2019 – Season 27

John D. Huston Presents “A Christmas Carol”
by Charles Dickens

There are six matinée performances this year. The dates for these are indicated in that very Victorian colour, mauve. (December 7, 8, 18, 21, 22 & 23)

I am very happy to report that, after a malfunctioning Air Canada plane thwarted me last year, I will be appearing with Ian Bell and friends in Guelph on Monday December 9th

When I heard Ian and the Vinyl Café Orchestra on the first Vinyl Café Christmas Special I knew I wanted that music – that sound – to accompany Mr. Dickens’ great story. It was melodious, spare, and beautiful. It rang down from a time before shopping malls and elevators taught us to screen out Christmas music. I knew Dickens’ original audience would have recognized it as the music of their Yuletide.

Since then I have had the pleasure of working with many of this country’s great folk/roots artists. Each of them has brought their music, their words and passion to set off the words and passion of Dickens’ great story: their carols magnify his Carol. All of Mr. Dickens’ Musical Guest(s) are listed below in green..

As always, I have tried to ensure the accuracy of the information below but please do contact the venues to confirm times and prices. Also, in keeping with Dickens’ invocation to his audiences to imagine they were sitting around their home fireplace with friends listening as he performed the story, I often play small, intimate spaces, so it’s wise to book ahead.

November 27, 2019; Winnipeg, MB
7:30pm (Doors open at 7:00)

House Concert
434 Avalon Road     (View Map)
Winnipeg, MB

Ticket prices:

  • $20.00 – General Admission
  • $50.00 – Family rate (Up to 2 adults & 3 kids)

Box Office:

My sixth year in this welcoming, comfy, suburban home. In the past we had to add an extra performance to accommodate Mr. Dickens’s many well–wishers, so book early. Contributions to the beverage or snack table welcome.

November 28, 2019; Winnipeg, MB
8:00pm (Doors open at 7:30)

The Bhigg House
337 Oxford Street     (View Map)
Winnipeg, MB

Tickets: $20.00
Box Office: (204) 488–1267

This is my 17th year at the Bhigg House one of Winnipeg’s busier house concert venues. Tea, coffee and tasty homemade cookies are, as always available at the interval and a loyal and enthusiastic audience are on hand to greet Mr. Dickens on the Winnipeg leg of his tour.

November 29, 2019; Winnipeg, MB
7:30pm (Doors open at 6:00)

Station 8 Café
325 Talbot Avenue     (View Map)
Winnipeg, MB

Tickets $10.00 (In advance)
Box Office: Call Dennis at (204) 297–9841 or on–line at https://station8cafe.yapsody.com/event/index/492051/a-christmas-carol-with-john-d-huston

My third year at this wonderfully homey venue located in a converted fire–hall. This neighbourhood centre flexibly hosts everyone from musicians to improv groups. The grilled cheese sandwiches are deservedly legendary and the welcome as warm as the fresh coffee. Facebook.com/Station8Cafe

November 30, 2019; Winnipeg, MB
8:00pm (Doors open at 7:30)

House Concert, Crescentwood
300 Harvard Avenue (at Cambridge — View Map)
Winnipeg, MB

Tickets: $20.00
Box Office (Morva or Alan): (204) 475–1493 or info@spacetime.ca

My eighth time at this lovely home in Winnipeg’s historic Crescentwood district. This cozy venue offers lots of atmosphere, delicious interval refreshments and has, as all Victorian theatres had, a resident cat: or in this case, cats. Please contact the box office for tickets and directions.

December 2–4 & 6–7, 2019; Saskatoon, SK
7:30pm (Doors open at 7:00)
Matinée ONLY Saturday December 7 at 1:00pm (Doors open at 12:30)
NB – For the December 5th performance, see below

Marr Residence
326–11th Street East     (View Map)
Saskatoon, SK

Tickets: $25.00   (Advance purchase required)
Box Office: (306) 653–5191 or https://ontheboards.ca/events/a-christmas-carol/

Come experience a Victorian House Concert in a Victorian home! My 22nd year in Saskatoon, my eighth (I think) at The Marr Residence, Saskatoon’s oldest house still on its original site (1884). Now operating as a museum “The Marr” will be decorated for a Victorian Christmas. This cozy evening with Mr. Dickens features tea, coffee, cider and cookies at the interval. Keep your eyes peeled for possible sightings of the resident ghost. Space is extremely limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

December 5, 2019; Saskatoon, SK
8:00pm (Doors open at 7:30)

House Concert, Crescentwood
121 Avenue G North     (View Map)
Saskatoon, SK

Ticket prices:

  • $25.00
  • Family rate $60.00 (Up to 2 adults & 3 kids)

Box Office:

I’m delighted to be back at Gillian’s appearing as one of her famous House Concerts. Lead singer and accordion player for The Whiskey Jerks, Gillian is a fine singer/performer herself and a gracious hostess to Mr. Dickens.

December 8, 2019; London, ON
Matinée at 3:00pm (Doors open at 2:00)

Aeolian Hall
795 Dundas Street East     (View Map)
London ON

Ticket prices:

  • $25.00 – Advance Purchases
  • $30.00 – At the door
  • $20.00 – Students & Seniors

Box Office:

MUSICAL GUEST: The Wassail Choir

My seventh year in London, albeit not Dickens’ London. It’s a rare treat for me to perform in an authentic Victorian theatre and the Aeolian Hall gloriously fits the bill; exactly the sort of space Dickens knew both in England and America. I was struck by the Hall’s wonderful acoustics especially when Mr. Dickens’ musical guests, London’s Wassail Choir, performed. This multi–voice group perform Dickensian era carols in period costume changing their repertoire annually. The carols change every year & I am always moved and delighted by their performance. The Wassail Choir, the timeless story of Scrooge and Tiny Tim, and the Aeolian Hall’s intimate acoustics make this event a magical, theatrical experience.

December 9, 2019; Guelph, ON
7:00pm (Doors open at 6:30)

The Church of the Apostles (St James & St Matthias), AKA St James the Apostle Anglican church
86 Glasgow Street North     (View Map)
Guelph, ON

Tickets (general admission)

  • $20.00 in advance
  • $25.00 at the door

Box Office:

MUSICAL GUESTS: Ian Bell, Rick Avery, Judy Greenhill,

When I heard the very first Vinyl Café Christmas Special it featured Ian Bell and others singing Victorian–era carols. I knew right then I wanted to perform Dickens’ Christmas Carol with them. Nearly three decades later we’ve performed together a few times, most recently in Guelph at St. James Anglican Church. I’m very happy to return again to this beautiful gothic revival church with its excellent acoustics.

St. James, the newest of the 7 old stone churches in Guelph, was completed in 1892. In the past couple of years it has taken advantage of its marvellous acoustics and mounted several fundraising concerts – including this is one. The church is fully accessible from the parking lot with an elevator to the nave and Parish hall and an accessible washroom downstairs.

The music will be provided by members of the “Vinyl Café Orchestra”. There will be opportunities to carol along to a great selection of genuine Victorian Christmas songs.

Intermission refreshments will be available in the church hall.

December 10, 2019; Toronto, ON
7:30pm (Doors open at 7:00)

Red Sandcastle Theatre
922 Queen Street East     (View Map)
Toronto, ON

Ticket prices:

  • $25.00 – General Admission
  • $20.00 – Seniors & Students

Box Office:

MUSICAL GUEST: The MadriGALS

My sixth year in this snug, and very busy, small theatre space in Toronto’s Leslieville. And as usual with my Toronto appearances The GALS will perform carols from the Middle Ages to Dickens’ day and provide musical underscoring during the performance. We’ve been performing together for over a decade and a half. This is the production that the National Post called “powerful one man theatre in the hands of a master storyteller.” (1999).

There are many good small eateries near the theatre so come down early for dinner.

December 13, 2019; Liverpool, NS
7:30pm (Doors open at 7:00)

The Astor Theatre
219 Main Street     (View Map)
Liverpool, NS

Tickets: $28.00
Box Office: (902) 354–5250

MUSICAL GUEST: Laura Smith

My first trip to the Maritimes! Liverpool, two hours outside of Halifax is home to the Astor theatre, a converted cinema now the entertainment heart of the district. Where better to see the world’s best known ghost story than in this cosy haunted theatre? With musical guest, Juno Award winning artist, Laura Smith.

December 14, 2019; Burnstown, ON
8:00pm (Dinner seatings at 5:30pm and 6:45pm)

Neat Coffee Shop
1715 Calabogie Road     (View Map)
Burnstown, ON

Tickets: $15.00 Show Only

Box Office:

MUSICAL GUEST: LMJ

My old friend Mike McCormick from the Arrogant Worms arranged this gig last year. Mike is also one–third of LMJ, a trio of Ottawa area musicians whose Christmas album is a good mixture of music familiar and less so. I’m delighted to perform with them at the Neat Coffee Shop. (And at the Gladstone Theatre. See below) The Neat Coffee Shop is celebrated for its wood fired pizza and coffee. Book for one of the two dinner sittings and give it a try. (Dickens lived in Genoa the year after he wrote, “A Christmas Carol” but his memoirs from this period, “Pictures From Italy” don’t mention pizza. Too bad for him: Neat’s Pizza is very good.) We sold out the last two years so book early!

December 15–22, 2019; Ottawa, ON
(Doors open one half–hour before showtime)
Evenings at 7:30pm
Matinées December 18 at 12:00pm; December 21 & 22 at 2:30pm

GladstoneTheatre
910 Gladstone Avenue     (View Map)
Ottawa, ON

(10 performances)

Tickets:   (Prices include a $3.00 facility fee & HST)

  • $39.00 – Adults
  • $35.00 – Seniors
  • $23.00 – Students / Artists (Including Theatre Ontario members) / Unwaged

Box Office (613) 233–4523 or http://thegladstone.ca/christmas-carol/

MUSICAL GUESTS: Finest Kind; Susan Toman; LMJ; Fiddlehead Soup

Once again the Gladstone theatre, located near Ottawa’s historic Glebe neighbourhood is the end of the road for Mr. Dickens. Dickens wanted his audiences to “imagine [they] were seated with friends around [their own] hearth” as he performed for them, and the Gladstone’s intimate auditorium comes pretty close to achieving this.

For the two performances on December 16 & 17, Susan Toman will be Mr Dickens’ musical guest. And when you come away after the performance, charmed by Ms. Toman’s skill with the Celtic harp, and you will, you should hasten to her website at www.susantoman.com, where a selection of her recordings are available.

From December 18–20, I have the great privilege of appearing for the 17th year with Finest Kind, one of Canada’s foremost folk groups. They fill the venue with gloriously harmonized versions of Christmas carols sung in pubs, on street corners and in homes during the 19th century. The words to some may sound familiar but you won’t have heard these lively, haunting, hummable tunes before. (Unless you're one of our many regulars or have bought the CD HERE, of course.) There’s even a chance to carol along.

Saturday night will pair me up with LMJ once more. Opening and closing night will feature Fiddlehead Soup with whom I first performed last year. This 5 piece ensemble gives rollicking renditions of English pub carols that would have had Fezziwig dancing up a storm.

December 23, 2019; Kingston, ON
Matinée at 2:30pm (Doors open at 2:00)

The Tett Centre Rehearsal Hall (2nd Floor)
370 King Street West     (View Map)
Kingston, ON

Tickets $20.00
Box Office: (416) 845–9411

For the second year, courtesy of Theatre Kingston’s Rosemary Doyle, I’m ending the tour at a city Dickens visited the year before he wrote Christmas Carol – Kingston. My venue is a 19th century brewery converted to a non–profit, multi–use arts and creativity centre. The Rehearsal Hall on the second floor (go downstairs from the front entrance) retains the stone walls from the original building evocatively backdropping Dickens’ story of a stone–hearted miser living in the early years of the Industrial Age. For this final performance the show is presented as Dickens did in his final years: a 75–minute one–act without intermission.

“A Christmas Carol” Dates 2019

  • November 27: 434 Avalon Road, Winnipeg, MB
  • November 28: The Bhigg House, Winnipeg, MB
  • November 29: STATION 8, Winnipeg, MB
  • November 30: House Concert, Crescentwood, Winnipeg, MB
  • December 2–4 & 6–7: Marr Residence, Saskatoon, SK
  • December 5; 121 Avenue G North, Saskatoon, SK
  • December 8; The Church of the Apostles, Guelph, ON
  • December 9; Aeolian Hall, London, ON
    (Matinée)
  • December 10; Red Sandcastle Theatre, Toronto, ON
  • December 13; The Astor Theatre, Liverpool, NS
  • December 14; Neat Coffee Shop, Burnstown, ON
  • December 15–22; Gladstone Theatre, Ottawa, ON
    (Matinées Dec. 18, 21 & 22)
  • December 23; The Tett Centre, 2nd Floor Rehearsal Hall, Kingston, ON
    (Matinée)

CONTACT:

jdhuston@mymts.net
(416) 605–9629