Tuesday, July 14, 2015


“Vocalist Junior” at The Media Theatre had its first week of competition Sunday night July 12 at 7pm. With a bit of anxiety from the young contestants (ages 7-13) which was tempered by an extremely appreciative crowd, the show went off without a hitch.
Yeah, I'm singing! It's Josh Atkinson, 10, of Drexel Hill with "Who I'd Be"

Cecilia Bailey, 10, West Chester, sings "Let Go Fly A Kite"
Morgan Bitzberger, 13, Thornton with "Bright"
Singing in alphabetical order meant that one lucky person had the opportunity to go first. Josh Atkinson, 10, of Drexel Hill, handled the position well as he started the summer event off with a nicely done performance of “Who I’d Be” from the Broadway musical Shrek.

Of course, this also meant that one person—lucky or not, depending on how you look at it—had to wait for 30 other performers to sing before she got her chance to close the night. Violet Wiley, 9, of Woodlyn, looking like she was dressed for MTV in a leather jacket and boots, had terrific focus as she sang the Blondie hit “Dreaming” as a finale. Her father, Sean, accompanied her on ukulele. Yes, ukulele!

All other performers were accompanied by Ben Kapilow, who gamely handled playing everything from pop songs to Broadway songs to childhood favorites. Each week, the contestants have one rehearsal with Mr. Kapilow on Saturday morning at 8am prior to the Sunday evening performance/ competition.
Ava Briglia, 8, of Media chats with Jesse Cline after singing "I Wish"
There were highlights during week one. Ava Briglia absolutely held the audience in the palm of her hand while supremely belting out “I Wish”. From Media, she’s only 8 years old and is one of the youngest in the contest. Veronica Garrubbo, 12, of Berwyn certainly was “Extraordinary” as she performed her song, and West Chester’s JD Triolo, 12, did a memorable “Go The Distance”.

That’s not to say others were not excellent, on pitch, focused, or terrific in their own way because every one of the 31 singers certainly used their personality, stage presence, youthful exuberance, and talent to entertain the crowd and the judges. All contestants were certainly deserving of the appreciative applause. And, as we know from years past, there is no way of knowing which contestant will leap out from the group to eventually become the winner. It's a one-week-at-a-time event, with the first three weeks seeing all 31 singers on stage prior to eliminations as all judges scores and public votes are accumulated until after week three.
Special Guest Judge Kelly Briggs, Broadway actor and performer who appeared alongside Andrea McArdle in "Hello Dolly" recently and returns to Media's stage this fall in "Gypsy" and "Billy Elliot: The Musical"
Shannon Clark, 12, Havertown, prepares to sing "Our Song"

12 year old Joseph Colasante of Brookhaven with "Giants In The Sky"

Ava Courtney, 10, Garnett Valley, does "Trust In Me"
Larissa Culbertson. The large screen allows the audience to know each contestant's age and township
Jamie Day, 12, Media with "I'm Not That Girl"
Jamie's twin Paige Day sings "Could Have Danced All Night"
Zachary Divito, 9, of Aston talks with Jesse Cline after his song

The one constant judge is Jesse Cline, Artistic Director for The Media Theatre.  Sitting at a table on stage left throughout the show, Cline does a little chat with each of the young ones in “Junior” just as he does in the Wednesday night “Vocalist”. It’s these unrehearsed and completely improvised chats that provide extra entertainment value for the audience. When Cline asked Phoenixville’s 11 year old Skylar Kelly what her song “The Climb” meant, she mentioned “It’s about trying hard to get something and then getting it.” He asked her what it was she was trying for and she said, without a moment’s pause, “To win this!”

It was that type of spirit which represented the entire evening. All of the contestants brought the best they had to offer to the stage, which is really what “The Climb” is all about. With a bit of nerves, a bit of spunk, lots of wonderful voices and plenty of encouragement, 2015’s “Vocalist Junior” is sure to be a major ingredient in a memorable summer for them, for their families, and for the audience.

Marsha Peltz emceed. The "Vocalist Junior" is sponsored by Iron Workers Bank.
Evelyn Doran, 11, Glenolden, with "Popular"

Gabrielle Dove, 8, Sharon Hill sings "A Beautiful Day"
Bridget Duffy, 13, Thornton prepares to sing "Lost Stars"
Cassidy Else, 10, Drexel Hill closes Act One with "My Favorite Things"
Act Two opens with Molly Evanko, 12, of West Chester,  performing "Good Morning" for the crowd of 150, not including those who purchased the event on live stream service
Elaina Fitzgerald, 12, Wallingford, is "Feelin' Good"
Veronica Garrubbo, 12, Berwyn, with "Extraordinary"
"Something's Coming" says Lars Halldin, 13, Norristown
Ava Kelly, 11, Phoenixville sings "Roar". Her dress was top costume of the night!
Ava's twin, Skylar, sings "The Climb"
He really is having fun with "Bare Necessities"! It's Sean Lock, 11, from Malvern
Elizabeth Mercier, 12, of Brookhaven with "For Good"
I want to be "Part of Your World" sings Fiona Moser, 12, Havertown
"People Help The People" with Divya Samant, 13, Malvern
Sarah Shoumer, 10, Wayne with "Not Pretty Enough" but looking great!
Christina Smith, 12, of Brookhaven does "Try"
JD Triolo, 12, West Chester "Go The Distance"
"When I Grow Up" says Allie Vaccaro, 10, of Rose Valley
"I Know Things Now" says 8 year old Brynn Washbourne of Coatesville
Final contestant --Whew!--Violet Wiley does Blondie's "Dreaming". She's 9 from Woodlyn

To get tickets to “Vocalist Junior” which continues every Sunday night through August 9, call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org

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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...