Thursday, July 30, 2015


It’s getting down to the wire for the Wednesday night “Vocalist” competition at The Media Theatre. The 2015 eliminations have begun after four weeks of wonderfully talented singers entertaining audiences and the top 15 have been announced.

Returning to the Finals during Week Five are Grace Atherholt, 19, York; Chesroleeysia Bobb, 16, Feasterville; Rhiannon Charney, 18, Upper Chichester; Victoria D'Ascenzo, 14, Upper Chichester; Julia Degruchy, 19, Philadelphia; Maggie Kennedy, 18, Malvern; Danielle Lachall, 24, Aston; Paul Mariani III, 15, Ardmore; Jacob Mergott, 16, Swarthmore; Camille Mola, 23, Springfield; Robert Rinaldo, 24, Paoli; Skyler Shields, 16, Downingtown; Emma Smith, 18, Phoenixville; Lauryn Morgan Thomas, 19, Upper Darby; Francesca Venezia, 18, Collegeville. 

An important note: Thomas Dempsey, 16, of Brookhaven was one of the original top 15. However, he is unable to return to the Finals so the next person with the highest score, Francesca Venezia, takes his place. She is not pictured in attached photo which was taken on stage right after the top 15 announcement was made.

The 2015 Vocalist Top 15. Back: Julia Degruchy, Maggie Kennedy, Rhiannon Charney, Skylar Shields, Thomas Dempsey, Jacob Mergott, Robert Rinaldo. Front: Victoria D'Ascenzo, Lauryn Morgan Thomas, Camille Mola, Grace Atherholt, Paul Mariani III, Chesroleeysia Bobb, Emma Smith, and Danielle Lachall.
After four weeks of accumulated judges’ ballot scores and online/ public voting, this was the result heading into week five. Artistic Director Jesse Cline is the one constant judge who works with guest judges each week. The guest judges during week four semi-finals were professional figure skater Ramona Gwynn and Iron Workers Bank VP Brett Whitig. Iron Workers Bank is the title sponsor for the summer event.

Another personality who works with the contestants each week during their Monday night rehearsals plus accompanies them during the show each Wednesday is the accompanist Ben Kapilow. Cline said, “He is one of the most talented accompanists we have had here at the theatre. He has been a great asset to the Vocalist this summer. He has a true understanding as to what this is all about.”

Now that the top 15 are gearing up for the final night on Wednesday August 5, which takes place at 7pm, they have a mandate from Cline. “You must each prepare two songs,” he said. “One of the two songs prepared must be a music theatre piece.”
The purpose behind preparing two songs is that the future remains unseen and each must be ready if they make it into the top five.

The top 15 will sing in Act One on August 5. During intermission, the votes will be tabulated—now all starting with a clean slate (no longer accumulated from the first four weeks). At the top of Act Two, the Top Five will be announced who will sing their second selection starting fresh with new votes once more before a winner is determined.

Each of the Top Five receive a cash prize donated by Iron Workers Bank. First place gets $1500, second place receives $500, and the rest walk away with $250 each.

Who the 2015 “Vocalist” winner will be is anyone’s guess as accumulated votes are no longer happening and each song performance is judged individually now on its own merit. The online and public votes have been wiped clean as well, but are still happening and may assist in moving a contestant into the top five. No public votes will happen once the top five is announced, however.

If you would like to vote for your favorite “Vocalist” contestant, visit or call 610-891-0100. Tickets are available as well, and it’s a great night out for summer entertainment. “Vocalist” finals are Wednesday August 5 at 7pm onstage at The Media Theatre.

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The Media Theatre, located at 104 East State Street in the beautiful suburb of Media, PA, has "Sweeney Todd" as its 2018-19 Broadw...