Sunday, May 31, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE'S ELECTRIC CABARET A FUN-RAISING SUCCESS!

The first ever "Electric Cabaret" held Saturday May 30 was a fun-raising success for The Media Theatre!

Held at the home of Gregory Smith, the 15 year old Episcopal Academy student who started his theatrical training at The Media Theatre almost a decade ago, the outdoor concert and party brought tons of talent to the patio stage.
Anna Giordano and Zack Krajnyak of "Ghost: The Musical" at the Cabaret
David Smith, Gregory's father who assisted his son create the Cabaret in their backyard in Media, opened the event by saying "This is a fundraiser, this is a show, but it's also a party to celebrate the wonderful things happening at The Media Theatre! So have fun, enjoy the performances, and support the theatre whenever you can."
Barb Triolo, Jesse Cline, Ramona Gwynn
The Flying Deutschman provided the delicious German catering, reminding everyone that Gregory's mother Inge is 100% German and is very proud of her heritage.
Yummy German Food!
"Ghost: The Musical" may have ended in March, but its stars Anna Giordano and Zack Krajnyak were on hand to emcee the event and sing from the show. The two actors headed to Media from NYC and said, "We would not have missed this. Such wonderful up and coming talent starts here at The Media Theatre."
The Coopers
The songs were plentiful, and accompanied with exuberance and enthusiasm by Ben Kapilow.
Accompanist Ben Kapilow
The entire event was not simply a showcase for excellent performers of all ages, but also was yet another reminder that there is a definitive Media Theatre Family. The young singers and their parents, friends, and theatre supporters mingled as a unified Brady-Bunch-style group for over four hours with song, food, soccer, swimming, and other fun outdoor activities.
Inge Smith
Media Theatre Board member K. Whitney Rogers gave a heartfelt and moving speech near the end of the concert. "This is a tribute to the great work at the theatre which is in itself a tribute to the artistic vision of Jesse Cline," she said. "His vision is why we are here. I do not know of any other theatre in which everyone comes together like this in such a show of support. As a parent who has a daughter involved in the youth programs here, I can tell you there is nothing else like it."
The Media Theatre's Kim Bosshardt with Executive Director Patrick Ward

The view from the audience as The Smith's perform
She spoke to the crowd of 100 to rousing applause, as The Smith's backyard became a professional music theatre for one memorable afternoon.
Actress Alexandra Shoumer swings toward the future at the 2015 Electric Cabaret!
To continue supporting The Media Theatre and its constant "Electric Cabaret" of youth programs, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. The "Electric Cabaret" was titled due to the song "Electricity" in Billy Elliot: The Musical, one of the theatre's shows coming up for 2015-16. 

"We really hope this becomes an annual event," Gregory Smith said. "There are a lot of families involved with the theatre and a lot of backyards close by which can be transformed once a year to continue this tradition."


Saturday, May 23, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE'S 2015 'VOCALIST' AND 'VOCALIST JUNIOR' CONTESTANTS ANNOUNCED...FEATURING MANY NEWCOMERS

The Media Theatre is where you'll find the best local up and coming talent this summer in the 2015 "Vocalist" and "Vocalist Junior" contests. Young singers from elementary school age through college and a bit beyond will entertain audiences twice per week beginning July 8 for five weeks. Media Music Theatre Company produces the event each summer.

The 2015 contestants feature a highter percentage of newcomers to The Media Theatre stage than in year's past, plus a set of twins and two-out-of-three triplets (the third is into sports, to keep the family well-balanced). 

They're culled from recent auditions held at the theatre's new School and Dance Studio in Media. The actual contest performances will take place at the theatre (104 East State Street). Ages 14-24 will sing their hearts out Wednesday nights at 7pm during "The Vocalist" with the tots and pre-teens ages 7-13 in "The Vocalist Junior" taking the stage Sunday nights at the same early evening hour. Iron Workers Bank is the annual sponsor. 


They'll be slight changes to the contest this year, but the main format remains the same. No one is eliminated until after Week Three in either competition, so each singer has ample opportunity to hone their craft in front of a live enthusiastic audience. Equal parts contest and educational opportunity, "The Vocalist" allows each contestant to have equal recognition and deserved applause during the first three weeks.

"Audiences will actually get to see each contestants grow," said the music theatre company's Artistic Director Jesse Cline. "The contestants will feel more at home on the stage as they have three weeks to do their best, without the constant pressure of not returning the following week."


Cline continued, “We also look at this as an educational experience. So, rather than singing one song and leaving the competition, each vocalist has the opportunity to learn a bit more about what it takes to perform in front of an audience on a professional stage.”
Cline, as the one constant judge, is a part of an important process in the competition. He will have an extra category on his ballot that will not appear on the guest judges' tally sheets. His added category is entitled Individualism, which reflects his connection to the singers each week and his rapport with them following their performances. "In getting to know them more than the other judges it seems logical that I would have this extra category. There may be a week in which a young singer falters a bit...but I will know what they are capable of and who they are. The Individualism category speaks to the fact that each contestant is unique. Their interests and what is best for them should come first. Each has their own story to tell in their own way."
The guest judges will mark their ballots in three categories. The added category of Song Choice will join Vocal Ability and Stage Presence. Cline will have those three, plus his extra category. All categories will utilize a 1-10 ranking system with 1 being the lowest score and 10 being the highest possible.
Online voting will take place again this year, not affecting any outcome until after Week Three. As with the judges’ scoring, the online voting will also be accumulated for three weeks. After week three, the online scores will be tallied and the person with the most votes online will receive an added 30 points to their total score. The additional points may or may not assist them in moving forward. The second place online vote-getter will receive an added 25 points, with the third receiving 20 extra. Vote-getters four through ten receive 15 extra points, and those who rank eleven through fifteen online will gain 10 extra to possibly move them into the Semi-Finals.
Also, for every 10 tickets purchased in a contestant's name (with the patron mentioning their favorite singer's name when buying tickets) an extra point is added to the score. This is similar to television singing competitions in which the singers who do the best on i-tunes get extra points to stay in the contest.
The Semi-Finals will see the Top 25 sing during week four of each "Vocalist" competition, with 15 returning for The Finals.

The 2015 “Vocalist” and its junior counterpart have a high percentage of newcomers to the contest, with several returning. “We value our first-time Media Theatre performers,” Cline said. “To have so many aspiring vocalists from Delaware County and the Philadelphia region interested in our programs here is a big stamp of approval.”
The "Vocalist Junior" contestants on Sunday nights for 2015 starting July 12 are: Josh Atkinson, 10, Drexel Hill; Cecilia Bailey, 10, West Chester; Morgan Bitzberger, 13, Thornton; Ava Briglia, 8, Media; Shannon Clark, 12, Havertown; Joseph Colasante, 12, Brookhaven; Ava Courtney, 10, Garnet Valley; and Larissa Culbertson, 13, Wayne.
Also Jamie Day, 12, Media; Paige Day, 12, Media; Zachary Divito, 9, Aston; Evelyn Doran, 11, Glenolden; Gabrielle Dove, 8, Sharon Hill; Bridget Duffy, 13, Thornton; Cassidy Else, 10, Drexel Hill; Molly Evanko, 12, West Chester; Elaina Fitzgerald, 12, Wallingford; Veronica Garrubbo, 12, Berwyn; Lars Halldin, 13, Norristown.

And Ava Kelly, 11, Phoenixville; Skylar Kelly, 11, Phoenixville; Sean Lock, 11, Malvern; Kieran McCarney, 13, West Chester; Elizabeth Mercier, 12, Brookhaven; Fiona Moser, 12, Havertown; Divya Samant, 13, Malvern; Sarah Shoumer, 10, Wayne; Christina Smith, 12, Brookhaven; Bryna Soriano, 13, Wilkes-Barre; JD Triolo, 12, West Chester; Allie Vaccaro, 10, Rose Valley; Brynn Washbourne, 8, Coatesville; Violet Wiley, 9, Woodlyn.

The "Vocalist" singers who will bring their talent to the stage each Wednesday night starting July 8 are: Caroline Adams, 17, Media; Grace Atherholt, 19, York; Chesroleeysia Bobb, 16, Feasterville; Rhiannon Charney, 18, Upper Chichester; Victoria D'Acenzo, 14, Upper Chichester; Julia Degruchy, 19, Philadelphia; Thomas Dempsey, 16, Brookhaven; Amelia Dubendorf, 14, Delco.

Also Aidan Everly, 18, Pottstown; Troy Gartner, 17, Paoli; Charlene Gonzalez, 21, Media; Kaelyn Henry, 16, West Chester; Maggie Kennedy, 18, Malvern; Danielle Lachall, 24, Aston; Erin Lynch, 15, Swarthmore; Paul Mariani III, 15, Ardmore; Jacob Mergott, 16, Swarthmore; Camille Mola, 23, Springfield.

And Abby Pancoast, 15, Bryn Mawr; Robert Rinaldo, 24, Paoli; Nicole Riviello, 15, Broomall; Skyler Shields, 16, Downingtown; Hope Smalley, 18, Secane; Emma Smith, 18, Phoenixville; Lauryn Thomas, 19, Upper Darby; Francesca Venezia, 18, Collegeville. 

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















Sunday, May 17, 2015

SUMMER EVENTS BRING MUSIC AND HUMOR TO THE MEDIA THEATRE

During June, July, and August The Media Theatre, which is known for its award-winning Broadway Series of musicals, places the spotlight on special event programming and highlights its talented youth.

The summer of 2015 is no exception, as major Philadelphia celebrities Big Daddy Graham and Jeff Coon share the stage with the summer camps and Vocalist contests.

It all begins Saturday June 13 as Media borough spotlights its Blues Stroll headliners Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials on stage at The Media Theatre. They were first here in 2007, becoming the most popular and memorable headline show for a Blues Stroll ever. The band's wildly energetic and seriously soulful music is jam-packed with Lil' Ed's incendiary slide playing and passionate singing.

On Thursday night July 23 at 7:30pm, a special ALS benefit is headlined by Jeff Coon and his Summer Club. Titled "A Swingin' Concert for Hope", it features Philadelphia favorite Coon and a cool cast of crooners performing, joking and dancing before a 17-piece live band. The 2-hour swingin’ concert will star Fran Prisco, JP Dunphy, Michael Philip O’Brien along with Coon. Their set list (and antics) will conjure up memories of a night out at a swanky supper club or a 1960’s casino lounge act. Sprinkled between songs will be guest acts including actress and singer Krissy Fraelich. Jersey shore summer residents are already familiar with this supper club show as Coon and friends regularly headline Cape May and Avalon concert halls. 

The July 23 event, in which all proceeds benefit the ALS Hope Foundation, is their only performance outside the shore this summer. There is a  pre-show reception for VIP sponsors and ticket holders, with a post-show reception as well. 

Another fun fundraiser, this time for The Media Theatre's Youth Programs, is "Good Vibrations" on Wednesday evening August 19. Roger Ricker and Friends Aaron Dake, JP Dunphy, Tim Haney, and Denzel Thomas will perform hit songs of the '60's from such iconic groups as The Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Supremes. As with all Ricker concerts, there will also be a youth ensemble performing to assist in the entertainment as well as The State Street Miracles. With simple keyboard accompaniment, the songs will have cabaret-style arrangements with the celebratory party show starting at 7:30pm. The first ever "Media Theatre Volunteer Of The Year Award" will be given to Ridley police officer Henry O' Neill for his assistance with the theatre's children's shows, private receptions, and ticket sales. 


Aside from these special events, the annual "Vocalist" competition which is a showcase for up and coming young talent ages 14-24, starts up Wednesday July 8. The five week contest is a great time for audiences as the singers perform everything from classic Broadway to current pop songs as they try for the 2015 title winning cash and plenty of PR opportunities to further their career. The "Junior" version of the contest for ages 7-13 is on Sunday nights starting July 12. Both start at 7pm.


Camp Media Theatre has five two-week sessions starting Monday June 15 from 9:30am to 3:30pm five days a week as young performers take part in acting, dance, and vocal music lessons and rehearse a show they create on their own. 

The Teen Camp meets starting June 15 as well, with talented young actors, singers, and dancers rehearsing "The Who's Tommy" which is performed for the general public starting mid-July. 


All this and Disney's "Aladdin Jr", too, as the popular Broadway show will be seen in a special one hour version every weekend in June, July, and August with a mostly youth cast sharing the stage with a few adults. With songs like "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me", the show is perfect for families and children ages 4 and up. It can be seen Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at Noon.


So, even though the Broadway Series is 'off' during the summer months, the stage will be very busy at The Media Theatre. Media Music Theatre Company keeps the dream alive for campers and youth performers, while special guests and concert events add to the cool times ahead.

For tickets to any of these special events or concerts, "Aladdin Jr" or "The Who's Tommy", call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org

Monday, May 11, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE HAS 2015-16 SEASON AUDITIONS COMING UP IN JUNE

The Media Theatre has season auditions June 8 (EPA starting at 10am) and a separate call for youth on June 13 at 1pm.

Playbill.com has all of the information regarding the Monday June 8 EPA here:
READ ABOUT THE JUNE 8 AUDITIONS HERE

A separate Youth audition for children and teens (specifically for the shows "Gypsy", "Billy Elliot", and "To Kill A Mockingbird") will be held on Saturday June 13 at 1pm at The School and Dance Studio (28 West State Street). Please prepare a song and be dressed to move for "Gypsy" and "Billy Elliot"; prepare a monologue for "To Kill A Mockingbird". Seeing ages 7 and up only. No phone calls. Please do not arrive to register until 12:30pm. Email Roger Ricker at rer764@gmail.com with questions. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

MEDIA THEATRE'S 'ELECTRIC CABARET' FEATURES THE STARS OF 'GHOST'

Saturday May 30 at 4pm the stars of The Media Theatre's recent "Ghost: The Musical", Anna Giordano and Zack Krajnyak, will be featured in the "Electric Cabaret". Born out of a young teen's vision to give back to the theatre he loves so dearly, the "Electric Cabaret" is happening at his own home.

Gregory Smith, 16, started his theatre training at The Media Theatre at the age of 6. Cast in a Saturday morning children's show at the time, his passion for acting and singing began to blossom. Soon, he was performing in mainstage productions such as "Oklahoma!". Eventually he became a contestant in what was then referred to as "Delco Idol, Jr" and won the vocal competition. 

His training took him to the Walnut Theatre stage where he played the lead in "Oliver!" a few years ago, and he won a nationwide Kidz Bop online singing competition.

"With this fundraiser on May 30 I want to give back to The Media Theatre," he said, referring to the cabaret which he created. "It's important to me to share with the community which surrounds me and has assisted me. My hope is to sell a lot of tickets to this event, and I'm thrilled that the stars of "Ghost" are joining us."
Anna Giordano, who played Molly in "Ghost", will perform at the event
The "Electric Cabaret" also features youth performers from The Media Theatre's School. The "Ghost" stars will emcee and sing, as will Gregory Smith and his siblings.

Happening at Gregory's own home (2355 West Deerfield Drive in Media) the cabaret also sets an example that fundraising for your favorite non-profit is able to happen right where you live, as everything that is an integral part of your life should. 

"I attend Episcopal Academy and am also doing community inspired things there," Gregory said. "On May 29 I'm leading a donation for a homeless shelter, so students are bringing in non-perishables. Actually the "Electric Cabaret" is the second cabaret at my house. Last year I did one for Episcopal Academy. This year it seemed like a logical choice to choose The Media Theatre, as they are the two places which have most inspired me."
Zack Krajnyak, who was Sam in "Ghost", will also be on hand, to sing and emcee with Anna Giordano
Both "Ghost" leads understand what it takes to study and train. "This is an excellent event," Anna Giordano said. "It is a showcase for young performers and also highlights the fact that you must support the arts."

Zack Krajnyak agrees. "Sounds so fun and awesome! What a terrific concept to encourage others to do the same."

He and Anna will sing during the cabaret, including "Three Little Words" from "Ghost".

Jesse Cline, the theatre's Artistic Director, directs the cabaret with Ben Kapilow as music director. The $30 ticket includes food and beverage, with a German-inspired menu. "My mom is 100% German and very proud of her heritage," Gregory said. "So that's where the menu comes from!"
16 year old Gregory Smith, who is producing the Electric Cabaret fundraiser
Gregory and his family have been involved at The Media Theatre for the past decade, appearing in shows, singing in concerts, and enjoying the productions as patrons. 

"We truly enjoy every bit of it," the young actor and singer explained. "Without the arts, our lives would have less meaning. The things I have been able to carry with me from what I have learned at the theatre have helped me in every aspect of my life."


The title of the cabaret comes from Gregory's experiences. "In the show "Billy Elliot", which The Media Theatre is producing during the 2015 holiday season, the young ballet dancer sings "Electricity", which is all about what he feels as he dances. The "Electric Cabaret" encapsulates that feeling, because singing and performing in front of an audience is absolutely electric, like no other feeling in the world."

To get tickets to the "Electric Cabaret", an outdoor event at 2355 West Deerfield Drive in Media, call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. There's plenty of singing, food, and beverage for everyone who comes out to support the theatre. All proceeds benefit The Media Theatre.

Monday, May 4, 2015

GAIN DANCE TECHNIQUE AND SOLID TRAINING IN MEDIA...WHY TRAVEL TO NYC?

The Media Theatre's new School & Dance Studio offers valuable training which happens daily locally in the Philadelphia region. It's a solid and reputable venue, built upon years of professional music theatre, which begs one to ask the question "Why travel to NYC to train?" or "Why search elsewhere?"

There is a mind-set within the theatre community, particularly with parents of children and teens, that in order to gain the best dance training you must go beyond your immediate geographic region to take lessons. This is a fallacy that simply leads people toward a 'dream' rather than a fulfilled training experience.

For instance, it's a fact that Broadway is the be-all and end-all goal for those who wish to 'make it big' in the world of theatre. Therefore, it must be the same when it comes to proper training, right? Wrong!

Training of good quality which produces proper technique, in the realm of acting, singing, and/ or dance, does not have to take place in NYC. Not that NYC does not have good quality training, but it's not any different than training locally---unless you are one of the top 5% of performers who have a continuous career on the stage.

There is no need to enroll your child or teen in a summer or seasonal program which is over two hours away in any direction, or even to travel into Center City Philadelphia. If you live in Delaware, Chester, or Montgomery Counties, The Media Theatre School & Dance Studio is only minutes from your home. It's 15 minutes from Wilmington, Delaware and between 20 and 30 minutes from any location on the Main Line.

The instructors at The Media Theatre are the same caliber you will find in NYC or Philadelphia. Several of them actually are from NYC or Philly, and audition for shows at The Media Theatre throughout the season. So, instead of traveling so far to 'train', allow NYC and Center City Philadelphia to come to you...right here at The Media Theatre School & Dance Studio.

Get rid of false pretense. Train in reality.

CAMP MEDIA THEATRE is still accepting registrations as well. So is THE WHO'S TOMMY teen camp experience. Did U register? 

MEDIA THEATRE ANNOUNCES CAST OF 'ALADDIN JR'!

Disney's "Aladdin Jr", the one hour youth version of the hit Broadway musical, delights audiences each weekend June through August. Saturday performances are at 11am with Sunday shows at Noon. There is one Friday morning show at 9:45am on June 5.

Based on the classic animated film in which a humorous genie assists the young Aladdin in his adventurous quest in which he meets up with the beautiful Princess Jasmine, the score features Grammy and Oscar winning songs like "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me".


The cast of Disney's "Aladdin Jr" is :


ALADDIN---GIANNI PALMARINI/ THOMAS LOCK (double cast)
PRINCESS JASMINE---VERONICA GARRUBBO/ EMILY KINKA (double cast)

GENIE---DENZEL THOMAS

NARRATORS ---(All in each show. Perform together as a singing group) HANNAH BRADY, ELAINA FITZGERALD, JUSTIN FITZGERALD, BRIDGET HENRY, SEAN O’ NEILL, EMILY SMITH, MARY KATE VINK, VIOLET WILEY

JAFAR---ROGER RICKER
IAGO, THE PARROT--- CARTER WEISS/ BEN PEDERSEN (double cast)

SULTAN---HENRY O’ NEILL
RAZOUL---LARS HALLDIN/ OWEN MANNION
ABU, THE MONKEY---AIDEN FOX/ GABE PALMARINI (double cast)
MAGIC CARPET---TERRY STEIN

PRINCE BABA OF GANOUSH---SCOTT BRADBURY
PRINCE DADU RAHN-RAHN---JOSH ATKINSON
THE PRINCE FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE ARTIST---ALEX POLLARD

ENSEMBLE/ ATTENDANTS/ TOWNSPEOPLE/ GUARDS: 
HOLDEN DUBACH, MIRANDA FITZGERALD, MARY LAYNE, ALEXSA MCKEOWN, DANNY PEDERSEN, MADISON VASSILAKOPOULOS, ROYA WOLCOTT

*Note: When not playing role listed, double cast actors are in the Ensemble. The roles of the three Princes are also in the Ensemble.

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