November Theatre
Artistic Producer: Michael Scholar, Jr.
Managing Producer: Corinne Kessel

Director: Ron Jenkins
Musical Director: Corinne Kessel
Choreographer / Assistant Director: Marie Nychka
Set and Costume Designer: Marissa Kochanski
Lighting Designer: Michael Kruse
Technical Director / Sound: Scott Peters
Movement Coach: Amy Kubanek
Stage Manager: Joanne PB Smith

Kevin Corey
Rachael Johnston
Michael Scholar, Jr.
Ashley Wright
Mackenzie Gray
Colleen Winton


Piano: Bryce Kulak
Trombone/Clarinet/Accordion/ Percussion:  Corinne Kessel
Chapman Stick/Bass/Percussion:  Duane Elias



Associate Artists
Ron Jenkins
Marie Nychka
Dale Ladouceur
Clinton Carew
Rachael Johnston
Kevin Corey

Ron Jenkins
Director / Artistic Associate

Ron is the former Artistic Director of Edmonton's Workshop West, where his selected director/dramaturg credits include: Mary's Wedding, Apple, Mesa, Respectable, The Blue Light (also ATP), The Red Priest (also ATP, Factory). Other credits include Confessions of a Paper Boy (Ghost River Theatre); Eureka, The Horror, The Horror (Skid); Liars (MTYP); and Burt (Shadow Theatre). Ron has received 8 Edmonton Sterling Awards as a director and producer. He has also received a Calgary Betty Mitchell Award and a New York Fringe Award for his Direction of The Black Rider, which received "Outstanding Production" in Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver, has toured extensively, most recently to Magnetic North (St. John's) and the Push Festival (Vancouver). Ron was shortlisted for the 2007 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, recently directed the award-winning Any Night at Summerworks 2008, and Bash'd Off-Broadway.

Michael Scholar, Jr.
Peg Leg, Kuno / Artistic Producer

Michael is the Artistic Producer of November Theatre, which has been touring The Black Rider across North America since 1998. The Black Rider is the only production to win the Sterling Award (Edmonton), the Betty Mitchell Award (Calgary) and the Jessie Award (Vancouver) for “Best Production”. Michael’s performance in this labour of love has also garnered him a Betty Nomination for “Best Performance in a Musical”. Other favourite acting credits include: Tideline (Touchstone / neworldtheatre), Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Bard on the Beach), Cloud Tectonics (Vancouver Playhouse/Pi Theatre), Life After God, and Little Mercy’s First Murder (Touchstone Theatre), Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice (Free Will Players), The Blue Orphan (Catalyst Theatre), The Edible Woman (Theatre Junction) and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Theatre Network). Also a director, Michael staged Humanity and No for Persephone Theatre (Saskatoon) and the runaway musical hit I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change for the Arts Club Theatre and the Gateway Theatre. Michael has been nominated 3 times for the Jessie Award for “Best Supporting Actor (Large Theatre)” and has won the Sterling Award for “Best Lead Actor” for his turn as Hedwig. In 2004 Michael received Equity’s Emerging Artist Award.

Corinne Kessel
Messenger / Musical Director / Trombone / Managing Producer

Once a prairie girl, Corinne received her BMus and MA in Music from the University of Alberta. She has worked as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, sound designer, and musical director across Western Canada. Her work on The Black Rider (November Theatre) garnered her a Sterling Award and a Betty Mitchell Award for “Best Musical Direction”. Favourite credits include Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Theatre Network), An Eye for an Eye (Ghost River Theatre), Ilsa Queen of the Nazi Love Camp (Workshop West), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Arts Club Theatre), and As You Like It (Presentation House). Corinne is the composer and musical director of Unplugged, a one woman rock opera by playwright/performer Penelope Corrin that is toured across Canada and to New York. You can also catch Corinne rocking out on her trombone with the Vancouver ska band, The Furios.

Kevin Corey
Wilhelm / Artistic Associate

Kevin has been a part of November Theatre's production of The Black Rider since taking it to the New York Fringe in 1999. Since then he had the pleasure of touring The Black Rider with November Theatre across Canada. Some past credits include A Christmas Carol, Hamlet ( The Citadel Theatre), Comrades, Stop Kiss, Shakespeare's R&J, and Fool For Love (Kill Your Television Theatre), George Dandin (The Globe Theatre), The Sister's Rosensweig (Theatre Calgary), Glace Bay Miner's Museum, and While my Mother Lay Dreaming (Shadow Theatre), 6 seasons with the Free Will Shakespeare Festival (Edmonton), and touring Catalyst Theatre's production of The Blue Orphan across Canada, as well as to Scotland and Australia.

Ashley Wright

For the Tarragon - Slavs, The Red Priest, The Fall. Other Theatres: Canadian Stage – Omnium Gatherum, As You Like It, Of Mice and Men (Dora nomination); DVxT/Theatre Passe Murrraille – St. Christopher; Stratford Theatre Festival – The Trials of Ezra Pound; Theatre du Pif (Hong Kong) – Blackbird; Manitoba Theatre Centre – Of Mice and Men, Hosanna; Citadel Theatre – Noises Off, Hamlet, Actor’s Nightmare/Sister Mary Ignatious…; Bard On The Beach – Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, Merry Wives of Windsor.

Mackenzie Gray
Old Uncle / Robert / The Duke / Georg Schmid

A professional actor for 30 years, Mackenzie Gray has appeared in over 100 plays in Canada, Britain and the United States and in over 120 films and TV shows. He joined the triumphant Jessie award-winning production of The Black Rider in Vancouver this year. Other plays include lead roles in Boxing Shakespeare, Bloody Poetry, The Rocky Horror Show, The Threepenny Opera, Playing With Fire, The Life And Times Of Mackenzie King, The Great War, DoubleDutch, Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo And Juliet, Macbeth, and Troilus And Cressida. He has directed at The Stratford Festival and Canadian Stage, wrote and directed The Snow Maiden at The Royal Alexandra Theatre, produced Crow’s Theatre’s Unidentified Human Remains And The True Nature Of Love and has directed and produced over 25 plays. TV and Film include: Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, (working with Tom Waits) Shooter, Dragon Steel, Hurricane Hunter, Riddle Of The Sphinx, Supernatural, Smallville, The Collector, Andromeda, First Wave, The Net (series lead), So Weird, The L-Word, Twilight Zone, Cold Squad, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Voyage Of The Unicorn. Mackenzie has won or been nominated for many awards and has written, directed and scored several short films.

Rachael Johnston
Kathchen, Young Kuno, Angel of Foof / Artistic Associate

How fantastic to be doing The Black Rider in Toronto! This show is one of Rachael's favorite pieces of theatre, one that is very dear to her and she is excited to be performing it once again, this time in a city that is totally new to her. Rachael has been honoured with nominations for her performance in this production in Calgary (The Bettys), Edmonton (The Sterlings) and Vancouver (The Jessies). For her though, the real treat is just being on stage as a part of this exciting show. Favorite credits include: Yitzak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Theatre Network, Edmonton) and Becky Two Shoes in Urinetown (Ground Zero and Hit and Myth productions, Calgary). Rachael is a graduate of the BFA acting program at the University of Alberta. Since graduating Rachael has done most of her acting work in Calgary, Alberta where she lives with her fella and her awesome dog Oscar!

Colleen Winton

Colleen is thrilled to be back in Toronto, ‘riding’ with November Theatre again after appearing in its Vancouver run. She celebrates a 30-year performing career that includes the Stratford, Shaw and Charlottetown Festivals, the companies of CATS (original Toronto cast) and Show Boat (Livent), stints at the Royal Alex, The Grand Theatre, Sudbury Theatre, Huron Country Playhouse and extensive film and TV credits. Performance credits include: Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Crucible and Burn This (Citadel Theatre), A Chorus Line and Nothing Sacred (Playhouse) and Stepping Out, Shear Madness, Dames at Sea and Gypsy (for one exciting turn as Mama Rose) for the Arts Club. Colleen is the newly appointed Artistic Director of Western Gold Theatre in Vancouver. She was AD of Showcase Theatre Festival’s ‘07 season where she directed Waiting for the Parade. Previous Showcase seasons include directing Taming of the Shrew and playing Lili Vanessi in Kiss Me, Kate. She choreographed Little Women and Pirates of Penzance (Chemainus) and Come Rain or Come Shine (Belfry). Honours include 3 Jessie nominations, a Jessie award for her Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and the Bernie Legge Cultural Award. She is married to actor Russell Roberts and they have 2 wonderful sons.

Colleen served as Artistic Director of Showcase Theatre Festival last season where she directed John Murrell’s Waiting for the Parade. Previous Showcase seasons include directing Taming of the Shrew and appearing as Lili Vanessi in Kiss Me, Kate. She also choreographed Little Women and Pirates of Penzance (Chemainus) and Come Rain or Come Shine (Belfry). Honours include 3 Jessie nominations, a Jessie award for her portrayal of Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and the Bernie Legge Cultural Award. She is married to actor Russell Roberts and they have 2 wonderful sons.

Joanne P. B. Smith
Stage Manager

Joanne is happy to be joining November Theatre for the second time with The Black Rider. Recent credits include Stage Managing The Tempest and Titus Andronicus for Bard on the Beach, How it Works for Touchstone Theatre, Revenge for Felix Culpa, recovery for Rumble and Moonlight and Magnolias at the Playhouse. Also Assistant Stage Manager for Oliver, No Great Mischief and Vincent in Brixton at the Playhouse. Some previous stage managing credits include Soulless and Hedda Gabbler for Rumble Productions. Cymbeline, Pericles, Macbeth, Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, The Winter’s Tale, Troilus & Cressida, Julius Caesar and Timon of Athens at Bard on the Beach. Copenhagen at the Playhouse. In a previous life Joanne stage-managed for various Dance Companies.

Bryce Kulak

Bryce is a pianist, singer, songwriter, and actor who has been working professionally in theatre for 16 years. He got his start in Edmonton, playing leading roles in Oliver!, Peter Pan, The Music Man, The Secret Garden, The Sound of Music, and Camelot. Shortly after graduating from the Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts, Bryce began writing cabaret-style songs. People seemed to like them, so after several years he was asked to write music for theatre, which finally made perfect sense of his rather disjointed but consistently artistic upbringing. He moved to Toronto as an ensemble hobbit in the world premiere of The Lord of the Rings musical, but wound up playing the role of Pippin over 50 times. The children's musical he co-wrote with Trevor Anderson (Nami Namersson: the Viking who Liked to Name Things) won three Sterling Awards and was remounted last season. Singing in The Spiegel Show at the Harbourfront Centre marked Bryce's return to the cabaret scene and his introduction to burlesque. Last summer he performed at the Edmonton Fringe in Sad Victoria's Pelican Day, a movement-based show constructed around his songs. Currently, Bryce is working with playwright Emil Sher on a new musical for the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. As a pianist he has played everything from Mozart to Rachmaninoff, but this is the first time he has been in a show band in many years. Bryce's two albums of quirky cabaret songs are regularly played on CBC; to hear them, kindly visit

Duane Elias
Bass/Chapman Stick

Duane is a multi-instrumentalist, a luthier, and a father. He was involved in one of the original runs of The Black Rider as an understudy, and is very pleased to have finally rejoined the group. He has performed and recorded with Mike McDonald of Junior Gone Wild fame, and performs with The Time Flies (the Pink Floyd of children's entertainment - this ain't Raffi!) as well as a host of local talent in the Alberta region. His heroes include his family (all of it), everyone he's ever played with, and the guy who plays bass for Rush. Oddly enough, in one of the old Gaelic dialects, his name means "a song". He prefers heavy gauge strings, NEVER uses a pick, and will often refuse outright to play high notes.

Marie Nychka
Choreographer / Assistant Director / Artistic Associate

Marie is one of the original members of November Theatre and has been involved with The Black Rider since its first production in North America 10 years ago. She began her career as a dancer working with such companies as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Ballet Brazil and Ballet de Roma performing across Canada, the U.S., the Caribbean, Brazil, and Italy. Since settling in Edmonton in 1990 she has worked extensively as a freelance director/choreographer and actor/singer/dancer. She also teaches Drama, Physical Theatre and Movement at the University of Alberta. She has six times been nominated and twice received the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award and in 2005 was also nominated for a Betty Mitchell Award, all for Outstanding Choreography.

Marissa Kochanski
Set and Costume Designer

Marissa has been with The Black Rider since its journey to the New York Fringe in 1999. She has worked as a set and costume designer in Edmonton for the past ten years. Recent favorites include: Duck Duck Bang (set/costume design, co-creator/lyricist) for Firefly Theatre, and Treasure Island (set/costume design) for Keyano Theatre. In 2004, she won a Sterling Award (Edmonton) for her set design of Theatre Network's Marion Bridge, and a Betty Mitchell Award (Calgary) for The Black Rider's costume design. She is a fan of true love, underdogs, and playing Boggle. She dislikes broken glass, rusty nails, and littering.

Michael Kruse
Lighting Designer

Michael has been with The Black Rider since 2004 and is glad to be joining the show for one last hurrah. Michael has been a Toronto-based lighting designer for 15 years and has worked across Canada with many of the major players in Canadian theatre. Michael has been nominated for 3 Dora Mavor Moore awards in Lighting Design and received a Sterling nomination in Edmonton for The Black Rider in 2005. Michael continues to be involved in professional theatre on several fronts including mentoring, technical support and design. Michael has recently retrained and works as a paramedic in York Region and Northumberland County.

Scott Peters
Technical Director / Sound

Scott has been in the theatre business for almost twenty years, and in the music business even longer. Some of his favorite memories are: A Beautiful View, Closer and Closer Apart, True West, The Summer of My Amazing Luck, Marion Bridge (Lighting Designer/Production Manager - Theatre Network), Never Swim Alone (Production Designer - Scarface Productions), Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Little Green Riding Hood (Lighting Designer - Alberta Opera), The Winter's Tale Project (Lighting Designer/Band member - To the Moon And Back productions), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Krzyzhtoff - Theatre Network), Mary's Wedding (Lighting Designer/Production Manager - Workshop West Theatre). Scott is also a founding member of the Celtic rock band Captain Tractor, vice president of Arts on the Ave, and is currently program director, writer, and music producer of the Songs From the Ave project in Edmonton where he lives with his wife and children. On his return to Edmonton, Scott starts a residency with the Edmonton Public School Board writing musicals for two public schools. This is Scott's fifth time with the Riders having stage managed the 2000 tour, and run sound on the 2004, 2006, and 2008 tours. Enjoy.

Tour Dates

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