The Black Rider: Company

Oct 05, 2004

In 1998, Michael Scholar, Jr. produced the World English Premiere of The Black Rider at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, under Michael Scholar, Sr.’s direction. It was a bold undertaking for a fringe show, with 6 cast members, a 7 member onstage orchestra and a piece that was as strange as it was original.
The show was a runaway success, garnering rave reviews, sell-out houses and an extended run at the Roxy Theatre. It was a flashy production with razzle dazzle, and a North American Musical sensibility.
But in 1999 when the company was asked to bring the show to New York as part of the juried New York Fringe Festival, the show went through some changes. With new director, Ron Jenkins, co-producer and partner Corinne Kessel, new concepts and designs, some casting changes, and a smaller more portable 3-piece band, this darker, sleeker version of The Black Rider emerged for the American English Premiere.
The show was the toast of Off-Broadway, winning the favour of the press, the festival award for Best Direction and became the highest selling show in festival history. This was the beginning of November Theatre: an ensemble of like-minded artists who wish to create dynamic pieces with a unique theatrical language, through text, movement and song.
In 2000, this revamped version of The Black Rider returned to Canada and toured to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival and back to the Edmonton Fringe Festival, with more accolades and another extension at the Roxy Theatre.
In Winnipeg the show was named #1 pick of the Fringe by CBC Radio and TV. In Edmonton, the production took home top prizes at the Sterling Awards including: Outstanding Fringe Production and Outstanding Fringe Director. It also received nominations for Outstanding Fringe Performance by an Actress for Rachael Johnston, and two nominations for Outstanding Fringe Performance by an Actor, for Clinton Carew and Kevin Corey.
Now, four years later, November Theatre revisits this devilish tale and launches their Western Canadian tour to be presented at theatres in Edmonton, Whitehorse, Saskatoon, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria.