Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre releases ‘thrilling’ 2020-21 playbill

This year is looking like a great one for Winnipeg theatregoers, as the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (Royal MTC) announced its 2020-21 playbill on the weekend – a lineup the centre’s artistic director calls “thrilling.”

“We have an amazing season. It’s an incredible blend of beloved classics and world premieres… and some great work from the contemporary repertoire,” artistic director Kelly Thornton told 680 CJOB.

“We’re really thrilled to bring this playbill to Manitobans.”

The season includes the Canadian premiere of the Broadway hit Network, based on the Academy Award-winning 1976 film.

Thorton said the stage adaptation, like the famous movie, is a visionary look at the inner workings of the media, with themes that still ring true four decades later.

“It really predicted the world we live in now, in terms of ‘fake news,’” she said.

“Basically, it’s about a TV anchor that turns into a prophet on television because the ratings go up when he starts to speak the truth on air. Instead of firing him, they realize this is a perfect opportunity for them. The news network basically sells their souls for ratings.

“It’s an amazing play and still incredibly relevant. It opened at the National Theatre in the U.K. and went to Broadway. It’s going to be a brilliant show… The world of television is going to be brought to life on the MTC stage.”

The lineup also includes holiday performances of The Sound of Music, as well as The Three Musketeers, Children of God – which Thornton called “a fantastic musical about the Indigenous resilience” – and Calpurnia.

“One thing that I’m super excited about is including our rural tour, we have seven Canadian plays on our stage this season, so it’s a pretty exciting season,” she said.

“And I haven’t even gotten to the Warehouse, and there’s a whole bunch of great plays over there, too.”

Royal MTC’s Warehouse plays for 2020-21 include the world premiere of New, set in 1970s Winnipeg, as well as The Wolves, Yaga, and The Runner.

Before any of those plays hit the stage, however, the theatre centre’s 2019-20 season is still on.

“The fun never ends here. We’re still excited about the season we’re in right now,” said Thornton.

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