2019 Season 27
John D. Huston Presents A Christmas Carol
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 countrys 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 its wise to book ahead.
November 27, 2019; Winnipeg, MB
My sixth year in this welcoming, comfy, suburban home. In the past we had to add an extra performance to accommodate Mr. Dickenss many wellwishers, so book early. Contributions to the beverage or snack table welcome.
November 28, 2019; Winnipeg, MB
The Bhigg House
This is my 17th year at the Bhigg House one of Winnipegs 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
Station 8 Café
Tickets $10.00 (In advance)
My third year at this wonderfully homey venue located in a converted firehall. 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
House Concert, Crescentwood
My eighth time at this lovely home in Winnipegs 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 24 & 67, 2019; Saskatoon, SK
Tickets: $25.00 (Advance purchase required)
Come experience a Victorian House Concert in a Victorian home! My 22nd year in Saskatoon, my eighth (I think) at The Marr Residence, Saskatoons 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
House Concert, Crescentwood
Im delighted to be back at Gillians 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
MUSICAL GUEST: The Wassail Choir
My seventh year in London, albeit not Dickens London. Its 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 Halls wonderful acoustics especially when Mr. Dickens musical guests, Londons Wassail Choir, performed. This multivoice 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 Halls intimate acoustics make this event a magical, theatrical experience.
December 9, 2019; Guelph, ON
The Church of the Apostles (St James & St Matthias), AKA St James the Apostle Anglican church
Tickets (general admission)
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 Victorianera carols. I knew right then I wanted to perform Dickens Christmas Carol with them. Nearly three decades later weve performed together a few times, most recently in Guelph at St. James Anglican Church. Im 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
Red Sandcastle Theatre
MUSICAL GUEST: The MadriGALS
My sixth year in this snug, and very busy, small theatre space in Torontos 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. Weve 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
The Astor Theatre
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 worlds best known ghost story than in this cosy haunted theatre? With musical guest, Juno Award winning artist, Laura Smith.
December 14, 2019; Burnstown, ON
Neat Coffee Shop
Tickets: $15.00 Show Only
MUSICAL GUEST: LMJ
My old friend Mike McCormick from the Arrogant Worms arranged this gig last year. Mike is also onethird of LMJ, a trio of Ottawa area musicians whose Christmas album is a good mixture of music familiar and less so. Im 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 dont mention pizza. Too bad for him: Neats Pizza is very good.) We sold out the last two years so book early!
December 1522, 2019; Ottawa, ON
Tickets: (Prices include a $3.00 facility fee & HST)
Box Office (613) 2334523 or http://thegladstone.ca/christmas-carol/
MUSICAL GUESTS: Finest Kind; Susan Toman; LMJ; Fiddlehead Soup
Once again the Gladstone theatre, located near Ottawas 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 Gladstones 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. Tomans 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 1820, I have the great privilege of appearing for the 17th year with Finest Kind, one of Canadas 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 wont have heard these lively, haunting, hummable tunes before. (Unless you're one of our many regulars or have bought the CD HERE, of course.) Theres 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
The Tett Centre Rehearsal Hall (2nd Floor)
For the second year, courtesy of Theatre Kingstons Rosemary Doyle, Im 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 nonprofit, multiuse 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 stonehearted 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 75minute oneact without intermission.
A Christmas Carol Dates 2019