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This article was published 30/9/2017 (745 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In the upcoming theatre season in Winnipeg, expect to be blown away, blissed-out, Broadway-ed, and... blindfolded?
The 2017-18 season is an especially potent one, and part of that has to do with Winnipeg’s flagship theatre venue, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, which pulled out the big guns in observance of its 60th anniversary. That occasion facilitated the theatre’s grand get, Come From Away, a hit still playing on Broadway, by Canadians Irene Sankoff and David Hein. It gets its Canadian regional theatre première at Royal MTC, directed by Christopher Ashley, who won a Tony Award for the Broadway production.
And yet, the season is notable for its riskier ventures, which include a kids production based on an abstract video game, a whole season in which plays will be interpreted into American Sign Language, and a show in which every member of the audience is blindfolded.
Get out your calendars and prepare to choose from a diverse batch of theatrical goodies.
(Oct. 11-27, Prairie Theatre Exchange)
Royal MTC isn’t the only company boasting Broadway credentials. PTE’s season opener, written by Joan McLeod, stars former Winnipegger-turned-Broadway baby Samantha Hill (The Phantom of the Opera) as a 15-year-old girl born into a polygamous community, where she is forced to choose between religious conformity and rebellion.
(Oct. 11-21, Theatre by the River)
Co-produced with Theatre Incarnate, this 2011 play by Phillip Ridley is a dissection of a relationship between "Man" and "Woman," spanning realms of fantasy and reality.
(Oct. 19-Nov. 11, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre)
Royal MTC’s mainstage season opener is a grandly mounted musical adaptation of the 1998 film by Lee Hall from the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. As in the movie, the play recounts how Shakespeare’s comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter is transformed into Romeo and Juliet when young Shakespeare falls in love with an actress named Viola.
(Oct. 20-28, Manitoba Theatre for Young People)
Kids do love to see a clumsy guy falling about, so it’s best not to reveal the acrobatic/slapstick skill of Jamie Adkins as he makes a spectacle of doing simple things — such as putting on his pants — with elaborate difficulty. Suitable for ages three and up.
(Oct. 21-29, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre)
Billy, the only deaf member of a Jewish family, has his world rocked when he is taught American Sign Language by a young woman who is herself slowly going deaf. WJT artistic director Ari Weinberg will present this and the other shows in the WJT season with an ASL interpreter for select shows.
(Oct. 25-Nov. 5, Theatre Projects Manitoba)
Well, this is different. Audience members are blindfolded and individually guided into the performance space for a sci-fi-infused story of two new parents faced with the troublesome problem that their baby was born into another dimension.
(Oct. 26-Nov. 11 at RMTC Warehouse)
A world première production with Gateway Theatre and Vertigo Theatre, this noir mystery follows a Chinese detective in Hong Kong circa 1920 on the trail of a serial killer.
(Nov. 8-26, Prairie Theatre Exchange)
Canadian and South African artists collaborate on an examination of "ubuntu" — the spirit of community — in this work created by The Cape Town Project and co-produced with Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre.
(Nov. 10-18, Manitoba Theatre for Young People)
Two clown sisters, up against their own economic depression, decide to mount their own version of John Steinbeck’s Depression-era tragedy Of Mice and Men.
(Nov. 23-Dec. 16, RMTC)
This adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic by Bruce McManus features effusive local theatre mainstay Robb Paterson as the less-than-effusive Ebenezer Scrooge.
(Dec. 8-30, MTYP)
Even if you’re prone to Peanuts allergies, good grief, you’ll find it hard to resists this twofer double-bill show consisting of A Charlie Brown Christmas and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
(Dec. 21-Jan. 7, 2018, PTE)
How do the stories of Robert Munsch hold up with a musical soundtrack by Ennio Morricone? Just kidding. This seasonal offering sees a few select Munsch kid stories adapted by local writer Debbie Patterson.
(Jan. 12-Feb. 3, 2018, with previews January 4-11, RMTC)
The big deal of this year’s theatre season tells the story of what happened Sept. 11, 2001 when 38 planes and 6,579 passengers were forced to land and bivouac in Gander, N.L. The sombre occasion somehow translates to a joyous musical by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, the latter of whom gave a shout-out to the Winnipeg music scene for introducing him to the East Coast sound that pervades this Tony award-winning musical.
(Jan. 24-Feb. 11 PTE)
David French’s Canadian theatre classic about two Newfoundland lovers contemplating a future together is presented with a fresh twist courtesy of the Factory Theatre touring with Why Not Theatre.
(Jan. 26-Feb. 4, MTYP)
C.S. Lewis’s Narnia story is adapted for the stage in a show recommended for audiences ages 5 to 12.
(Feb. 1-17, RMTC Warehouse)
American playwright John Patrick Shanley is the subject of the annual playwright’s fest, making this Warehouse production the flagship of February’s ShanleyFest. This story of star-crossed love in an Irish farming community was nominated for a Tony.
(Feb. 15-March 10, RMTC)
Another movie adaptation, this stage musical is based on the movie of the same name, about an Irish street musician who falls for a Czech immigrant girl, with whom he makes beautiful music.
(Feb. 16 to 24, MTYP)
Recommended for ages 9 and up, this is a stylized story of an old man wandering in the night in a movie western fantasy coloured by the man’s onset of dementia.
(Feb. 28 to March 8, PTE)
This world première by local playwright Joseph Aragon tells the story of a woman on an experimental drug who gains the ability to see the true nature of energy and matter, compelling her physicist friend to try to convince her she’s just hallucinating.
(March 6-17, WJT)
This annual program of new works and works in progress features We Keep Coming Back, the story of a mother and son, both descendants of Holocaust survivors, who decide to return to Poland in hopes of reconnecting with each other. Performed by Winnipeg’s Mary Berchard and Michael Rubenfeld, who are real-life mother and son.
(March 8-24, RMTC Warehouse)
The lifelong friendship of three women, from university on, is the subject of this comedy by Amelia Bullmore.
(March 22-April 14, RMTC)
A multiple Tony winner in 2016, this drama by Stephen Karam examines the cracking foundations of a family over the course of a boozy Thanksgiving dinner at one daughter’s New York duplex.
(March 23-31, MTYP)
A dance quartet brings a human dimension to the retro video game of the title in a show recommended for ages five to 12.
(March 28-April 8, Theatre Projects Manitoba)
A portrait of an outsider, engaged in a fevered monologue on the outskirts of a small town.
(April 4-22, PTE)
This comic farce follows two home-care workers in Belfast racing to cash in their deceased patient’s unclaimed winning race ticket.
(April 12-28, RMTC Warehouse)
This drama pivots on an oddball romance between a 75-year-old British butcher and a 42-year-old American woman searching for her missing son.
(April 21-29, MTYP)
Two beloved storybook classics by Margaret Wise Brown are brought to the stage with the help of luminous production design and meticulous puppetry.
(April 26-May 19, RMTC)
A post-funeral hookup for a pair of seniors promises a new lease of late-life in this comedy by Carey Crim, the author of last year’s Warehouse drama 23.5 Hours.
(May 5-13, WJT)
A co-production with Dry Cold Productions, this Tony Award winning musical chronicles two years in a fractious family and their friends and neighbours in New York City between 1979 and 1981.
In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.