MEDIA THEATRE'S 2015 GALA CONVEYED SPIRIT OF WORKING TOGETHER

The Media Theatre's 2015 Gala, titled "Illuminate The Night", actually lit up a Sunday afternoon. Due to a snow storm which illuminated the streets in a slippery white Saturday night February 21, the Gala was postponed to the following day. Supporters, patrons, honorees, and talented performers packed the State Street venue Sunday February 22 at 3pm to celebrate.
Media Theatre Artistic Director Jesse Cline speaks at the "Illuminate The Night" Gala held Feb. 22, 2015
With a beautiful gold, silver, and black color scheme presented throughout the theatre's lobby and second floor Crystal Room, as well as tasty hors d'oeuvres, The Media Theatre provided a lovely site for an afternoon fundraising event. A champagne fountain supplemented the affair, as well as two complete bars. For the youth ensemble members of the theatre's renowned school a separate table complete with refreshments just for the young set added a comfort zone for the talented tots and teens. 

The annual Gala is Media Music Theatre Company's biggest fundraising event of the year. The professional music theatre organization produces the Broadway Series, Children's Series, and all Educational Programs at the theatre.
Advocate of the Arts Award recipient Ramona Gwynn with Executive Director Patrick Ward
After an hour long reception in which sponsors mingled with theatre staff and actors, an awards ceremony ensued in the large theatre over which the famed chandelier hangs. 

Ramona Gwynn, recipient of this year's Walter M. Strine, Sr, Award for Advocacy of the Arts, mentioned both Strine and the chandelier during her acceptance speech. "Walter Strine, Sr, for whom this award is named, would be proud to know that the recent renovation of the theatre which he so lovingly brought to life many years ago has created a resurgence of interest in the majestic and elegant location," she said. "If you look up you can see the gorgeous chandelier in the center of it all, the chandelier which he polished after starting the renovation of the theatre in 1994 as his dream of a Broadway style performing arts center came to life."

She continued by saying, among other profound statements, "This award really belongs to all of us, everyone who buys a ticket, everyone who spreads word of mouth about the great things happening here, and everyone who applauds the acclaimed productions. It's also about the terrific team working together under the direction of Jesse Cline and Patrick Ward, from the box office to the stage. I am proud to represent Walter Strine's vision on this stage today with this honor."

Ramona Gwynn was given the honor due to her support which assisted the theatre in making capital improvements, gain a wider audience, and continue to expand its educational opportunities.
Convergent Technologies, Inc. received the Community Partnership Award. Mark Lawton accepted

The Community Partnership Award was given to Convergent Technologies, Inc. due to its commitment to bringing new digital and online technology to the theatre. Mark Lawton of CTI accepted the honor and said, "We look forward to a bright future with The Media Theatre and enhancing everything from the Broadway Series to the Children's Programs, as well as box office technology."
The stage prior to the performances, with the ultimate vision of Broadway's Ann Crumb

Artistic Director Jesse Cline introduced the program for "Illuminate The Night", following a lively live auction. He said, "One of the things I am most proud of here are the educational programs we have to offer. We'll be expanding our curriculum this spring after the upcoming grand opening of our new School and Dance Center three blocks away at 28 West State Street, near the Plumstead Mall in Media. It's an exiting opportunity to have dance classes, voice lessons, and more as we move into a new era."

Performers included several actors familiar to Media Theatre audiences (Lauren Cupples, JP Dunphy, Sarah Moya, and Sean Thompson) plus Garrison Carpenter, who makes his debut in the region's professional premiere of "Ghost" (March 4-29). The youth ensemble performed three group numbers, while Lexi Gwynn and Ben Pedersen brought the house down with "Suddenly Seymour" from "Little Shop of Horrors". 
Media Mayor Robert McMahon visits with frequent Media Theatre performer Patrick Ludt during the Gala celebration. Ludt had just finished auditioning for the production of "Hello Dolly" at the theatre's new School and Dance Studio on State Street and stopped by the Gala to support.
The Gala headliner was Tony nominated actress Ann Crumb, who started her set with the memorable "It's As If We Never Said Goodbye" from the show she starred in during spring 2014, "Sunset Boulevard". She mentioned the fact that she had been in the original Broadway cast of "Les Miserables" and said, "When I heard that Jesse Cline was doing "Les Miz" here at Media, I wondered how it would happen without a revolving set. But upon seeing it I was mesmerized. The production here was fantastic and I was blown away. I am so honored to be a part of this theatre's family."

Ann Crumb will return to The Media Theatre when she appears as Mama Rose in "Gypsy" September 23 to November 1. 

So, even though the snow fell on Saturday night February 21, the afternoon of Sunday February 22 presented the perfect time to celebrate at The Media Theatre while looking toward the future. "Illuminate The Night" may have happened in the middle of the day, but moods were certainly not dampened even as the streets outside were. It's that type of motivational spirit that has kept Media Music Theatre Company and The Media Theatre alive over the years and will keep its chandelier shining brightly for many more to come.

Corporate Sponsors for the "Illuminate The Night" Gala were Aqua America, CTI, DWD Mechanical, Evolve IP, Iper Design, Iron Workers Bank, Keystone Advertising, King of Prussia Mall, Linvilla Orchards, Media Real Estate, Qlik, TDS, and Safeguard Insurance. 

To find out what's happening at The Media Theatre or to support, visit mediatheatre.org or call 610-891-0100. 

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