by Pat McCullough Since 2000, Rocky Mountain Revels have highlighted different cultures and time periods with their annual production of “The Christmas Revels, In Celebration of the Winter Solstice” ” This year the honor belongs to the Irish as the story takes place on the docks of Cobh (pronounced Cove) in County Cork, on the southwestern shore of Ireland where tens of thousands of Irish men, women, and children boarded ships to make the perilous 4 to 8 week journey to the New World in the 19th century. Rocky Mountain Revels are a Colorado non-profit organization who license “The Christmas Revels” name from Revels Inc. Revels Inc. was founded in 1971 in Cambridge, Mass. by award-winning author and musician John Langstaff to promote the understanding and appreciation of traditional folk music, dance and rituals from around the world. Although a separate entity that needs its own funding, Rocky Mountain Revels Artistic Director Karen Romeo explained the committed relationship with the Cambridge originators. “Artistically we are completely dedicated to doing as high a quality production as we can -and that absolutely means staying connected with Cambridge.” Earlier this year Karen went to the mother association in Cambridge to look over the estimated 25 different scripts for the 2007 production in Boulder. “We knew that we wanted to do an Irish Revels last Spring and we started looking at the various scripts and there really wasn”t one that suited our company and our area – so by early summer I realized that if we wanted a good Irish Revels that suited are company than I needed to actually write it – so then I got permission from Cambridge.” Karen spent the entire summer in the library researching Irish immigration and culture around 1890 and wrote the original script for this year’s Christmas Revels. “I had a great time researching and doing the script,” she said as she recalled time spent on-line and at the University of Colorado Library and Boulder Public Library. Pleased with the results of her efforts she added, “I think it (script) works and holds together as a show and theater event, and I think it is also very true to the time and very accurate about it.” How concerned for accuracy was Karen? She researched shipping lines for names of ships used during the time period. Deciding on the S.S. Ethiopia, she found the ships manifest with actual names and occupations and allowed the cast members to choose these identities ” even though much of the details don”t come out in the production. Karen explained, “Even though it doesn”t come out in the show, the cast members are very aware of the history of it all – It won”t be a direct read to the audience, but I think the audience will have a sense that there is a lot of history in this and a lot of authenticity.” The two-hour show has a complete set and period costumes circa 1890 Ireland with live Irish music, drama, and dance. “We are very excited about bringing in the Irish Dancer from Boston,” referring to 2006 North American Step-dancing Champion Alexandra Siega. Alexandra is well recognized in dance circles around the country and no different in Colorado. “When our really good young high school stepdancers from this area found out that Alexandra was going to be participating we got some terrific response and we have some of the best young stepdancers in Colorado who will be dancing with her (including Blaine Donovan, Natasha Trellinger, Robbie and Richie Ross, and Elizabeth Marie Barton) – So we”re really excited about featuring the whole thing because we”ve got her and these hot-shot Colorado kids ” I think it will be pretty darn spectacular!” Live Irish music will be provided by Jeff Bain (Uillean pipe/ penny whistle/recorder), assistant music director who transcribed some of the pieces; teenage siblings Jonathan (fiddle) & Hanna Seaman (harp); and also Karen Romeo herself who is also a fiddler. Some of the music will come from a Brass Quintet, a Revels tradition. “We”ve always used the Flagstaff Brass Quintet (Denver/Boulder) ” that”s our resident Revels Quintet.” Karen continued enthusiastically “We have fabulous singers which I”m so proud!” which includes 3 soloists, 24 piece adult choir, and a 16 piece children”s choir singing authentic children”s songs from the 1890s all in costume.” True to tradition and spirit of the Revels aspire to the best possible use of amateur and professional talent in their productions. “I think ours has a tremendous amount of charm ” I think it has a nice combination of amateur and professional … with locals from up and down the Front Range.” According to Karen it is not unusual for cast member to walk in and can carry a tune but have never been on stage. “We get some interesting cast member I tell you – Its amazing who comes out of the woodwork.” She told the Story of Nobel Prize Winner Eric Cornell who teaches Physics at CU. He grew up in Boston and saw revels every year as a child. About two years ago he brought his daughter Eliza to audition. “She had a pretty little soprano voice so we put her in the choir,” then Karen asked “is dad going to audition too?” I had no idea that he was a noble laureate.” He told Karen that he hadn”t thought about it, but that he might, “and stood up and sang in a very pretty tenor voice a Christmas carol – Well, we have a noble prize winner in our cast this year, not having sung on a stage before ” he”s having the time of his life! Since audience participation is a Revels trademark, you don”t have to audition to participate. Song leader teaches audience a couple of songs and folks are invited to dance. “We”ve had half the audience get up and dance through the lobby of the Boulder Theater!” Boulder Theater, Boulder on 14th off the Pearl Street Mall; December 16th at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm and December 22nd at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm; Doors open 30 minutes before show time. General Admission Balcony : $17 General Admission Children 12 and under: $15; Main Floor Reserved: $24 Main Floor Reserved Children 12 and under: $22; All Gold Circle: $35 Ticket prices (including all surcharges and taxes): Available at Boulder Theater box office:” 303 786-7030 or; Group Sales (groups of 20 or more): Contact Artistic Director Karen Romeo at 303 440-9056. All group rates $14 per person.

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