Monday, February 23, 2015

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. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE ANNOUNCES 2015-16 SEASON

Mama Rose, Billy Elliot, Atticus Finch, Eddie Birdlace, and John Adams. Five names, each encapsulating what The Media Theatre's 2015-16 season promises--people who tried their hardest to change the world, to leave an indelible impression so that their lives and the lives touched by their presence and innovation would recognize excellence, courage, and passion.

Each of these are represented well in various ways with the line-up promised by The Media Theatre from September 2015 to May 2016.

"Gypsy" opens the season September 23 to November 1. With Philadelphia's own Broadway actress Kristine Fraelich as Mama Rose, the ultimate aggressive stage mother, this powerful story of a mother and her daughters presents a dark side of show business wrapped in a Jule Styne score which contains some of the most iconic show tunes of all time. Stephen Sondheim's lyrics create an irony within the tune-filled melodies of "Let Me Entertain You", "You'll Never Get Away From Me", "Some People", and the legendary "Everything's Coming Up Roses". Whatever her intentions, Mama Rose certainly leaves an impression as she pushes her daughters toward the pinnacle of stardom. 


For the holidays, The Media Theatre has the Philadelphia regional professional premiere of Broadway's inspiring hit "Billy Elliot: The Musical". Based on the 2000 film, it follows the story of young Billy who hangs up his boxing gloves to become a ballet dancer. TIME magazine called it 'Best Musical of the Decade' as it inspires audiences with the story of the young lad who, against all odds within the confines of an English mining town which finds itself in the midst of a strike, finds his courage to make his dreams come true. Elton John's score features the memorable song "Electricity" setting the tone for a musical which features astounding choreography. Winner of 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical, "Billy Elliot" has a large youth cast. It plays during the Thanksgiving, Hannukah, and Christmas season November 18 
to January 3.


The classic play "To Kill A Mockingbird" is revived January 27 to February 14, 2016. Keeping with the now annual tradition of producing one play per season, the show will be a part of the region's Black History Month. The show, set during the Great Depression, highlights the powerful story of attorney Atticus Finch and his children after he is appointed to defend Tom Robinson, a black man framed for a crime he did not commit. Their community in Alabama represents a microcosm of the tension between justice and racism that existed during the time period, and is still relevant today. Based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, the play is perfect for students ages 13 and up as well as families, churches, and civic groups.


A second regional professional premiere takes to the stage March 3-28, 2016. It's the musical "Dogfight" in which a young soldier plays a cruel joke on an unsuspecting girl. Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical after it premiered in 2012, it's based on a 1991 film. Three young Marines set out for an evening of fun before being deployed the next day, but Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets an awkward waitress and uses her as the catalyst for a cruel bet with his buddies. The waitress, however, changes the game and allows Eddie to realize what true love really is. 

To close the 2015-16 season, The Media Theatre has a musical to lead Philadelphia into the time frame of the upcoming 2016 Democratic Convention which will be hosted by the City of Brotherly Love. It's "1776", Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards' classic which follows John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Richard Henry Lee as they attempt to have the second Continental Congress vote for independence from the British monarchy by signing the Declaration of Independence. With humor and insight, "1776" represents the most seminal event in our nation's history. It's a musical based in Philadelphia, about the beginnings of our American society as we know it today. "1776" is directed by Jennie Eisenhower and stars Ben Dibble as John Adams as it represents the beginnings of our freedoms to choose and runs April 13 to May 22. 

All Broadway Series musicals at The Media Theatre are produced by Media Music Theatre Company (Artistic Director Jesse Cline). For subscription information, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org










Wednesday, February 18, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE ENTERS MEDIEVAL TIMES WITH SECOND 'MAGIC TREE HOUSE' MUSICAL

If it's spring, it's time for another children's musical based on the "Magic Tree House" books, and The Media Theatre has the Philadelphia regional premiere of the second hour long show entitled "Knight At Dawn". It's on stage every weekend from March 7 to May 24, with Saturday performances at 11am and Sundays at Noon.
The two young actors in the middle, Ben Pedersen and Jaydin Knight, who share the role of Jack in "Magic Tree House: Knight At Dawn", with actresses Brynn Washbourne (left) and Jolie Jaffe who share the role of Annie. All are New School students at The Media Theatre.
Last year, The Media Theatre presented the regional premiere of a new children's musical based on the popular "Magic Tree House" books by Mary Pope Osborne. Audiences had the pleasure of visiting with dinosaurs a year ago, and now in 2015 the second show based on Osborne's series of books has its Philly premiere. Audiences ages 4 and up will travel back in time to medieval times as they meet The Black Knight, a singing Jester, Minstrels, and many other interesting characters.

In the "Magic Tree House" series, two siblings (Jack and Annie) find that whenever they put their finger on magical books they are transported back in time to enjoy fast-paced adventure while they learn about history.
Here they are: Red, Mustache, and Squinty. They're the Castle Guards and their actual names are Carter Weiss, Michael Wells, and Sean O' Neill.
Songs in the second musical include "How Far Can You See?" which also opened the previous show in the series. New titles featured are "The Apple Song", "Mustache, Squinty, and Red", and "Light In The Darkness".

"Magic Tree House: Knight At Dawn" has plenty of humor, lots of heart, and lessons aplenty.

The roles of Jack and Annie are double cast, with Jaydin Knight and Ben Pedersen sharing the role of Jack while Jolie Jaffe and Brynn Washbourne take on the part of Annie. 

Media Theatre stage veteran Roger Ricker plays the Jester, with Tim Haney scaring up laughs as The Black Knight. Father and son Henry O' Neill and Sean O' Neill appear in their first show together--Henry, a Ridley Township policeman, portrays the World's Oldest Prisoner while his 7 year old son Sean is a guard.
Two actors from the same family: 7 year old Sean O' Neill with his father Henry O' Neill (who is older than 7). It's their first time sharing the stage together in a production.

The entire cast can be found on Media Theatre News, the Media Music Theatre Company's blog which, as of February 1, has had over 100,000 views in the past year and a half. 

For tickets to "Magic Tree House: Knight At Dawn" call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Group rates are available; there are also several Friday morning performances for school and student groups. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PATRICK WARD FEATURED ON COMCAST NEWSMAKERS

Executive Director Patrick Ward was interviewed recently on Comcast Newsmakers, because The Media Theatre is a News Maker!

Ward discussed Spring happenings coming up, including "Hello Dolly" starring Andrea McArdle and our new School and Dance Studio.

SEE INTERVIEW HERE




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

GHOST: THE MUSICAL FIRST DAY OF REHEARSAL IN NEW MEDIA THEATRE DANCE STUDIO

The Media Theatre's cast of "Ghost: The Musical" had a pleasant surprise Wednesday February 11 as they became the first professional Broadway Series cast to rehearse at the theatre's new School and Dance Studio. 

The 28 West State Street location in Media, PA--to be used also for classes beginning in the spring--is the perfect spot to rehearse the contemporary and classic musicals Media Music Theatre Company is known for.
"Ghost" choreographer Dann Dunn with director Jesse Cline at 28 West State Street Studio


"Ghost" cast member JP Dunphy at the new Studio
With new mirrors surrounding the largest dance studio in the new space, which has a shining floor specifically designed for actors and dancers, The Media Theatre's School and Dance Studio provides a refreshing state-of-the-art space for the actors who come to Media as the rehearsal process takes place. 

There is also a smaller mirrored room for private lessons, plus a piano room for vocal and keyboard lessons, two restrooms, a waiting area, and a kitchenette for actors and patrons. 
Actors Zack Krajnyak and Anna Giordano who portray lovers Sam and Molly in "Ghost" at Media Theatre Studio

"Ghost: The Musical" will rehearse at The Studio through February 18 when the production moves to The Media Theatre to prepare for its run March 4-29. 

The School and Dance Studio will have a grand opening this spring, eventually offering classes in Acting, various genres of Dance, as well as Voice, Piano, Guitar, and more. 
"Ghost" cast members Quinci Spady and Megan Rucidlo get ready for rehearsal
Artistic Director Jesse Cline said, "The new Studio represents a new era for Media Music Theatre Company and The Media Theatre. It allows actors to rehearse in a space that is really their own, without distraction. The space will provide unique opportunities for expanding our education programs for all ages, our summer camps, even our focus on music from vocals to instrumental lessons. We will expand in 'steps', learning more about our students and patrons as we grow, becoming knowledgeable about where the interest is and expand from there."

Cline continued, "We are happy to be in the midst of State Street's restaurant row as well, so that our students and patrons will be able to enjoy all that Media has to offer, becoming an even more viable part of the economic health of the borough."
The waiting area outside Artistic Director Jesse Cline's office at new Studio
As for the "Ghost"actors, they are more than happy to be the first professional cast to rehearse in the new Studio on State Street. "This is awesome," said Megan Rucidlo, cast member and Media Theatre New School choreographer. "It's like a piece of New York City right here in Media. This is going to be great!"

"Ghost: The Musical" is based on the extremely popular film from 1990. 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 untimely demise. An eccentric medium does what she can to help Sam get back in touch with his dear Molly. The show, like the film, is a touching tribute to eternal love.

"Ghost: The Musical" plays March 4-29 at The Media Theatre. 
For tickets, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. 
(Valentine's Weekend Special: Purchase tickets for the show on Saturday February 14 and Sunday February 15 at discount rate--$70 for two adult tickets, $50 for two senior tickets. Good for any performance of "Ghost".)

MEDIA THEATRE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JESSE CLINE'S 'NEW OFFICE' AT BRAND NEW SCHOOL AND DANCE CENTER IN MEDIA

There's nothing like a special gift close to Valentine's Day!

Jesse Cline, the Artistic Director of The Media Theatre, received one on Wednesday February 11. It was unwrapped as soon as he opened the door...to his shining, classy, and comfortable new office. The location is at 28 West State Street in Media, which houses the theatre's new School and Dance Studio.
                      Cline walks into the new office for the first time, Feb. 11, 2015
Cline arrived for the first day of "Ghost: The Musical" rehearsal at the new Studio space and was thrilled to see his new office, complete with a new computer and television system, a screen for projections to discuss set designs for upcoming Broadway Series productions, and a side kitchenette complete with a small bar and microwave.
Cline surveys the office for the first time
"This is wonderful," Cline said. "It's the perfect place for meetings as well as time for myself to focus on working on the shows."
Sitting at the desk for the first time!
Jesse Cline's office was put together by his life partner (and work associate) Executive Director Patrick Ward and contractor Walt Ford.
The New Office for Jesse Cline, Artistic Director


The desk, with framed images of value to Cline
Walt Ford, the contractor who worked on Cline's new office space, with Cline

THE MEDIA THEATRE'S NEW SCHOOL AND DANCE STUDIO WILL HAVE A GRAND OPENING THIS SPRING! STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFO. Visit mediatheeatre.org

Monday, February 9, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE'S 'MIRACLE WORKER' FEATURED ON PHILLY'S NBC-10 NEWS

Actresses Jennie Eisenhower and Lexi Gwynn, who portray Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller in The Media Theatre's "The Miracle Worker" were interviewed on NBC-10 News Monday February 9.

The show plays through February 15. Check out mediatheatre.org for tickets and watch the interview here:
THE NBC INTERVIEW: MIRACLE WORKER @ The Media Theatre

MEDIA THEATRE PRESENTS OVERBROOK SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND WITH 'MIRACLE' DONATION

The Media Theatre's "The Miracle Worker" is on stage through February 15, featuring 12 year old actress Lexi Gwynn as Helen Keller. The young actress earned her Actors Equity Association membership with this production, and is now a card-carrying member of the union of professional actors based in New York City.
The Media Theatre presents a check to Overbrook School for the Blind in the amount of $2646, which was garnered through ticket sales and a 'match' donation. Pictured are actress Lexi Gwynn of "The Miracle Worker" in her Helen Keller costume, with Overbrook Executive Director Gerald Kitzhoffer and Media Theatre Executive Director Patrick Ward.
Lexi, as determined as she is to focus on earning a great career, is also someone who remembers the value of helping others to achieve their own goals and dreams. To that end, she wanted to accompany the theatre's Executive Director Patrick Ward as he presented a donation check to the Overbrook School for the Blind. She attended the check presentation on Malvern Avenue in Philadelphia in full costume as Helen Keller, having just finished an interview at the NBC-10 television studio to discuss the show and the support for Overbrook School. 

The donation was through the region's support of the production, as $1 from each ticket sold for "The Miracle Worker" between February 1 and 8 was given to the school. Furthering the Pay-It-Forward style assistance, an anonymous donor matched the theatre's amount, so Overbrook School was presented with a $2646 check.
Actress Lexi Gwynn learns more about what it's like to be Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker" with Overbrook School Executive Director Gerald Kitzhoffer.
Royers-Greave School will also receive support from "The Miracle Worker", with the same donation and match through ticket sales during the final week of the critically acclaimed show's run.

"Helen Keller is an inspiration," Lexi Gwynn said. "It's a valuable story about overcoming what might be perceived as a handicap but she did not allow it to hold her down. We, as actors, must always be concerned about helping others through what we do whenever we can."

Executive Director Patrick Ward agreed, "The Media Theatre is a part of this region and these schools are our neighbors. The opportunity with "The Miracle Worker" is not only to engage, inspire, and educate--but also to assist, to give support where it's needed and to continue to encourage through the story of Helen Keller."

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.

Friday, February 6, 2015

CAMP MEDIA THEATRE 2015 THEMES ANNOUNCED

Camp Media Theatre 2015 is an extraordinary and exciting opportunity for young actors to study with Professional Directors, Performers, and Technicians. This intensive, two-week day camp is a fun, enriching and rewarding experience. 

Campers write, design, and perform an improvisational theatre production that is performed on the Media Theatre stage for family and friends the final Friday evening of each camp session.



Jesse Cline, Artistic Director, oversees all aspects of the Camp. Each day camp session is designed for children 5 years old and up, in three separate age groups. 

The unique and exciting experience at Camp Media Theatre 2015 begins June 15 with five two-week sessions from 9:30-3:30, each Monday through Friday. 

There will be 'themes' with each two-week session, with the focus being on learning and maintaining basic stage skills, singing, acting, and dance. Each day camp provides a unique opportunity for the campers in that they create their own 'scene work' in the acting class with the assistance of an instructor and director. Broadway songs and show music are added with choreography to create a Camp Show each two weeks which utilizes the personality of each camper.

The 2015 Camp Media Theatre themes are:

June 15 - June 26  --  LION KING CAMP-- Songs from the Broadway hit, plus other popular hits  

June 29 - July 10  --  GLEE CAMP--Songs made popular on the tv series                      

July 13 - July 24 -- FROZEN CAMP---Songs from the hit film, plus more Disney hits

July 27 - August 7 --OZ CAMP -- Songs from Wicked, Wizard of Oz, and The Wiz

August 10 - August 21---
DO RE MI CAMP--- Songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein from shows like "The Sound of Music", "The King and I", "South Pacific", etc

Our 2015 Teen Camp Experience is "The Who's Tommy" and is also accepting registrations. An entirely separate camp than our day camps, "The Who's Tommy" Summer Youth Project is a parallel to our mainstage Broadway Series, in which the youth performers work with a professional director, choreographer, costume designer, set designer, etc., and perform the show for public audiences for five weekends following three weeks of rehearsal. 

"The Who's Tommy" camp has limited availability, and begins rehearsal on June 15 at 6pm, meeting Mondays through Fridays for three weeks. Performances begin in July and the show runs for 5 weekends. 

All camps and classes at The Media Theatre are structured with the Sanford Meisner Technique which is based on the criteria that "Acting is living as truthfully as one can under an imaginary circumstance". This allows any age of actor to be who they are, with no pretending or pretense. Actors are instructed to follow their own instinct and to not imitate or 'copy' anyone else's performance, while following direction and enjoying being a part of the production or scene. 

To register or find out more visit mediatheatre.org or call 610-891-0100. Anyone registering for Camp Media Theatre or "The Who's Tommy" experience will receive a discount prior to March 1.


Monday, February 2, 2015

MIRACLE WORKER REVIEWS PRAISE CAST AND DIRECTOR

"The Miracle Worker" is at The Media Theatre through February 15, and the reviews are coming in! 

With much praise for the cast and director, major media outlets such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, Broadway World, and Delco News Network are showering love on the leads Jennie Eisenhower and Lexi Gwynn. See the reviews below.




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

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER REVIEW 

BROADWAY WORLD REVIEW 

DELCO NEWS NETWORK REVIEW

NEAL ZOREN REVIEW

TICKET REVIEW