Monday, June 29, 2015


Everyone loves a good book no matter what time of the year it might be. Now, when you purchase something you just can't wait to read during the days of July 1-July 14 at a Barnes & Noble bookstore near you (or order from their website) you will also be supporting The Media Theatre!

It's the Barnes & Noble Bookfair, and this year The Media Theatre is a part of it. Known for producing new and classic musicals, the theatre has started an annual tradition of producing one well known play based on classic literature. The 2015-16 Broadway Series features the title "To Kill A Mockingbird", which will be brought to life onstage with professional actors January 27 to February 14, 2016. 

The play is based on Harper Lee's legendary novel, which is a must-read for all high school students. Harper Lee has been in the news a lot recently, as the sequel to the famous book is being released on July 14. This is the reason for The Media Theatre's participation in the Barnes & Noble 2015 Bookfair.

The books you order or purchase from Barnes & Noble during the 2 week period of July 1 to July 14 do not have to be Harper Lee titles, however. You may purchase any title you are interested in and use the code 11654183 when ordering to support the theatre, which receives 10% of sales. (The more you order, the more the theatre receives! If at least two thousand dollars of sales comes from the special code, the theatre gets 20%!)

So if you are ordering books for summer reading on the beach or at home, back-to-school textbooks, or want to buy a nice gift for a family member or friend, do it during July 1 to July 14 and use the code 11654183. The Media Theatre thanks you!

As part of the promotion, the theatre is providing professional actors who will read from "To Kill A Mockingbird" on Saturday July 13 at the Barnes & Noble store in Center City Philadelphia on Walnut Street at Rittenhouse Square. Anna Rosenthal, JD Triolo, K. Whitney Rogers, Kelly Briggs, and Tamara Anderson will all lend their talents to the book reading between the hours of 11am and 8pm on the hour and the half hour.

"To Kill A Mockingbird" is also The Media Theatre's addition to Black History Month when it is performed in February. The play is adapted by Christopher Sergel from Harper Lee's novel. The moving play, in which attorney Atticus Finch defends a young black man wrongfully accused of a crime in 1935 Alabama, is still relevant today. Racial struggles are apparent on stage in the drama which is a strong reminder that we, as a people, still have a long way to go. It's inspiring and educational for all ages, students, families, and church groups of all denominations.

The book's sequel, "Go Set A Watchman", is being released on the final day of The Media Theatre/ Barnes & Noble promotion (July 14).

For information about purchasing books call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100. To order tickets to "To Kill A Mockingbird" at The Media Theatre, visit


Iron Workers Bank sponsors The Media Theatre's "Vocalist" and “Vocalist Junior” contests each July and August, working with the professional music theatre company to highlight aspiring young singers. 

The annual event is produced by Media Music Theatre Company, the professional music theatre organization housed at The Media Theatre. Jesse Cline, the Artistic Director for the Company, created the competition a decade ago when it was referred to as “Delco Idol”. The title was changed three years ago to better represent what the theatre’s mission highlights, which is music theatre.

“The Vocalist” contests are also pure entertainment for audiences. Both those who know singers on the stage and those who are not connected to the performers or contestants in any way walk away humming the selection of Broadway and pop classics each vocalist puts their heart into. In this way, it’s very similar to the nationally televised singing competitions.
Iron Workers Bank President John Whitig with The Media Theatre's Kim Bosshardt (Patron Services Manager and Development Associate)
with Artistic Director Jesse Cline

John Whitig, the President of Iron Workers Bank, said, “We look forward to being involved with this contest each summer. I personally love standing on the stage and assisting with the presentation to the top contestants each year, although they are all winners in my book.”

The participants were culled from auditions held in May at the theatre’s new School and Dance Studio on State Street.

"The Vocalist" begins Wednesday night July 8 at 7pm, continuing for five weeks until a winner is announced live onstage. The "Junior" version of the "Vocalist" starts up Sunday night July 12. FOX-TV’s Sue Serio will open and close the Wednesday night contest with her husband Bill Vargus filling in the remaining nights. Marsha Peltz, the theatre’s Director of Development, will emcee the Sunday night “Junior” event.

The public may purchase tickets or vote online for their favorite contestant at Call 610-891-0100 for information.
Iron Workers Bank has locations in Aston, Chadds Ford, and Media. Visit to learn more. 

Friday, June 19, 2015


On Sunday June 14 at 3pm Media Theatre patrons and supporters mingled with the staff and talent from its stage. It was Media Music Theatre Company's 2015 Subscriber Party, which presented a re-cap of the past season and added a look toward the future with the upcoming 2015-16 Broadway Series season. The non-profit Company produces all Broadway Series, Children's Series, and Educational Programs at The Media Theatre.
Subscriber and Sponsor Gwendolyn Haines with Artistic Director Jesse Cline
Director of Development Marsha Peltz
Marsha Peltz, the company's Director of Development, presented a moving and memorable video presentation to start the afternoon's event. The video, created by her son Brandon, created the celebratory tone of the mini-gala. The screen was bright with mention of The Media Theatre's Broadway World wins and scenes from the past season's shows and youth programs. 

Artistic Director Jesse Cline spoke to the appreciation the theatre has for its patrons and supporters, also mentioning the new School and Dance Studio two blocks away from the theatre. "We cannot do this without you," he said. "You are what makes us successful and we are so very thankful."
Brandon Rannalli performs "Electricity" with resident music director Chris Ertelt
Board member Kate Jaffe 

Board Chair Perry Ecksel speaks to the invited guests

Board member Ree Dunphy

The Leones of West Chester

Brian Henry sings "Stars"
Featured singer Julia Seeley chats prior to her performance
Media Business Authority's Zubair Khan with assistant Jillian
Lauren Cupples performs from "Dogfight"

Actress Anna Rosenthal with her father Sam Rosenthal, a Board member. His wife Stacey Barish says hello to another Board member, K. Whitney Rogers

The invited guests were given a tour to see what most audiences never see--the dressing rooms, backstage area, and to actually walk up onto the enlarged stage's playing area. The tour was given by the theatre's Executive Director Patrick Ward and Development Associate Kim Bosshardt. Robert Towarnicki, Technical Director, provided insight as to the lighting and sound.

A terrifically talented group of five individual vocalists provided exquisite entertainment. Brandon Rannalli, of Media, performed a solid rendition of "Electricity" from the upcoming Billy Elliot: The Musical. The show is based on the hit film about the boy who has dreams of becoming a ballet dancer amidst a tumultuous time in a mining town. The Elton John score captures the innocence of the young Billy Elliot as well as the poignant relationship between he and his father, who wants him to be a boxer. It will be directed by Geoffrey Goldberg.
12 year old JD Triolo sings
Owen Mannion, a young actor in "The Who's Tommy" and also box office staff member

Lauren Cupples, who is frequently seen on The Media Theatre stage, performed a song from Dogfight which is another new musical coming up in the 2015-16 Broadway Series. The musical is all about three marines in the '60's who, on the eve of their deployment, try to find the 'homeliest' young lady to fall in love with one of them, placing bets on who will win. The tradition among the marines backfires when one young lady turns the tides. Artistic Director Jesse Cline directs the production.

Other shows coming up in 2015-16 are the Cline directed Gypsy and To Kill A Mockingbird, and 1776 which is directed by Jennie Eisenhower.

Young actors JD Triolo and Julia Seeley each performed at the event, with pristine vocals which created massive applause throughout the afternoon's crowd. Brian Henry closed the set, reminding everyone of the power of Les Miserables with his performance of "Stars". 
Janet Ecksel with her special guests

Lauren Cupples assists Brian Henry before he performs

Kimberly Bosshardt
Artistic Director Jesse Cline

And the Stars will keep shining on The Media Theatre stage, with Tony nominee appearing as Mama Rose this fall in "Gypsy" (Sept. 23-Nov. 1).

For information about becoming a subscriber or to find out more about upcoming events, visit or call 610-891-0100. We'd love to see you at the Subscriber Party in 2016!

Monday, June 15, 2015


The classic rock and roll musical "The Who's Tommy" is at The Media Theatre July 9 through August 10 with performances on Fridays at 7pm; Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm; and Sundays at 3pm each weekend.

The summer production is an educational experience for young teen actors as they work with professional adults actors to bring Pete Townshend's sensational show to life.

Previously announced cast members include professional actor Garrison Carpenter as Tommy, who recently appeared in The Media Theatre's "Ghost: The Musical". Adam Hoyak, who appeared alongside Andrea McArdle in the recent "Hello Dolly", is Captain Walker.

The complete cast is:

Tommy....Garrison Carpenter
Five Year Old Tommy...Aiden Fox
Ten Year Old Tommy...(double cast) Josh Atkinson, Ben Pedersen
Captain Walker....Adam Hoyak
Mrs. Walker....Emily Kinka
Uncle Ernie....Roger Ricker
Acid Queen.... (double cast) Amber Duncan/ Madison Yannatelli 
The Lover/ Mr. Simpson...Corey Katona
Sally Simpson..... (double cast) Caroline Adams/ Gigi Furlan      
Mrs. Simpson.....Gigi Furlan
Cousin Kevin.....Owen Mannion
Kevin's Mom......(double cast) Amber Duncan/ Madison Yannatelli
Minister...............Denzel Thomas
Minister's Wife....Mariah Seltzer
Nurse........Jillian Donohue
The Judge...Ted Harris
Ensemble (portrays Lads, Lasses, Specialists, Nurses, Cops, etc): Everyone listed above plus Tim Haney, Hanna Murphy, Sean O' Neill, Terry Stein, and Evan Vandenbrul.

Tommy....Adam Hoyak
Captain Walker...Denzel Thomas
Mrs. Walker...Amber Duncan
Uncle Ernie/ Minister/ Judge....Tim Haney
Cousin Kevin/ The Lover/ Mr. Simpson...Evan Vandenbrul
Mrs. Simpson...Madison Yannatelli
Five Year Old and Ten Year Old Tommy...Sean O' Neill

Jesse Cline directs, with music direction by Christopher Ertelt. 

For tickets ($12-15) call 610-891-0100 or visit


Friday, June 12, 2015


 Fundraising for ALS definitely has a cool factor, as in ice cubes. Last summer the viral Bucket Challenge raised incredible awareness and funds for ALS, a degenerative neurological disease that leads to progressive weakness. This summer in suburban Philadelphia, ALS Hope Foundation is channeling cool with capital letters, as in swinging sounds backed by a big band. Join them on Thursday, July 23 at the Media Theatre for Swingin’ Concert For Hope

Philadelphia favorite Jeff Coon headlines 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 Philly 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 Rat Pack is the inspiration for the Summer Club show,” wrote critic Neal Zoren as he reviewed their Cape May performance last summer. “Coon and Prisco, frequent co-stars and close friends offstage, have their in jokes about drinking. Prisco goes into a Dean Martin voice to deliver some patter while Coon calls his co-star “Francis” and begins and punctuates moments with Ed McMahon’s patented “Hey-ohhh.”       

Zoren continues in his blog, Neals Paper, “where the Rat Pack model has better effect is in the mood and tone of the Summer Club show. Everything is bright and precise. Songs are given lively, snappy presentations. The vocals are superb, and each singer exudes an individual and likeable personality. These guys know what they’re doing, and they make every moment pay. I did not see a false or cloying note during more than two hours of confident showmanship.”

The July 23 concert at the Media Theatre will be their only performance outside the Jersey shore. And the fun-raising benefits a cause that sadly, can strike anyone and occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries. The cause of ALS remains unknown but progress has been made recently in identifying damaged genes.  

“Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease,” explains Jacquellyne Hengst, Director of Development for ALS Hope Foundation, “is a neurodegenerative disease that affects a person's ability to eat, walk, speak and breathe. Our foundation, headquartered in Center City, is devoted to making a difference in the lives of individuals living with ALS and their families through education, care and research. We work directly with Drexel's Neuromuscular Research Laboratory and together, we are committed to finding a cure for ALS and keeping hope on the horizon."

On Thursday, July 23, the lively Swingin’ Concert For Hope will begin at 7:30 pm at 104 E. State Street in downtown Media. Tickets are tiered at $150 for Premium Orchestra, $100 for Orchestra and $80 for Standard seating, $50 for Media Theatre Subscribers. Tickets may be bought online at or by calling the box office at 610-891-0100. (Subscribers call the box office to receive $50 tickets) 

Two Sky Boxes will be made available in the beautiful balcony section of the 1927-era Media Theatre. A $10,000 corporate sponsorship will allow 20 guests to be seated in VIP luxury with a personal bartender. Likewise, $150 ticket holders will be treated to a pre-show reception and silent auction. For sponsorships or to make a donation, contact Jacquellyne at ALS Hope Foundation at 215-568-2426.

About Jeff Coon
This Jersey boy graduated from Lower Cape May Regional High School and attended the Universityof Pennsylvania. During the summer months, he would return home to Cape May to work at Carney’s, Restaurant Maureen (now M’Ocean), Summers and EsTaTi (now Cabanas). Multi-talented Coon graduated from Penn in 1993 with a Theatre Arts degree and has been a professional actor and singer ever since. Called by Philadelphia Weekly “one of Philadelphia’s most talented and vocally gifted musical performers,” Coon has appeared in over 100 professional productions, and been nominated for 10 Barrymore Awards (Philadelphia’s theatre awards), winning once. He appears frequently at Walnut Street Theatre and Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia, and has performed nationally with Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, The Prince Music Theatre, Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, among others. His many notable roles include Gomez (The Addams Family), Jean Valjean (Les Misérables), Harold Hill (The Music Man), Che (Evita) and Gaston (Beauty and the Beast).

Monday, June 8, 2015


The Media Theatre's Broadway Series starts up again in September, but until then several professional actors who have appeared on its stage will headline the classic rock and roll musical "The Who's Tommy" in July and August.

Pete Townshend's Tony winning musical about the deaf, blind, and mute boy who becomes a famous Pinball Wizard will not only highlight a dozen talented teen performers, it will put the spotlight on several of the area's professional actors who will bring their years of experience to the stage.
Garrison Carpenter, who will play the role of Tommy
Garrison Carpenter, recently seen in The Media Theatre's popular "Ghost: The Musical", will add his pop tenor to the role of Tommy. Carpenter recieved his masters degree in opera performance from Florida State University. Recent roles include Tony in West Side Story and Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.  
Adam Hoyak is Captain Walker in July and August
Adam Hoyak, who worked alongside Andrea McArdle in the critically acclaimed "Hello Dolly", will play the role of Captain Walker. A Georgia native, Adam has worked regionally with The Eagle Theatre, 11th Hour Theatre Company, and  Bristol Riverside Theatre, among others. Recent credits: New Rochelle Ensemble in Ragtime (Bristol Riverside)  Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can and Gabe in  Next to Normal (The Eagle Theatre), Eddie Birdlace in Dogfight and Matthew in Altar Boyz (11th Hour), and Terpsicore in Xanadu (Mazeppa). He holds a BFA from the University of the Arts.  

"These special guest actors will not only add a dimension of professionalism to the production, they will set quite an example for the young aspiring actors in the show," said Artistic Director Jesse Cline. "It's entertainment for the audience as well as a unique educational opportunity for the youth cast who truly have a passion for music theatre."

Roger Ricker, a Media Theatre veteran who has appeared in over 85 productions including "Annie", "Jesus Christ Superstar", and "Hairspray" will portray Uncle Ernie. He is currently the evil Jafar in "Aladdin Jr.".

The Ensemble will feature adult performers Tim Haney, Terry Stein, and Denzel Thomas, all who are also appearing in "Aladdin Jr." this summer.

The youth cast will be announced June 15, made up of ages 11 to 18. They will portray all other roles in "The Who's Tommy", which will have a live orchestra conducted by resident music director Christopher Ertelt.

For tickets to "The Who's Tommy", which runs Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm July 10 to August 9, call 610-891-0100. Tickets will be available online soon. Be sure to call for the best seats available.