Friday, February 3, 2017

MEDIA THEATRE HAS 'SIDE SHOW' MARCH 8-26; CAST ANNOUNCED

The Media Theatre has one musical per season which is not quite as mainstream as the other titles on its marquee, filling a particular void for those interested in passionate works by top notch writers and composers who have pieces in their oeuvre which deserve to be seen but are rarely produced.

Artistic Director Jesse Cline has chosen the Broadway musical "Side Show" as this season's showcase for a little seen work. 



"Side Show", with a book and lyrics by Bill Russell and music by Henry Krieger, is based on the story of Daisy and Violet Hilton. The Hilton sisters were conjoined twins who entertained on the carnival and burlesque circuit in the 1920's and '30's. Managed poorly, the sisters eventually meet a talent scout and his budding musician pal who make a deal to showcase the two women on the Orpheum Circuit. Bursting with hope regarding their newfound fame, the ladies hearts are still unfulfilled, as they cannot escape the reputation of being 'freaks'. 

"Side Show" has featured roles throughout as the twins deal with their friends, such as The Tattooed Lady, Pin Cushion, and others. Each role is based on actual people who traveled from town to town on display as 'freaks' to earn a living.

The musical is a powerful reminder that everyone is unique, acceptance should be celebrated, and no one is ever really alone. The score features "Come Look At The Freaks" and the powerful anthem "I Will Never Leave You". 

In director Cline's production, Daisy and Violet Hilton are played by Jenna Patuszek and Ashley Sweetman. Patuszek makes her debut on The Media Theatre stage, with Sweetman returning after appearing in "Les Miserables", "Ghost", and "Dogfight". 

The New York Times says "Side Show is a wonderful musical....It burrows deep into your spirit." 

The Media Theatre is producing the 2014 revival version of "Side Show". It is on stage March 8-26. For tickets, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org GET TICKETS

The "Side Show" cast is:

Daisy Hilton.......Jenna Pastuszek 
Violet Hilton.......Ashley Sweetman

Terry...................Bob Stineman
Buddy.................Derek Basthemer

Sir.......................Kelly Briggs

Jake....................Darnell Abraham

Half-Man Half-Woman....Brian Henry
Bearded Lady/ Auntie....Susan Wefel
Tattoo Lady.....................Jennie Eisenhower
Fortune Teller.................Krystina Hawkinson
Three Legged Man.........Patrick Ludt
Dog Boy..........................Roger Ricker
Lizard Man......................Ryan Lauer
Venus De Milo................Kimberly Maxson
Pin Cushion...................Grant Struble
Geek...............................Jim Conte
The Roustabouts...........Rachel Hendrickson, Ronnie Keller, Denzel Thomas



















Thursday, January 26, 2017

FIRST LOOK PICS....'ROMEO AND JULIET' AT THE MEDIA THEATRE NOW THRU FEB. 19

"Romeo and Juliet" is a timeless story of young love which has been imitated in countless ways over the decades, even catapulted into the musical theatre stratosphere with "West Side Story". 

Yet, with all of its variations, the heart of Shakespeare's original prose still stands the test of time as the ultimate romantic adventure for lovers of all ages. And, truth be told, with its star crossed lovers at the forefront, "Romeo and Juliet" is an adventure --an adventure of the soul, a true vision of the heights (and depths) our love for one another might carry us. 

The Media Theatre presents Shakespeare's original verse in a "Romeo and Juliet" that transports us to 1930's Verona, after an earthquake has ravaged the region and upheaval brings renovation, restoration, and a new look at the world surrounding the Montagues and Capulets. 

On stage through February 19, director Bill Van Horn assembled a cast of professional actors from the Philadelphia region including Brandon O' Rourke as Romeo and Lexi Gwynn as Juliet. 

See the First Look photos below and visit mediatheatre.org for tickets, or call 610-891-0100. Photos by Maura McConnell. GET TICKETS


Lexi Gwynn as Juliet, with Brandon O' Rourke as Romeo


Lexi Gwynn and Brandon O' Rourke

Lexi Gwynn as Juliet with Susan Wefel as The Nurse

Monday, January 23, 2017

FIRST LOOK PHOTOS: DISNEY'S 'CINDERELLA' AT THE MEDIA THEATRE NOW THRU FEB. 19

Disney's "Cinderella" Kids production is on stage now at The Media Theatre through February 19, each weekend with performances Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at Noon. 

Based on the classic animated film, the show provides a 45 minute long introduction to live theatre for young audiences ages 4 and up while parents and adults will delight in its humor. All ages will enjoy hearing the songs they know and love including "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" and "Bibbidee Bobbidee Boo".

With a cast of students from the theatre's education programs (acting classes and New School), the show also features two of Media Theatre's acting instructors in the roles of Wicked Stepmother (Roger Ricker) and The King (Tim Haney).

Music Direction and keyboard accompaniment is by Rowan University student Chris Weed, with Costumes by Carol Sorensen. 

For tickets and information, visit mediatheatre.org or call 610-891-0100.
Photos below by Greg Carroccio. 


Cinderella hopes to go to the Ball. This is student actress Violet Wiley, who shares the role with Mary Kate Vink.


The Stepmother (Roger Ricker) tells Cinderella (Violet Wiley) to get to work! 



Three of the Mice (Charlie Carroccio, Kiki Triolo, and Bridget Henry) 
Hanna Murphy as The Fairy Godmother. She shares the role with Noelle Longenberger. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

TONY WINNER ALICE RIPLEY TO HEADLINE MEDIA THEATRE'S GALA FEB. 25

Tony award winner Alice Ripley will headline The Media Theatre’s Star Struck Fundraising Gala on Saturday February 25 at 6pm at the theatre.  Patrons, donors, actors, politicians, and sponsors will enjoy a catered reception, live and silent auctions, award ceremony, and concert by Ms. Ripley at the 23rd annual gala event.  Tickets start at $150.

Star Struck is an event that will celebrate the many star contributors, volunteers, and performers who continue to guide and light the theater and its mission.  The 2017 Walter M. Strine Advocate of the Arts Award will be presented to Delaware County Councilman David White for his exemplary generosity.  Iron Workers Bank, represented by its President Mr. John Whitig, will receive the 2017 Community Partnership Award for its longstanding commitment to The Vocalist and Vocalist Jr. vocal contests for youth.

Gala guests will be entertained with a concert by Broadway’s Alice Ripley.  She is best known for her Tony Award-winning performance as Diana in Next to Normal and Tony and Drama Desk nominations as one of the two Hilton sisters in Side Show.   (Coincidentally, the Philadelphia regional professional premiere of Side Show will open at the Media Theatre this spring.)  Ripley also starred in the original Broadway casts of Sunset Boulevard, James Joyce's The Dead, The Rocky Horror Show and The Who's Tommy. 
Tony Winner Alice Ripley, who will headline The Media Theatre's Gala on Feb. 25


Alice Ripley joins other Broadway and regional stars who have appeared on The Media Theatre stage including Philip Boykin, Betty Buckley, Ann Crumb, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Judy Kaye, Andy Karl, and Andrea McArdle. Aside from those celebrity names, many who have performed on the Media Theatre stage have had their start at the theatre’s education programs or developed as artists through the theatre’s musical productions.

“At almost any given time, audiences on Broadway are being entertained by Media Theatre alumnae,” notes Artistic Director Jesse Cline. “These include young actress Ava Briglia, who studied here and just finished playing the lead role on Broadway’s Matilda; Sean Thompson, who is currently cast in the new Broadway revival of Sunset Boulevard with Glenn Close after starring in our production of Sunset Boulevardtwo years ago; and Andy Karl who will be opening the new musical Groundhog Day this spring.”

As a way to celebrate The Media Theatre Broadway connection, many items for auction will be Broadway themed including tickets to the blockbuster Hamilton and Glenn Close’s Sunset Boulevard (paired with a dinner date with current cast member Sean Thompson).  Other items will include a sit-in at the annual Media Theatre’s New York City auditions and a walk-on-role in a mainstage production at the theatre.

Individual and corporate sponsorships are still available as well as single tickets for $150.  Sponsorships and tickets can be secured atmediatheatre.org/gala or by calling 610.891.0100.

About The Media Music Theatre Company:
The Media Theatre for the Performing Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization operating as the only award-winning professional theatre in Delaware County.  It produces a full season of musicals and one play, the Broadway Series, a Children's Series, and educational opportunities. The theatre’s mission is to promote and nurture the imagination, diversity and joy unique to music theatre is exemplified by the professional productions of new and classic works and by our work with young people to herald music theatre as an art form that is indigenous to their cultural heritage.


Monday, January 16, 2017

MEDIA THEATRE WINS 16 2016 BROADWAY WORLD AWARDS FOR 'BEST OF PHILADELPHIA THEATRE'

The Media Theatre is the winner of 16 2016 Broadway World Awards for “Best of Philadelphia Theatre”. The Media Theatre, for the second consecutive year, swept major categories such as Best Musical, Best Play, Best Director, and every category for acting.

Jesse Cline, the Artistic Director for Media Music Theatre Company which is the professional music theatre organization housed at The Media Theatre, received his fourth win for Best Director. “These honors are a testament to the great work being done here on State Street in Media,” he said. “We are happy to be a large part of the Philadelphia theatre community.”

The nominations were announced back in November for productions which were produced between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. The Media Theatre landed 49 nominations from the esteemed online theatrical magazine, and is now the winner of 16 Awards for 2016. Broadway World has headquarters in NYC and regional offices throughout the USA, giving up to the minute reports on all that is Broadway, Off-Broadway, and for each major city's theatre district and community.

After nominations were announced, Broadway World opened the voting up in each region to public voting. Members of each theatre community cast their votes as well as theatre patrons. The awards are very similar to the nationally televised People's Choice Awards, as the public chooses the winner in each category.

Gunar Daniels, the winner of the 2016 Broadway World Award for Best Actor in A Musical, as he flies through the air in The Media Theatre production, which also received Best Musical, Best Director of A Musical, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress as well as Best Ensemble.

With the accolades from the 2016 Broadway World Philadelphia Awards, The Media Theatre maintains its position as one of Philadelphia's most talked about and appreciated live theatre venues, as the heralded work of Media Music Theatre Company presented extremely popular and critically acclaimed productions last year such as "Billy Elliot" and "To Kill A Mockingbird", which were the two shows receiving the most wins for Media or any other theatre in the region. “Billy Elliot: The Musical” received six Broadway World Awards, with the play “To Kill A Mockingbird” receiving a total of seven.

The Media Theatre was nominated alongside other professional theatres in the Philadelphia/ Wilmington region including Walnut Street Theatre, Bristol Riverside Theatre, People's Light and Theatre Company, and The Arden Theatre.

Since 2012, The Media Theatre has won a total of 72 Broadway World Awards, cementing its status as one of Philadelphia’s premier theatres.

For the first time, one of its 2016 Broadway World Awards is in the category of Best New Work, which is for an original show having received its first production on The Media Theatre stage. The honor went to a popular production in its Children’s Series, “Peter Pan And Wendy”, which has original music by composer and lyricist Ben Kapilow. Kapilow is the theatre’s summer resident music director, heading up vocal and music during Camp Media Theatre and The Vocalist singing competition. The script is by Kate Herzlin.

The Media Theatre was nominated alongside other professional theatres in the Philadelphia/ Wilmington region including Walnut Street Theatre, Bristol Riverside Theatre, People's Light and Theatre Company, and The Arden Theatre.

The current production at The Media Theatre is Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, which is on stage January 25 through February 19 as part of its Broadway Series.

The Media Theatre won 2016 Broadway World Awards in the following categories:
Best Musical-- Billy Elliot

Best Play-- To Kill A Mockingbird

Best New Work---Peter Pan And Wendy: A New Musical

Best Director of A Musical-- Geoffrey Goldberg, Billy Elliot

Best Director of A Play-- Jesse Cline, To Kill A Mockingbird

Best Actor in A Musical---Gunar Daniels, Billy Elliot

Best Actor in A Play---Bob Stineman, To Kill A Mockingbird

Best Actress in A Musical---Elisa Matthews, Bridges of Madison County

Best Actress in A Play---Jolie Jaffe, To Kill A Mockingbird

Best Supporting Actor in A Musical---JD Triolo, Billy Elliot

Best Supporting Actor in A Play---Kelly Briggs, To Kill A Mockingbird

Best Supporting Actress in A Musical---Susan Wefel, Billy Elliot

Best Supporting Actress in A Play----Megan Rucidlo, To Kill A Mockingbird

Best Ensemble of A Musical---Billy Elliot

Best Ensemble of A Play---To Kill A Mockingbird

Best Special Event---Kelly Briggs: Broadway and Beyond

For tickets to “Romeo and Juliet” or any of The Media Theatre’s upcoming Broadway Series or Children’s Series productions, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org






Friday, December 30, 2016

DISNEY'S 'CINDERELLA' IS AT THE MEDIA THEATRE THIS WINTER

Disney and fairy tales have become synonymous over the decades due to the animated cinematic treatments given to classics such as “Cinderella”. Disney’s “Cinderella” may be seen live onstage at The Media Theatre each weekend January 21 through February 19. GET TICKETS HERE

Released by Walt Disney Studios in 1950, the film is one of their most successful adaptations. The story of “Cinderella” has always been one that many relate to, so when Disney added its brand of humor and song to tell the tale of the young lady who dreams of meeting a handsome Prince the legendary story took on new life. Ever since, when “Cinderella” is mentioned it is Disney’s version that first comes to mind.


The Media Theatre has Disney’s “Cinderella” on stage Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at Noon. It’s referred to as the “KIDS” version due to its shortened length and a cast which features young actors in many roles. The stage adaptation includes the beloved songs such as “Bibbidee Bobbidee Boo” and “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” and is approximately one hour in length.

Humor plays a large part in this version, with plenty of opportunities for young audiences to laugh and have fun while feeling sympathy for Cinderella’s predicament. There are, of course, those silly stepsisters and the cute mice as well as audience participation when Cinderella dances at The Ball!

Adding to the humor of the show, the Wicked Stepmother is played by Roger Ricker, a veteran of over 90 productions at The Media Theatre. He was seen most recently as Eeyore in “Winnie The Pooh’s Christmas Tail” and the Broadway Series productions “1776” and “Gypsy”. Tim Haney, another veteran stage performer, plays the role of The King.

Disney’s live stage adaptation features Narrators who assist in moving the fast-paced musical along.

Some of the roles in Disney’s “Cinderella” are double cast, giving performance opportunities to students of The Media Theatre. The student actors are from the New School and acting classes.

The entire cast is:
Cinderella……..Mary Kate Vink/ Violet Wiley
Stepmother……Roger Ricker
Drizella (Stepsister)….Shannon Clark/ Cassidy Else
Anastasia (Stepsister)….Alyssa Carlow/ Hanna Brady

Godmother……Noelle Longenberger/ Hanna Murphy
Prince……………Zachary Divito / Paul Vink
King……………..Tim Haney

Narrators.......Yasmin Ahmed, Grace Curry, Bridget Henry, Eve Rosenstein, Alexsa McKeown

The Mice: Gus….Aidan Fox, Jaq….Charlie Carroccio, Luke…Adrian Henry, Perla….Kiki Troilo

Grand Duke….Sean O’ Neill

Heralds……….Savanna Galloway, Chloe Islam (not double cast….there are two Heralds!)

Cat…….Macy Devitt


For tickets to Disney’s “Cinderella” at The Media Theatre call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. All Broadway Series and Youth Series productions are produced by Media Music Theatre Company.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

MEDIA THEATRE HAS WINTER ACTING CLASSES STARTING IN JANUARY

It's not too early to register for The Media Theatre's Winter Semester of Acting Classes or New School which begin the weekend of January 7, 2017. Classes make a great gift for those interested in honing their stage skills.

The popular acclaimed Children and Teen Acting Classes will be returning, as well as the Adult Acting Class. 

All classes are under the supervision of Broadway World Award winning Artistic Director Jesse Cline, who also instructs the New School which is a conservatory-style music theatre education program. 

The New School, a separate entity from the Acting Classes offered at the theatre, is a weekly session with both acting and vocal music elements for two age groups. The younger age group meets on Mondays from 4:30-6:30 with the teen group meeting on Thursdays during same time period with Cline and Chris Ertelt, the resident music director. 
Pictured:
Media Theatre New School teen students Cassidy Else, Noelle Longenberger, Josiah Jacoby, 
Shannon Clark, Paul Vink, Alyssa Carlow, Isabella Martinez, 
Josh Atkinson, Marni Clark, Jackson Sweeney, and Toni Huegel


The Acting Classes focus solely on acting skills and stage presence while also featuring improvisational theatre exercises for each age group. 

All classes and the New School at The Media Theatre follow the Sanford Meisner Technique which basically states that 'acting is living as truthfully as one can under an imaginary circumstance'. This means that all actors should create as they will as honestly as they are able, without copying anyone else's performance or trying to be who they are not. It's a confidence booster while raising self-awareness.

Roger Ricker, who has been in over 100 productions at The Media Theatre and has worked with Artistic Director Jesse Cline since 1991, will continue instructing the Level One Children's Class on Saturday mornings at 9am for ages 5-8, and the Level Two Children's Class on Tuesday afternoons at 4:30 for ages up to 11. He'll also head the Teen Acting Class on Sunday evenings at 6pm. 

The Level One Children's Class starts January 7, with the Teen Class starting January 8. The Level Two Children's Class starts January 10, as well as the Adult Class.

Tim Haney, who has directed two mainstage productions at Media and has been with Media Music Theatre Company since 1998, instructs the continuing Adult Acting Class on Tuesdays at 7:30pm. 

Cline's New School begins again on January 23, with a 12 week course focusing on monologues and solo vocal performances.

To register for the Acting Classes or New School, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. All Media Theatre acting classes are $400 for the Fall Semester, with The New School having a separate pricing structure.