Since 2012 he has been the Artistic Director of Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage which, with an operating budget of $2.6 million, 2,300 seats, 200 seasonal artists and 63 years old, is Canada’s largest and longest running not-for-profit music theatre company. During his tenure at Rainbow Stage he has ushered in an era of artistic growth and excellence, forged acclaimed partnerships with flagship institutions such as the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and spearheaded the creation of nationally recognized professional arts training programs.
Born in Toronto and raised in Montreal, Ray began his ballet training in a church basement at the age of 17. He received formal training as an actor at the Dome Theatre Program, and completed his training as a dance artist at Ryerson University’s prestigious Theatre School.
Ray has spent the past 20+ years as a high profile concert dancer, music theatre performer, director, and choreographer. He was a soloist for the Danny Grossman Dance Company, DanceTheatre David Earle, Julia Sasso Dances, Robert Desrosiers and CORPUS Dance Projects, with whom he toured Canada, Europe and cable TV as the immensely popular Captain Krankovitch (Treehouse TV’s 4 Square).
After five years on the concert dance stage, Ray moved to Stuttgart Germany to perform as Plato/MacAvity in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats and has since appeared in such shows as: Kiss me Kate, Jesus Christ Superstar, Dreamgirls, Seussical, Evita, Sweet Charity, Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, West Side Story, Ross Petty’s Beauty & the Beast, and for the Stratford Festival, Oklahoma!, South Pacific, and My One and Only.
A passionate and active educator, Ray has taught and created programming for the Toronto District School Board, the Halton School Board, the Stratford Festival, the Shaw Festival, Harbour Dance, Metro Movement, Musical Stage Company’s One Song Glory, Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, Sheridan College, The University of Winnipeg, and Rainbow Stage’s Music Theatre Conservatory. In 2010 he took over Artistic Directorship of showcasing at George Brown College’s Dance Programme, where from 2002-2012 he was a senior faculty member. In 2012, Ray was instrumental in the creation of The Rainbow Stage Music Theatre Conservatory, which provides paid training and free professional development to artists at every stage of their career
Ray’s work as a director and choreographer has allowed him to stage pieces for two European/World tours with CORPUS Dance Projects, at Sheridan College (Chicago, Damn Yankees), Toronto’s Bluma Appel Theatre (The Death of Enkidu), Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage (Cats, Buddy, The Producers, Sister Act, Shrek, Little Shop of Horrors), Drayton Entertainment’s Huron Country Playhouse & Drayton Festival Theatre (Guys & Dolls, Sweet Charity), The Stratford Festival’s Festival Theatre (A Grand Night For Stratford), and at the Shaw Festival’s Royal George Theatre & Festival Theatre (Come Back Little Sheba, Ragtime).
As Artistic Director of Canada’s oldest and largest music theatre Ray has not only emerged as a sought after Canadian voice in the dialogue surrounding equality, representation, diversity, and inclusion, but also as a leader unafraid to program and create from the heart. Known for presenting virtuosic, visually stunning, viscerally moving theatre, Ray has created and contributed to a wide variety of projects ranging in complexity from 5-person street theatre performances and new works in development, to large-scale contemporary music theatre pieces and dramatically complex classical plays on our grandest stages. As an artistic director, he has aimed to balance moving our art form forwards, providing stimulating repertoire for artists to interpret and engaging audiences in surprising and delightful ways.