Thursday, May 29, 2014

DISNEY'S 'CINDERELLA' IS AT THE MEDIA THEATRE WEEKENDS THIS SUMMER

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 weekends in June, July, and August beginning June 7.

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.


Emily Kinka, a West Chester resident and Media Theatre New School student, plays Cinderella. She was previously seen on Media Theatre’s stage in “Rumpelstiltskin” and “The Wizard of Oz” and just finished playing Cinderella in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s version at her school, St. Maximillian Kolbe.   She is an 8th grade student there where she serves as student council Vice President, plays soccer and is involved in track. The young actress is also a two-time finalist in Sea Isle City’s Got Talent and has performed at the World Café Live, The Note and Sigma Sound. 
On certain dates, the role of Cinderella is played by cast member Madilyn Gibbs

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 85 productions at The Media Theatre. He was seen most recently as Otto, the world’s oldest living tree, in “Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark”. The stepsisters are played by Danielle Lachall and Amber Duncan.

The Prince is double cast, with two Media Theatre students sharing the role: Owen Mannion and Gianni Palmarini. Both have been involved at the theatre for seven years, appearing in several youth series productions, teen camp musicals, and Broadway Series shows. The two started out in acting classes and Camp Media Theatre and have been friends since sharing their experiences at The Media Theatre. Mannion was last seen in the critically acclaimed production of “Diary of Anne Frank” with Palmarini recently playing the lead in “13, The Musical”.

Two adult performers, seen regularly in the youth series, are Shiron Denise as The Fairy Godmother and Tim Haney as The King. Students Josh Atkinson, Holly Deluca, Madelyn Gibbs, and Lauren Poltrock play the Grand Duke, Duchess, and the Heralds.


Disney’s live stage adaptation features Narrators who assist in moving the fast-paced musical along. In Media’s production, they are Scott Bradbury, Katheryn Cooper, Veronica Garrubbo, Rachel McCabe, and Rachael McVey.

The very important mice, who are friends to Cinderella, are played by Alexsa McKeown, Sean O’ Neill, Alex Pollard, and Carter Weiss. Hannah Brady and Lily Sfida share the role of The Cat.

The ensemble, who portray various Town Criers and mice in the show, are Aidan Crane, Caileigh Crane, Samuel Cooper, Bridget Henry, and Grace Tooze.

The Media Theatre is also offering, for groups of 12 or more, Slipper Parties following the show. The Parties include a ticket to the show, pizza, punch, cupcakes, and gift bags. They take place in the theatre’s second level Crystal Room, where the party-goers get to meet the cast for photos and autographs.

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.





Wednesday, May 28, 2014

CAMP MEDIA THEATRE HAS SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE

Camp Media Theatre is entering its fifteenth summer having become a very popular educational experience for hundreds of youth from Delaware County and the surrounding region. Media Music Theatre Company, which produces and maintains the Camp each summer, has received a grant allocated toward scholarships for this award-winning educational and fun experience.
Campers rehearse a show at The Media Theatre

The 50% scholarships are applicable toward any of the five two-week sessions as well as toward the “Fiddler On The Roof” Camp project.

Those interested in applying for a 50% Camp Media Theatre Scholarship must meet certain criteria and fill out an application form. Please email rer764@gmail.com if interested in applying for this special scholarship.

 “Each year we have three age groups which have daily classes in vocal music, dance, and acting,” explained Artistic Director Jesse Cline. “During the latter part of the day camp, all three age groups work together in putting a show together which is seen by family and friends the final evening of the camp’s two-week session.”

“Our youth project, which includes rehearsing and performing in an entire two-act musical, is a unique theatrical experience as well,” Cline said. “This year, the full-length musical with a youth cast is “Fiddler On The Roof”, which is one of the most beloved shows of all-time.”

The camps begin June 16, continuing for ten weeks. Cline continued, “The campers create their own small scenes in the acting classes. Broadway music and choreography is added to the scene work and a world premiere show is created every two weeks. It’s a fun way for young actors to learn.”

Please email rer764@gmail.com for more information, or visit www.mediatheatre.org



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

WHO'S WHO IN '13, THE MUSICAL'....FELIPE ROCHA AND WYATT MCMANUS

The Media Music Theatre Company (MMTC) in Media, PA and The Wilmington Drama League in Wilmington, DE have partnered to bring Jason Robert Brown’s high-energy “13,The Musical” to Media for two weekends May 30 – June 8. 

The production features thirteen talented actors from the Delaware and Pennsylvania areas who have found a unique kinship performing this entertaining and insightful musical together.  In the fifth of this blog series, Felipe Rocha and Wyatt McManus share their experiences with the musical and cast. Both are embracing life as teenagers and all this unique time has to offer.
WYATT MCMANUS
“It’s mostly exciting, at times scary, and occasionally intimidating,”  said McManus.  “I have older siblings I’ve watched go through the same things that I’m going through so at least I have their examples to learn from.” He’s had a lot of examples to follow with a total of 12 siblings to cheer him on and keep him humble.   
 Rocha also relies on support from his friends, parents, and sister. “Being a teenager can be the hardest, yet best thing to be,” he said.  “We are at an age where we are too old to be kids and too young to be adults.  However it is great to know we have friends and family who can walk with us on the journey.”

It’s a journey everyone takes, so that’s why they both feel “13 The Musical” has so much to offer audiences of all ages.

McManus, who plays Brett’s pal Eddie, believes everyone will find something to love. “I think everyone can identify with these characters,” he explained.  “A younger person will enjoy the humor in situations that they encounter almost every day. More mature audience members will enjoy having their memory stirred back to the days when they were going through similar situations.”
FELIPE ROCHA 
Rocha agrees. “The musical opens the audience to the world of a teenager’s mind,” he stated. “It’s all about how we relate to the trials and tribulations 
of reaching goals.”

Rocha, who plays bully Brett, identifies with some of the themes personally.  He, like the protagonist Evan Goldman, made a big move as a child from Brazil to the United States. “I had to go through a big transition too,” he recalled.  “This experience has shown me the value of true friendship and to accept others as they are and not for what they can bring to the table.”

The actors are thankful for the friendships they’ve made while doing the musical, first in Delaware, and now in Media.

Rocha is not only an actor, but an artist and athlete as well.  He has relished the opportunity to perform with this cast. “This musical has inspired me to pursue friendships in all groups.  Whether in school, sports or theatre, I’ve learned to realize every one has unique value.   It’s brought me closer to a new group of friends that I treasure and love over many things!”

For McManus, who is home schooled and performs in his home school theatre company as well as in stage, film and tv projects, it has also reinforced he’s on this journey with others like him. 
“Being in this show has made me aware that other kids are going through similar situations as I am and it made me more comfortable with that.  It made me realize that I am not alone.”

With an unforgettable rock score from Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown, the writer of Broadway’s current “Bridges of Madison County” as well as “Parade” and “The Last Five Years” among others, “13” is a poignant musical for all ages about discovering that cool is where you find it, and sometimes where you least expect it.  The show boasts a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Lyrics and tells the story of Evan Goldman, who is having a great life…until his parents get divorced and he’s forced to move with his Mom from NYC to Indiana!  The show features a cast of teens portraying 13-year-old characters dealing with the perils of middle school. This high-energy show was Broadway’s first all-teenage cast, and has many humorous and touching moments.


For tickets to "13 The Musical" at The Media Theatre May 30 – June 8, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org.


Friday, May 23, 2014

WHO'S WHO IN '13, THE MUSICAL'...BRANDEN FLETCHER AND KYRA MCKILLIP

The Media Music Theatre Company (MMTC) in Media, PA and Wilmington Drama League in Wilmington, DE have partnered to bring Jason Robert Brown’s high-energy “13,The Musical” to Media for two weekends May 30 – June 8. 

The production features thirteen talented actors from the Delaware and Pennsylvania areas who have found a unique kinship performing this entertaining and insightful musical together.  In the fourth of this blog series, two more actors share their insights on the show and growing up.

For Branden Fletcher and Kyra McKillip, being cast in "13 The Musical" has been inspiring. Fletcher can actually truly relate to the story of the show. Like Evan Goldman in the musical he, too, recently moved from NYC to a less inhabited region. “The issues that happen in my everyday life are what happens in 13.”
Branden Fletcher
Both Fletcher and McKillip have been on stage over the years. McKillip was inspired by her cast members. “The musical inspired me to see things in a different light," she said.  "Such a versatile group of kids and everyone has a story.  Not only have I made real friends, but I also learned important lessons.”

A talented vocalist, McKillip will complete the 7th grade at Cab Calloway School of the Arts and is a 1st alto for the Delaware All State Junior Chorus.  She portrays Charlotte in 13 and continues to navigate the early teenage years. She explains, “Being a teenager in today’s world isn’t easy.  Every step you take can be extremely dramatic.  The musical brings out the true message of friendship.”

Fletcher sees the teenage years as an exciting opportunity: “It’s a lot of fun!  You get to have more freedom than you did when you were younger and technology is awesome these days.” He's taking advantage of every opportunity offered as he is an actively involved tap dancer, musician, and vocalist as well as a member of several school clubs. 

He believes that the musical has much to offer all audiences: “It’s a high-energy show.  The music is so memorable and the audience will take away so much. “

McKillip agrees: “Most audiences take away the humor.  The score is memorable.  There is beauty in the wonderful simplicity of the message.  Teenagers today use this time period in their lives to try and figure out where they belong, who are your friends and who aren’t.”
Kyra McKillip
Both Fletcher and McKillip seem to recognize at an early age who they are.  Both have performed over the years in their school productions and continue to pursue opportunities in community and professional theatre.

They and their 11 other cast members will be taking the stage at The Media Theatre during the show's run May 30-June 8. Fletcher believes that audiences will be moved as he has by the show and the experience. He says, 13 shows us to understand people for who they are and not judge by what others think of that person.  It’s meant so much to me personally.”


With an unforgettable rock score from Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown, the writer of Broadway’s current “Bridges of Madison County” as well as “Parade” and “The Last Five Years” among others, “13” is a poignant musical for all ages about discovering that cool is where you find it, and sometimes where you least expect it.  The show boasts a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Lyrics and tells the story of Evan Goldman, who is having a great life…until his parents get divorced and he’s forced to move with his Mom from NYC to Indiana!  The show features a cast of teens portraying 13-year-old characters dealing with the perils of middle school. This high-energy show was Broadway’s first all-teenage cast, and has many humorous and touching moments.

For tickets to "13 The Musical" at The Media Theatre May 30 – June 8, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org.


  






Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 'VOCALIST' CONTESTANTS ANNOUNCED...VOTE ONLINE...SUBSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE, TOO!

Young singers are preparing to wow audiences this summer at The Media Theatre with Broadway songs, pop hits, country classics, and youth favorites. They’re the 2014  “Vocalist” and “Vocalist Junior” contestants, culled from recent auditions held by Media Music Theatre Company, which produces the event each summer. Nearly 120 aspiring singers auditioned for the contest, with 40 being chosen to participate in both categories.
As was the case last summer, when the contest switched its title from “Delco Idol” to the more relevant “Vocalist”, each contestant has ample opportunity to showcase their skills--No one is eliminated until after Week Three. For the first three weeks contestants in both versions of “The Vocalist” will receive equal opportunity, recognition, and deserved applause. 

"Audiences will actually get to see each contestants grow," said the music theatre company's Artistic Director Jesse Cline. "The contestants will feel more at home on the stage as they have three weeks to do their best, without the constant pressure of not returning the following week."
Cline continued, “We also look at this as an educational experience. So, rather than singing one song and leaving the competition, each vocalist has the opportunity to learn a bit more about what it takes to perform in front of an audience on a professional stage.”
Cline, as the one constant judge, is a part of an important process in the competition. He will have an extra category on his ballot that will not appear on the guest judges' tally sheets. His added category is entitled Individualism, which reflects his connection to the singers each week and his rapport with them following their performances. "In getting to know them more than the other judges it seems logical that I would have this extra category. There may be a week in which a young singer falters a bit...but I will know what they are capable of and who they are. The Individualism category speaks to the fact that each contestant is unique. Their interests and what is best for them should come first. Each has their own story to tell in their own way."
The guest judges will mark their ballots in three categories. The added category of Song Choice will join Vocal Ability and Stage Presence. Cline will have those three, plus his extra category. All categories will utilize a 1-10 ranking system with 1 being the lowest score and 10 being the highest possible.
Online voting will take place again this year, not affecting any outcome until after Week Three. As with the judges’ scoring, the online voting will also be accumulated for three weeks. After week three, the online scores will be tallied and the person with the most votes online will receive an added 30 points to their total score. The additional points may or may not assist them in moving forward. The second place online vote-getter will receive an added 25 points, with the third receiving 20 extra. Vote-getters four through ten receive 15 extra points, and those who rank eleven through fifteen online will gain 10 extra to possibly move them into the Semi-Finals.
The Semi-Finals will see the Top 25 sing during week four of each "Vocalist" competition, with 15 returning for The Finals. The contest is sponsored by Iron Workers Bank. 

The 2014 “Vocalist” and its junior counterpart have an almost equal amount of both first-timers to The Media Theatre stage and those who have participated in some way previously (whether through the theatre’s acting classes, summer camps, or youth productions). “We value our first-time Media Theatre performers,” Cline said. “To have so many aspiring vocalists from Delaware County and the Philadelphia region interested in our programs here is a big stamp of approval.”
The 2014 “Vocalist Junior” contestants, who sing Sunday nights starting July 13, are: Josh Atkinson, 9, Morton; Brooke Bales, 11, West Chester; Morgan Bitzberger, 12, Thornton; Madalynne Burford, 13, Aston; Isabelle Butera, 11, Phoenixville; Vincent Cavallero, 13, Newtown Square; Katheryn Cooper, 11, Glen Mills; Samuel Cooper, 7, Glen Mills; Holly Deluca, 12, Garnet Valley; Holden Dubach, 10, Aston; Bridget Duffy, 12, Aston; Cassidy Else, 9, Drexel Hill; Veronica Garrubbo, 11, Berwyn; Kara Glazer, 12, Schwenksville; Lexi Gwynn, 11, West Chester; Lauren Hackett, 13, Media; Lars Halldin, 12, Norristown; and Abigail Hartwell, 10, of Monroeville, New Jersey.
The “Junior” contestants continue with J. Caitlin Holahan, 12, Phoenixville; Charla Holahan, 9, Phoenixville; Madison Kelly, 10, Ridley Park; Madeline Knight, 12, Malvern; Gaea Lawton, 12, Avondale; Madison Mazon, 12, Brookhaven; Lilla McNerney, 12, Media; Elizabeth Mercier, 11, Brookhaven; Fiona Moser, 11, Havertown; Hanna Murphy, 10, Springfield; Camryn Schultz, 12, Upper Darby; Molly Sorensen, 13, Malvern; Sarah Strong, 12, Newtown Square; Amanda Treston, 10, Malvern; Sam Uggla, 13, Exton; and Allie Vaccaro, 9, Wallingford; and Carter Weiss, 8, of Media.
In the older age group, those competing in “The Vocalist” beginning Wednesday nights starting July 9 are: Kasey Brown, 17, Wilmington DE; Rhiannon Charney, 17, Boothwyn; Hannah Cosgrove, 16, Media; Thomas Dempsey, 15, Brookhaven; DiQuan Dill, 19, Chester; Amber Duncan, 15, Wallingford; Shaelyn Fabik, 14, Drexel Hill; Moses Gonzalez, 19, Woodlyn; Kurt Hartwell, 15, Monroeville NJ; Lauren Henninger, 16, Philadelphia; and Jessa Holahan, 14, of Phoenixville.
“Vocalist” contestants also include Anastasia Korbal, 14, Riverton NJ; Breyanna Lewis, 17, Clifton Heights; Thomas Lock, 15, Malvern; Paul Mariani III, 14, Ardmore; Alyssa Massarella, 18, Broomall; Esha Mishra, 14, Wilmington DE; Angelica Moyer, 13, Media; Abby Pancoast, 14, Broomall; Chynna Pruitt, 22, Boothwyn; Julia Richter, 15, Phoenixville; Robert Rinaldo, 23, Paoli; Shaelyn Ruddy, 21, Chadds Ford; Marti Salmon, 15, Woodbury NJ; Courtney Schultz, 16, Upper Darby; Hope Smalley, 17, Clifton Heights; Marie Sminkey, 15, Brookhaven; Ava Sullivan, 15, Newtown Square; Victoria Tomaselli, 21, Glenolden; and Michael Walczak, 16, of Glenolden.
Cline added, “One very interesting aspect of this year’s competition is that we have several aspiring singers who started out in the Junior version of the contest but who are now old enough to be in the more mature age group. It’s nice to have seen them grow up with us and it will be fun to see how well they do in the older age group.”
For tickets and information, plus online voting, visit www.mediatheatre.org or call 610-891-0100. 

There are now “Vocalist” Subscriptions available for all five weeks of the contest which cost less than single tickets. One other new aspect of “The Vocalist” is that, if when orders are placed you mention a contestant’s name, it may assist the contestant in moving forward to the next round of competition (for each 10 tickets applied to a contestant, one extra point is added to the judges’ score).


Saturday, May 17, 2014

WHO'S WHO IN '13, THE MUSICAL'....KATIE LOFTUS AND NOLAN MOSS

The Media Music Theatre Company (MMTC) in Media, PA and The Wilmington Drama League in Wilmington, DE have partnered to bring Jason Robert Brown’s high-energy 13, The Musical to Media for two weekends May 30 – June 8. 

The production features thirteen talented actors from the Delaware and Pennsylvania areas who have found a unique kinship performing this entertaining and insightful musical together.  In the third of this blog series, two more actors share their insights on the show and growing up.

For thirteen-year-old performers Nolan Moss and Katie Loftus being in 13 The Musical has been a great joy—and an opportunity to raise the bar for themselves.
KATIE LOFTUS
“The show has made me try to be a better performer,” says Moss,  “because I’m working with so many talented kids.”

Loftus, who plays cheerleader Cassie, believes the show’s themes on friendship resonate: “The show has made me really think about what I say and how bad it can hurt people.  I’m really trying to be nicer and consider other people’s feelings as well as mine.”
Nolan Moss
Both agree growing up is not easy, especially when you are trying to be your best.  Moss, who plays Simon in the show, continues to navigate the challenge:

“It’s a lot of pressure.  There’s pressure from parents to do good in school, pressure from society to be cool and pressure from friends to do whatever crazy stuff.”

It’s themes like these that make the Jason Robert Brown musical so appealing.  Whether your 13 or 35-or even older-, the challenges of friendship and setting your own course are relatable for all of us.

“I relate on a personal level (to the show),” says Loftus.  “I’m pretty sure everyone has felt left out at least once.  It really is the worst feeling in the world when you feel like you’re always reaching and never getting anything back.”

And it seems both of these young performers continue to reach for their dreams.  Loftus, from Townsend DE, pursues acting, dancing, and vocal training while attending MOT Charter School.

Nolan, an eighth grade student at Cab Colloway, is a member of the Delaware All-State Choir and is in a rock band.  

But his experience performing in this musical has been a unique one:

“It’s honestly been the best experience I have ever had in theatre and I’ve grown so much from it.” 

And it’s that enthusiasm and optimism that make being a teen surmountable – and what makes the young people in this show so special. 

“And being a teenager is honestly so confusing,” proclaims Loftus.  “Drama is literally every teenager’s middle name.   But there are some good things.  You are starting to write your own future rather than having someone write it for you.”


“The musical itself is just incredible,” exclaims Moss,  “and the cast even more so.  I think the audience leaves recognizing that no matter what happens- things always get better in the end.”


With an unforgettable rock score from Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown, the writer of Broadway’s current “Bridges of Madison County” as well as “Parade” and “The Last Five Years” among others, “13” is a poignant musical for all ages about discovering that cool is where you find it, and sometimes where you least expect it.  The show boasts a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Lyrics and tells the story of Evan Goldman, who is having a great life…until his parents get divorced and he’s forced to move with his Mom from NYC to Indiana!  The show features a cast of teens portraying 13-year-old characters dealing with the perils of middle school. This high-energy show was Broadway’s first all-teenage cast, and has many humorous and touching moments.


For tickets to 13 The Musical at The Media Theatre May 30 – June 8, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org.


  






Monday, May 12, 2014

MEDIA THEATRE'S GIANNI PALMARINI TAKES LEAD IN '13' MUSICAL MAY 30-JUNE 8

Media Theatre New School student Gianni Palmarini is one of the main reasons for “13: The Musical” appearing on The Media Theatre stage May 30-June 8. This is due to his involvement with the production when it was produced earlier this year by the Wilmington Drama League.

The Jason Robert Brown musical captured Gianni’s attention when he heard about auditions for “13” taking place at the Wilmington, Delaware theatre company. The score was enticing, and the story chronicling the lives of middle school students facing the difficulties that come with friendships, divorce, health challenges and young love was irresistible. He is, like the characters in the musical, 13 years old and is facing the realities of being a teen.
Media Theatre student and young actor GIANNI PALMARINI who plays Evan Goldman in "13" 
"The musical brilliantly narrates the life of a normal 13 year old who is going through some of the same challenges real teens are going through,” explains Palmarini.  “It reminds us that you are going to fail, and you just have to pick yourself back up and take another go at it. Even when you think you are finished trying, there is always something more you can do.”

The unique arrangement of bringing the Wilmington Drama League’s production to The Media Theatre was born after Jesse Cline, Media Theatre’s Artistic Director, attended a performance in Wilmington to support Palmarini. The young singer, actor, and former “Delco Idol Junior” winner, Palmarini was cast in the role of the conflicted Jewish teen Evan Goldman. 

Impressed by the production and the stellar young talent in the show, Cline decided Wilmington’s “13” had to be seen by a wider audience.

Cline feels strongly that the partnership exemplifies its mission to support and showcase young talent.  “We at The Media Theatre have an obligation to provide opportunities not just for young actors, but for audiences to see what these youth are really all about,” he explained. “The musical “13”, as presented by Wilmington Drama League, was very much similar in style to the type of work we do with teens. It’s all about who they are at this moment in time with no pretension and no filter. It’s a great fit for our stage at The Media Theatre.”

So, due to Palmarini’s involvement, the extension of Wilmington Drama League’s “13” and its transfer to The Media Theatre was born. The show will be in Media May 30 through June 8, with performances on Friday evenings, a matinee and evening performance on Saturdays, and a matinee on Sunday each week.


The production also features twelve other actors from Delaware and Pennsylvania who have found a strong kinship performing the insightful, humorous, and poignant musical.

Palmarini was overwhelmed when the show’s director, Nick D’Argenio, called him with the news that he had been cast as the show’s protagonist Evan Goldman. “The music is difficult and the role requires you to be likeable even though Evan is not always the nicest guy,” Palmarini said. “I knew it would be a tough process.”

Palmarini, however, is not immune to facing challenges. “I’ve been at The Media Theatre since I was six years old,” he explained. “I’ve been in their summer camps, teen musicals, and youth series. One of my biggest challenges was taking on the lead role in the teen version of “Hair” at Media last summer, which was directed by Jesse Cline.”

So it was a natural event for Cline and his team to travel to Wilmington to see Palmarini in “13” in Wilmington this past January. “I was proud of what my cast mates and I had accomplished,” Palmarini explained. “I wanted to share with The Media Theatre what we had done. But I never imagined that they’d be so impressed by the show that they would invite us to bring it to Media! That was a dream come true.”

In “13” Palmarini plays a young Jewish boy from New York City who is dealing with the separation of his parents, a move to Indiana, and the loss of the only life he knew. The young actor had to learn to sing the Haftarah in Hebrew which is a right of passage for Bar Mitzvah.

“Doing that was one of the final things I worked on for the show,” Palmarini remembers. “My mom found some movies about the importance of Bar Mitzvah. It’s really all about taking responsibility for yourself and your faith. I did some research about why it was so important to the role I play in “13”.”

Now, with the extension and ‘remounting’ of “13” in Media, Palmarini and his fellow cast members will have the opportunity to ‘reunite’. “We understand each other,” Palmarini says. “We are all teens and we love performing. We’ve developed a life long bond.”


Palmarini is an eighth grade student at Northley Middle School in Aston, PA, which is not far from Wilmington, DE, where several of his new theatre friends reside.

“The show holds an important message for everyone,” he said. “Teenagers and adults will relate to its themes. It gives audiences the message to be who you are, to not try to be the person next to you. It’s about taking responsibility within your own unique self and within your own abilities. You’re never going to please everyone, so you might as well be yourself.”

“13” has a pop-rock musical theatre score from Jason Robert Brown, the Tony winning composer who has also created Broadway’s recent “Bridges of Madison County” as well as “Parade” and “The Last Five Years”. The show has a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Lyrics as it tells the story of Evan Goldman who deals with his parents’ divorce and gets thrust from NYC to Indiana.

All Broadway Series and Youth Series at The Media Theatre are produced by Media Music Theatre Company, as well as its educational programs from which Gianni Palmarini found his calling as an actor. “The work done by this young cast is a testament to the high quality professional training they are receiving both at Wilmington Drama League and our own training program at The Media Theatre,” said Artistic Director Jesse Cline.

For tickets to “13: The Musical” at The Media Theatre May 30-June 8 call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org

Friday, May 9, 2014

SUBSCRIBER AND SPONSOR RECEPTION HAS 'SUNSET BOULEVARD' AUDIENCE LOOKING TOWARD 2014-15 MEDIA THEATRE SEASON

An invitation-only audience of subscribers and sponsors brought a new wave of optimism to The Media Theatre during a private reception Thursday May 8. The event took place prior to the evening's performance of "Sunset Boulevard" directed by Jesse Cline, the Artistic Director for Media Music Theatre Company (MMTC). Cline oversees all Broadway Series productions produced by MMTC at The Media Theatre.

With eager anticipation and an overwhelming attitude of positive energy flowing along with the complimentary wine, guests were treated to a special performance in the Crystal Room by members of the "Sunset Boulevard" cast and two young rising stars from its New School.
Ramona Gwynn, Media Theatre patron and supporter, with her friend Lisa at May 8 event

Lexi Gwynn, currently wowing audiences each weekend in "Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark", gave a preview of one of the 2014-15 titles as she performed a beautiful moving performance of "Castle On A Cloud" from the super popular "Les Miserables". The musical will be MMTC's holiday offering in 2014, and if the reception from the Media Theatre family at the May 8 event was any indication--well, the show is gearing up to be a major success.

The next number was also from the upcoming 2014-15 Broadway Series. JD Triolo, seen last spring alongside the legendary Andrea McArdle in Cline's award-winning production of "Mame", belted out a super rendition of "What If" from "The Addams Family". The comic musical based on the iconic macabre comic strip and tv sitcom opens the season in late September. WATCH JD TRIOLO'S PERFORMANCE HERE

Lauren Cupples, seen frequently in MMTC productions, is well known for her silky soprano vocals. She was the first MMTC "Delco Idol" winner back in 2005, and has appeared in "Annie", "Dr. Dolittle", "The Sound of Music", "Why Do Fools Fall In Love", "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" to name a few. At the May 8 event, Cupples performed a well received interpretation of the classic "If I Loved You". 

The final performer of the evening, Brian Michael Henry, who has roots in Media and resides in NYC, would have brought the crowd to their feet had they not already been standing as they listened in awe to his powerful bari-tenor vocals soaring through "If Ever I Would Leave You". Brian makes his Media Theatre debut in "Sunset Boulevard" but the future looks bright for his continued appearances here following Cline's glowing introduction of his performance and the crowds delighted reaction. 
Brian Michael Henry wows the invited guests


Cline then invited the entire crowd to see "Sunset Boulevard" which, he said, 'exemplifies what it is we do here'. He praised the work of Broadway's Ann Crumb as Norma Desmond as well as the entire cast.
The Garrubbos enjoy the vocalists during the May 8 event
"Sunset Boulevard" plays through May 18 at The Media Theatre. Subscriptions are available for the 2014-15 Broadway Series season, which includes "The Addams Family", "Les Miserables", "The Miracle Worker", "Ghost: The Musical", and "Hello Dolly!". 

Call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org

Monday, May 5, 2014

MORE PICS FROM MEDIA THEATRE'S 'SUNSET BOULEVARD'

The Media Theatre's Philadelphia regional professional premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony winning musical "Sunset Boulevard", based on the legendary 1950 film, is on stage through May 18. Take a look at the photos below to see what is causing audiences to give the show standing ovations. Photos by Mark Jordan. 

Directed by Jesse Cline, the production features Broadway's Ann Crumb as silent screen star Norma Desmond who is hoping for a return to the big screen. Sean Thompson plays the role of Joe Gillis, the young screenwriter who Norma believes is her conduit to a return to glory.
Ann Crumb as Norma Desmond

Ann Crumb with Sean Thompson as Joe 
Sean Thompson
Ann Crumb with Sean Thompson 
To see Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard" in its Philly premiere at The Media Theatre, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org