Most of us take one thing at a time; John Langstaff is an exception.

Langstaff, 63, is artistic director of "The Christmas Revels" -- a celebration of the winter solstice in dance, carols and drama. The program opens Friday night at 8 at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium; performances continue on Saturday and Sunday. (For information, call 657-3285.)

"Revels" will also be given in New York and Cambridge, Mass., with different casts and material. The driving force is Langstaff, who has been shuttling from city to city since September with his "core group of Revels" and with costumer and designer Raine Miller, overseeing open auditions, keeping in touch with the local support groups and casts, researching and adapting material, hiring and gathering momentum. He not only directs but also sings in all 24 performances.

"I came from a large family where there was always a lot of music," Langstaff says of his Brooklyn Heights childhood. "We used to have carol parties. We candlelit the house, the neighbors would come . . . Everybody knew that the Sunday before Christmas was the time to gather in the Langstaffs' living room."

Langstaff, who has published a number of children's books and collections of songs, currently teachers graduate students at Lesley College in Cambridge (he makes his home in Lexington, Mass). For 15 years he was head of the music department at Potomac School in McLean. "I worked with a lot of children and a lot of music," he says. "A lot of the things I do in theater started from the time I was a young teacher." It's only natural that he has brought "The Christmas Revels" back to Washington, since "that's where it started in my mind."