Saturday, January 31, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE ANNOUNCES 'MAGIC TREE HOUSE: KNIGHT AT DAWN' CAST

In March, April, and May The Media Theatre presents the Philadelphia regional premiere of the second "Magic Tree House" musical, this one titled "Knight At Dawn".
It continues the saga of young siblings Jack and Annie who, in Mary Pope Osborne's extremely popular book series, travel back in time to different eras as they learn about history after climbing a ladder to a tree house that takes them wherever their finger lands in books.

The Media Theatre had the regional premiere last season of the first of the book series musicals, "Dinosaurs Before Dark", which went on to win Broadway World's 2014 Award for "Best Special Event" in Philadelphia. It became the Media Music Theatre Company's second best selling children's series production of all time.


In the second musical, "Magic Tree House: Knight At Dawn", Jack and Annie journey to the Middle Ages and learn the power of hope. As they read a book about knights , Annie is intrigued by the Black Knight and the mysterious quest he says one must successfully complete before becoming a knight. When she wishes to visit the castle in the book, the siblings are whisked away to medieval times and set off to learn more about the Black Knight and his quest. Through their adventure, the two discover the power of hope and the true meaning of gallantry.

The Media Theatre will include Audience Participation and a chance to be on stage with the presentation. 

The cast is made up of 30 youth, all members of The Media Theatre's New School or Acting Classes, along with special guest adult actors including Roger Ricker as The Jester and Tim Haney as The Black Knight. Local Ridley Park policemen Henry O' Neill returns to the stage as Harry, The World's Oldest Prisoner. 

"Magic Tree House: Knight At Dawn" is on stage every weekend March 7 through May 24 (Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at Noon). There are four special Friday performances at 9:45am (March 6, April 17, May 8, May 15).  For tickets and group rates, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org

MAGIC TREE HOUSE: KNIGHT AT DAWN …Cast is:

JACK…..JAYDIN KNIGHT / BEN PEDERSEN (Double cast)
ANNIE….JOLIE JAFFE / BRYNN WASHBOURNE (Double cast)

JESTER….ROGER RICKER

JESTER’S MINSTRELS….
KATHERYN COOPER, CASSIDY ELSE, SOPHIE LEONE, MARY KATE VINK
                                                
THE BLACK KNIGHT…TIM HANEY

CASTLE GUARDS:
MUSTACHE….MICHAEL WELLS
SQUINTY……..SEAN O’ NEILL
RED……………..CARTER WEISS


COMMONERS:
SHARON THE SHEEP SHEARER…..AMANDA TRESTON
CHANDLER THE CANDLE MAKER….BRIDGET HENRY
BARTLEY OF THE BARLEY MEADOW….HOLDEN DUBACH
CARTWRIGHT THE CART BUILDER….ZACHARY DIVITO
TOM THE TINKER…………DILLON KOSTIUK
THE OTHER COMMONER....AIDEN FOX

MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL COURT:
LORD………..MICHAEL WELLS
LADY………...HANNA MURPHY
DUKE………..DENZEL THOMAS

SERVANTS AND CASTLE STAFF KIDS:
SERVANT………ALYSSE COOPER
YATES…………..PAUL GIACOMMUCCI
RIKKI…………….BRIDGET HENRY
BAXTER………...ZACHARY DIVITO

SINGING SUITS OF ARMOR:
SARAH SHOUMER, ALEXANDRA SHOUMER, LAUREN POLTROCK

DUNGEON MASTERS AND KEEPERS:
KEENAN…….DENZEL THOMAS
ELF…………….SAMUEL COOPER
KEEPERS…….YASMIN AHMED, AIDEN FOX, PAUL GIACOMUCCI

DUNGEON PRISONERS:
HARRY, WORLD’S OLDEST PRISONER….....HENRY O’ NEILL
YOUNGEST VAGRANT………………………….GRACE TOOZE
OLDEST VAGRANT………………………………RACHEL MCCABE
DUNGEON MATES……………………………....AIDEN FOX


PRINCIPLE UNDERSTUDIES:
JESTER………………DENZEL THOMAS
BLACK KNIGHT ………HENRY O’ NEILL
KEENAN/ DUKE……………TIM HANEY






Wednesday, January 28, 2015

PHOTO FLASH: "The Miracle Worker" at Media Theatre


"The Miracle Worker", William Gibson's classic play which focuses on the stormy relationship between Helen Keller and her governess Annie Sullivan is at The Media Theatre January 28-February 15. Jesse Cline directs the production which features a cast of Actors Equity Association actors led by Jennie Eisenhower and Lexi Gwynn. 

Jennie Eisenhower as Annie Sullivan and Lexi Gwynn as Helen Keller in The Media Theatre's "The Miracle Worker"
Lexi Gwynn as Helen Keller 
Helen Keller was rendered blind, deaf, and mute due to a childhood illness. William Gibson's play highlights the struggles of her family to control her wild behavior and their subsequent hiring of teacher Sullivan in an effort to assist their cause.The moving, triumphant show is a testament to the power of the human spirit as it highlights the struggle to be heard without speaking, to find one's way without sight, and to function without the ability to hear. 
Jennie Eisenhower as Annie Sullivan with Lexi Gwynn

FOR TICKETS: Call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org (Photos by Maura McConnell)





Monday, January 26, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE HAS GHOST: THE MUSICAL MARCH 4-29

Ghost, The Musical is at The Media Theatre during the month of March. Based on the extremely popular film from 1990 which had fans swooning over Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore (and an Oscar winning performance from Whoopi Goldberg), it's as romantic as a musical can be. 

With a book by Bruce Joel Rubin and music from the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, with assistance from Glen Ballard, the show maintains its narrative focus on Sam and Molly, the two lovers who are attacked upon returning home one evening causing Sam's death. An eccentric medium does what she can to help Sam get back in touch with his dear Molly. An interesting combination of our world and the afterlife, "Ghost: The Musical" is a touching tribute to love.
Zack Krajnyak, who will portray Sam
This is the first regional professional production of the Broadway musical in the Philly region. All musicals at The Media Theatre are designed and built specifically for the Media stage, including sets, costumes, lighting and other technical aspects. Each cast includes members of Actors Equity Association and is chosen individually by Artistic Director Jesse Cline. 

The show features Zack Krajnyak who makes his Media Theatre debut as Sam. From Williamsport, Pa. and now based in Manhattan, Krajnyak received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from NYU Steinhardt, appearing at Radio City Music Hall as a soloist with the Steinhardt Singers. He has also been seen in productions at Provincetown Playhouse, West Village Musical Theatre, York Theatre Company, Theatre 2020 in Manhattan, and 13th Street Repertory. Krajnyak has a wide range of shows to his credit, including Candide, The Most Happy Fella, Cinderella, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Macbeth
Anna Giordano plays Molly
Anna Giordano plays the role of Molly. Also making her Media debut, she holds a BA in Musical Theatre from Western Connecticut State University. Regional appearances include the Dukakis Center, TBG Theatre, and Hershey, Pa. Anna has performed as Rapunzel in Into The Woods, Wendla in Spring Awakening, and Johanna in Sweeney Todd among her various credits.
Sean Thompson is Carl
Sean Thompson, familiar to Media Theatre audiences with critically acclaimed performances as the leading male in Sunset Boulevard and Oliver! as well as supporting roles in Forever Plaid and the recent Les Miserables, returns to take on the role of Carl. Sean has also been seen at Philadelphia's Arden Theatre, Bristol Riverside, Mauckingbird Theatre Company, and Walnut Street Theatre. Thompson holds a BA from Temple University.
Tamara Anderson is Oda Mae Brown in GHOST
The humorous role of Oda Mae Brown is brought to life by Tamara Anderson, previously seen at The Media Theatre in Hairspray as Motormouth Maybelle. Previously a resident of Chicago, the actress-singer became a resident of Philadelphia six years ago. She has appeared at Bristol Riverside Theatre (Last of the Red Hot Mamas), Meadow Brook Theatre (Lysistrata Jones-Wilde Award Winner), and Storybook Music Theatre (Cinderella) to name a few. In NYC, audiences have enjoyed her Soul of A Chanteuse at The Duplex. An educator and writer, Tamara also studied at Second City. 

Others in the cast include Geoffrey Bruen, Garrison Carpenter, JP Dunphy, Shyra Goodwin, Donnie Hammond, Sarah Moya, AJ Melendez, Megan Rucidlo, Nicholas Saverine, Quincy Spadi and Ashley Sweetman. The show is directed by Jesse Cline. Dann Dunn choreographs with Chris Ertelt's music direction.

Ghost: The Musical plays March 4 to 29. All Broadway Series shows are produced by Media Music Theatre Company, the award winning music theatre company which has its home base at The Media Theatre. 





Extra! Extra! SNOW WHITE Meet & Greet In Media Theatre Crystal Room

SNOW WHITE is alive and well...or is she? That Wicked Queen is trying everything she can to stop the beautiful young maiden from taking her place as 'the fairest of them all'.

The one hour musical for ages 4 and up is continuing at The Media Theatre each weekend through February 22 with Saturday morning performances at 11am and Sunday shows at Noon. The show is double cast, which gives opportunity for several of the theatre's New School students to shine on stage, portraying the legendary roles in the popular fairy tale.
Emily Smith as The Wicked Queen. She shares the role with Hanna Murphy. 
As an added attraction after the show, theatre-goers may go upstairs to have a Meet & Greet with the cast in the newly renovated Crystal Room. The snack bar cafe will be open with cookies and hot chocolate treats!

For tickets to the show, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Be sure to come see both casts of talented actors! 
Justin Fitzgerald as The Prince and Veronica Garrubbo as Snow White have a Meet & Greet with theatre patrons following the show. They share the roles with Michael Wells and Molly Sorensen. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

PHOTO FLASH from The Media Theatre! First SNOW WHITE Pics!

SNOW WHITE is doing her best to stay away from the evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, now at The Media Theatre every weekend through February 22.

The one hour show is perfect for ages 4 and up with performances on Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at Noon. (There is also one Friday morning performance at 9:45am on Feb. 6, for those whose children are seeking something fun to do on an early morning weekday.)
Molly Sorensen as Snow White. Molly was the Vocalist Junior 2014 winner this past summer. She shares the role with Veronica Garrubbo (we'll have photos of Veronica soon!)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a fresh take on an old tale, with songs such as "Work Work Work" and "It's A Wonderful Day". Fun characters such as a three-headed Mirror and an Enchanted Fox add to event as we wait to see if Snow White will bite that poison apple.
Hanna Murphy as the Wicked Queen. She shares the role with Emily Smith.
It's based on the fairy tale in which an evil Queen is jealous of the young maiden's beauty, and will try everything she can to be sure Snow White does not exist. The show has terrific lessons for the young set (and reminders for those who are more mature) about vanity and jealousy, plus -on the other end of the spectrum-being kind to those who need assistance and making friends. The valuable lessons in Snow White are the reasons for its long-standing popularity.
The silly Seven Dwarfs: (Left to Right) Samuel Cooper, Zachary Divito, Holden Dubach, Bridget Henry, Carter Weiss, Tim Woodward, and Aidan Cole. They share the roles with Ben Pedersen, Dillon Kostiuk, Jaydin Knight, Miranda Fitzgerald, Alex Pollard, Sean O' Neill, and Sebastian Fitzgerald.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at The Media Theatre is double cast, with each role having two talented youth actors who share the stage time. There are no adults in this particular musical as the lessons have much more impact with age appropriate representation. All of the young performers are members of the theatre's New School or Acting Classes.

For tickets to Snow White, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Meet the cast in the Crystal Room after the show and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE'S THE MIRACLE WORKER TO BENEFIT TWO AREA SCHOOLS FOR THE BLIND

If Helen Keller were a student today in the Philadelphia region she would have her choice of two outstanding schools -- Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia and Royer-Greaves School for the Blind in Paoli. Helen's story and struggles to learn from her governess Annie Sullivan come into sharp focus in Media Theatre's The Miracle Worker. The classic play by William Gibson opens for previews Wednesday, January 28.  The drama follows Media's new tradition of placing a classic play within its annual Broadway Series schedule. Artistic Director Jesse Cline has chosen a play that has much educational and historic value. The region's two historic schools for the blind, dating back to 1832 and 1921, will receive a $2 donation for every ticket sold during The Miracle Worker's run in February.
Jennie Eisenhower as Annie Sullivan and Lexi Gwynn as Helen Keller in The Media Theatre's "The Miracle Worker"
A professional cast of Actors Equity Association union members will bring the show to life, led by 12-year-old Lexi Gwynn of Malvern as Helen Keller and Jennie Eisenhower of Philadelphia as Annie Sullivan. Lexi Gwynn is a New School student at The Media Theatre who becomes a union member with this production. Eisenhower, well known to Media audiences and throughout the Philadelphia region, is a Barrymore Award winner and was just named 2014 Broadway World/Philadelphia Best Actress in a Musical and Best Supporting Actress in a Play.

$2 from every ticket purchased for performances February 1 through 8 will benefit the Overbrook School. The following week, $2 from tickets purchased February 9 through 15 will benefit Royer-Greaves. The Media Theatre is offering a special Family Pack -- four tickets for $100 -- for any Miracle Worker matinee or evening show.

For tickets to “The Miracle Worker” at The Media Theatre, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org

About Overbrook School for the Blind
Overbrook School for the Blind offers a variety of programs for children of different ages and abilities. Since 1832, Overbrook has been developing and delivering education that enhances the options available for persons with visual impairment and other challenges so that they have the greatest opportunity to experience active and fulfilling lives. In addition to a full academic program, Overbrook students receive special training and participate in different activities that are important to the development of children who are blind or visually impaired. This includes orientation and mobility, daily living skills, assistive technology, music, art and a full sports program.

About Royer-Greaves School for the Blind
Dr. Jesse Royer Greaves, an educator who recognized that many blind children were being denied an education, founded Royer-Greaves School for Blind (RGS) in 1921.  For more than 90 years RGS has benefited students and adults requiring more intensive individualized attention and training for intellectual and physical disabilities.   Specialized academics and robust programs for vision impairments and special education include modern assistive technology to support the students/ clients in their classrooms and daily lives, as well music therapy, occupational and speech therapy, physical education, and orientation and mobility as well as horseback riding.  Our goal is to enable our students and adults to have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.

(Feature by Marsha Peltz, Publicist)


Thursday, January 15, 2015

THE MEDIA THEATRE WINS 18 BROADWAY WORLD AWARDS FOR 'BEST OF PHILLY THEATRE 2014'

The Media Theatre is the Winner of 18 Broadway World Awards for “Best of Philly Theatre” for the calendar year 2014. The professional music theatre company, which has added a classic play to its line-up each season, received the most of the 24 honors given by Broadway World Philadelphia for the past year.

The awards are voted upon by the Philadelphia theatre community, as well as by the general public. Somewhat of a mix between a People’s Choice and being voted upon by peers in the industry, the Broadway World Awards are given in each major city and region in the USA by the online theatrical magazine, which highlights each region’s theatrical events, shows, and happenings. Broadway World is based in NYC, from which it takes its title.


 The Media Theatre won the Broadway World Award for Best Theatre Company of Philadelphia for the third consecutive year. It swept the honors in the Best Play categories for its critically acclaimed production of “Diary of Anne Frank”, which won a total of 9 honors. “The Addams Family”, a regional professional premiere, won 7 awards plus special mention with the theatre’s win for Best Theatre Company.
Broadway World Award winners Jennie Eisenhower and Jeff Coon in "The Addams Family". The production also received 5 other awards including Best Musical.
Competitors in each category include major theatre companies such as The Walnut Street Theatre, The Wilma Theatre, and other theatres in Center City Philadelphia as well as those located in Delaware County and surrounding counties.
A scene from the Broadway World Award winning production of Media Theatre's "Diary Of Anne Frank", with Austy Hicks and Anastasia Korbal. The production received 9 Broadway World Awards including Best Play.

 For the first time, a Children’s Series production at The Media Theatre received an important award: Best Special Event. The win was for “Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark”, performed by a mostly youth cast of theatre students last spring. The sequel musical “Magic Tree House: Knight At Dawn” will be on stage this coming March, April, and May also performed by many of the theatre’s New School students.
A scene from the Broadway World Award winner for Best Special Event in Philadelphia: "Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark". Pictured are New School students and actors Lexi Gwynn, Carter Weiss, and Michael Wells. 
This is the first time ever that The Media Theatre has received both the Best Musical and Best Play honors, and with those plus its Special Event win, Broadway World voters are focusing attention on the work being done at Delaware County's only professional music theatre company. 

Media Music Theatre Company is the producing non-profit organization at the theatre; Artistic Director Jesse Cline is himself a winner for Best Director of A Play for "Diary of Anne Frank". He won last year for directing "Mame" starring Andrea McArdle. (She returns April 22 through May 24 in "Hello Dolly")


The Media Theatre won 2014 Broadway World Awards in the following categories:

Best Theatre Company: The Media Theatre (Special mention to “The Addams Family”)

Best Actor in A Musical: Jeffrey Coon (Gomez), "The Addams Family”

Best Actress in A Musical: Jennie Eisenhower (Morticia), "The Addams Family"

Supporting Actress in A Musical: Lauren Cupples (Wednesday), "The Addams Family"

Best Musical: "The Addams Family”

Best Costume Design: K. Whitney Rogers, "Diary of Anne Frank”

Best Ensemble of A Musical: "The Addams Family"

Best Set Design: Matthew Miller, "Diary of Anne Frank"

Best Sound Design: Carl Park, "The Addams Family"

Best Lighting: Troy Martin O' Shia, "Diary of Anne Frank"

Best Music Direction: Christopher Ertelt, "The Addams Family"

Best Play: "Diary of Anne Frank"

Best Direction of A Play: Jesse Cline, "Diary of Anne Frank"

Best Actor in A Play: Paul Dake (Otto), "Diary of Anne Frank"

Best Actress in A Play: Anastasia Korbal (Anne Frank), "Diary of Anne Frank"

Supporting Actor in A Play: P. Brendan Mulvey (Dussell), "Diary of Anne Frank"

Ensemble of A Play: "Diary of Anne Frank"

Best Special Event: "Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark"

For tickets to the upcoming “The Miracle Worker” which features Broadway World Best Actress Winner Jennie Eisenhower and New School student Lexi Gwynn, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. The production is this year’s classic play and runs January 28 through February 15 with several 10am performances for students.

“The Miracle Worker” is based on the true story of Helen Keller's relationship with her governess Anne Sullivan. Keller was rendered blind, deaf, and mute due to a childhood illness. William Gibson's play highlights the struggles of her family to control her wild behavior and their subsequent hiring of teacher Sullivan in an effort to assist their cause. The moving, triumphant show is a testament to the power of the human spirit.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT AT MEDIA THEATRE'S ANNUAL GALA FEBRUARY 21

Delaware County and the Philadelphia/ Wilmington region are invited to "Illuminate The Night" with The Media Theatre's annual Gala evening Saturday February 21.

The event this year highlights the professional award-winning music theatre's contributions to the cultural landscape of the Delaware Valley and beyond, as patrons and supporters will experience a memorable one-night only concert, two unique cocktail receptions, an awards ceremony, and a live auction. The entire evening enhances and solidifies the Media Music Theatre Company's (MMTC) status as Philly's only year-round professional music theatre. MMTC is the non-profit organization which produces the entire Broadway Series, Children's Series, and educational opportunities including Camp Media Theatre.

The educational opportunities have grown exponentially in the past decade, to the point that MMTC will have its own separate Media Theatre School and Dance Studio on State Street, opening in the early part of 2015. Voice lessons and various genres of dance will be available for study at the new studio as well as the continuing acting classes, piano lessons, and New School. The "Illuminate The Night" Gala supports each of these programs as well as the Broadway Series. 


The evening is at once a fundraiser and a celebration. To that end, Broadway's Tony nominated actress Ann Crumb, the recent winner of the Philadelphia Theatre Critic's award as Best Actress in A Musical for her acclaimed performance in last season's "Sunset Boulevard", will entertain audiences. She is joined by three cast member's of this season's "Les Miserables" (Lauren Cupples, Sarah Moya, Sean Thompson) and Garrison Carpenter, who makes his Media Theatre debut. The Youth Ensemble will also perform several numbers.

Special awards will be given to individuals and organizations that have been consistent supporters and advocates for the production company’s mission which is ‘to promote and nurture the imagination, diversity, and joy unique to music theatre by the production of new and classic works; to herald music theatre to young people as an art form that is relevant to their lives and to foster an understanding by them that it is indigenous to their cultural heritage’.


The prestigious Walter M. Strine, Sr., Award is also referred to as the Advocate of the Arts Award. It is named after the entrepreneur who renovated The Media Theatre and transformed it into a live performing arts center in 1994. This year’s honoree is Ramona Gwynn. She joins previous honorees whose support has assisted in the theatre being able to make improvements, gain a wider audience, and continue to expand its educational opportunities.

Convergent Technologies, Incorporated will receive the Community Partnership Award. A sponsor of the upcoming "The Miracle Worker", CTI has been a silent partner in marketing opportunities for MMTC the past few years. 

Gala evenings represent the perfect time of year to show support by being a sponsor or purchasing single tickets.  "Illuminate the Night" has Glow, Shine, and Sparkle Sponsorship packages available at www.mediatheatre.org, plus a Gala Lite opportunity which is a two-ticket package for the occasion.

Not simply a beautiful structure steeped in history, The Media Theatre is now known worldwide as the home of The Media Music Theatre Company created by the visionary artistic direction of Mr. Jesse Cline. Cline and his staff of creative designers and directors have been awarded over 20 "Best Of" honors from prestigious media outlets such as Broadway World, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Daily News, Main Line Today Magazine, DelcoNewsNetwork, and the Delaware County Daily Times.

For tickets or information, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org.