auditorium.
  6. Do I need to purchase a ticket for my child? Yes, you must purchase tickets for your children regardless of their age. Children typically love the shows; however, for your sake and as a courtesy to other patrons, we generally advise that you not bring children unless you are confident that they can sit quietly throughout a 2.5-hour performance.
  7. Is Lisner Auditorium wheelchair accessible? Yes: there is a wheelchair ramp at the main entrance and Lisner is fully wheelchair-accessible on the main lobby level, including the theater’s Orchestra level and two wheelchair-accessible lavatories on that level. Note that the house terrace requires climbing stairs; there are dedicated wheelchair spaces in Row N of the Orchestra. The Lower Lobby level and bathrooms are not wheelchair-accessible.
  8. Does Lisner Auditorium offer assisted listening services? Yes: in addition to the audio description performance on Sunday, December 9, Lisner has “Listen” assisted-listening devices (receivers and headphones) free of charge for patrons at all performances. Please inquire at the coat-check counter.
  9. How do I get to Lisner? For your convenience, we’ve prepared detailed Metro and parking information: you can see local maps and read parking/walking instructions under the “Metro & Parking” tab.

Press, Media & Photos

Download Our News Release & Media Kit

High Resolution Photos

All photos by Alain L. Gutiérrez Almeida

The Children’s Chorus helps bring back starlight on the longest night of the year.
“A partridge in a pear tree” from the “Twelve Days of Christmas” singalong.
The “Stars” Fool (Mark Novak) dances to Klezmer music by Vladimir Fridman (guitar), Seth Kibel (clarinet) and Bob Abbot (bass, not pictured).
Shizumi Shigeto Manale as the “Moon” Fool.
The “Stars” Fool (Mark Novak) leads the Children’s Chorus in the lighting of the Chanukiah.
The arrival of “The Celestial Fools” (L-R: Karim Nagi, Shizumi Shigeto Manale & Mark Novak).
The Children’s Chorus performs a traditional singing game.
“The Celestial Fools” (L-R: Mark Novak, Karim Nagi, Shizumi Shigeto Manale) search for the Sun, Moon and Stars on the longest night.

Sponsorship & Advertising 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Your organization can help bring the magic of our Winter celebration to life! Several sponsorship opportunities are available, including:

  • Our Christmas Revels Outreach Performance
  • Any one of our 8 regular Christmas Revels performances
  • An entire Christmas Revels production (all 8 performances plus Outreach Performance)

For more information on sponsorships, please contact Ross Wixon at 301-830-4402 or at

Program Ads

Connect with our Christmas Revels audience of 10,000! Our oversized souvenir program book helps you reach our patrons at the height of the holiday season. Interested in advertising with us? Email Ross Wixon at

CR logo 300 pixelsOur flagship production, The Christmas Revels, is a festive, fully staged celebration of the Winter Solstice and the return of sun and light after the “shortest day,” radiating hope and joy in the renewal of life and the circle of the seasons. Seen by over 10,000 people every December, it draws on traditions and rituals from many lands and peoples, focusing each year on a different culture or related cultures.

Select a link below to learn more about that production.

 2011 Andalusian Production


 Photos from the Thomas Hardy Revels

 Photo from African-American Revels

  • 2000: Celtic
  • 1999: Celestial Fools
  • 1998: Shepherd Alley – Washington, D.C.
  • 1997: Medieval – King and the Fool
  • 1996: Northlands
  • 1995: French
  • 1994: Victorian
  • 1993: Celtic
  • 1992: Celestial Fools
  • 1991: Russian and American

 Photo from an early Washington Revels production

  • 1990: Medieval
  • 1989: Storybook
  • 1988: Medieval
  • 1987: Celtic
  • 1986: French
  • 1985: Appalachian-American (featuring Jean Ritchie)
  • 1984: “Haddon Hall”
  • 1983: Medieval