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Preview: Judith Owen and Harry Shearer's Holiday Sing Along

Noah Pais on the annual guest-studded attraction



This time of year, Judith Owen and Harry Shearer are in the spirit. Sorry — spirits. "It remains today that people go out and get a bit liquored up because they want some Dutch courage," Owen told Gambit in 2009, on the audience participation that becomes the main attraction in Act II of her and hubby Shearer's annual Holiday Sing-Along. That was their fifth edition, and except for the venue — the two nights of caroling and carousing are moving across the street, from the Contemporary Arts Center to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art — not much has changed. Together, Owen (an English singer/songwriter who has been called the female Randy Newman) and Shearer (New Orleans' adopted town crier, better known as bassist and black-rose peddler Derek Smalls of This Is Spinal Tap and voice to a quarter of the cast of The Simpsons) travel the country every December, stopping in major cities to roast chestnuts and each other with help from regional guests: Loudon Wainwright in Brooklyn, Jon Langford in Chicago and seemingly everyone they know — mighty windbags Christopher Guest, Jane Lynch, Michael McKean and Catherine O'Hara among them — in L.A. Here, they call on Leah Chase, Evan Christopher, Tom McDermott, Phil DeGruy and Matt Perrine, as well as anyone willing to try recounting "The Twelve Days of Christmas," sans Benny Grunch's crib sheet, after a dozen dips of eggnog. Tickets $35. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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