Monday, August 31, 2015


Marsha Peltz, The Media Theatre’s Director of Development who also assists with publicity for the professional music theatre company, may be a new staff member at the theatre but she is certainly not new to the region. She returns to her entertainment ‘roots’ after a few years away when she promoted the former Valley Forge Music Fair and several Atlantic City casino hotels.

Philadelphia-based Peltz is an award-winning publicist who's promoted everything from Amoco Oil to Zany Brainy. The Philadelphia Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) awarded Marsha its 2003 Pepperpot for Best Independent Practitioner -- one of several PR trophies she's proudly taken home over the years.
Marsha Peltz

Marsha started her career as a newspaper reporter. In the 1980s she was Atlantic City's youngest casino PR director, promoting everything from Mickey Mantle to middle-of-the-night jackpot winners. She started producing TV specials at 6ABC, while handling over 100 headliners annually as Valley Forge Music Fair's press agent. In the 1990s, she added a personal life and moved to the Philadelphia suburbs where she juggled babies and Fortune 500 clients for the big ad agencies.

For the next eighteen years she created the almost-perfect balance of family life, volunteering and lively clients at the virtual agency KidStuff Public Relations -- thanks to technology. She uses what she refers to as her "momsense" to nurture clients, pitch reporters and have fun with whatever the topic of the day might be.

The topic of the day for Marsha Peltz will now be Development at The Media Theatre, the Philadelphia region’s award-winning professional music theatre company which produces its shows from the ‘ground up’, meaning they are not tours that travel from place to place but are built, directed, and designed specifically for The Media Theatre stage.

Marsha believes The Media Theatre is a vital ingredient to not only Delaware County but to the surrounding region. “The theatre has so many great things,” she said. “Top notch Broadway musicals on State Street in a beautiful suburb without the pricing or pressure of heading to the city, for one. Media has so many wonderful restaurants for a pre-show lunch or dinner. It’s within an hour’s drive from just about everywhere in the Greater Philadelphia region including Chester County, Cherry Hill, even Wilmington—which is a mere 15 minutes from the theatre. The Mainline is only a half hour away, and parking here is a bargain.”

“Then there are the awards The Media Theatre has received,” she continued. “These include Broadway World’s Best Theatre Company in Philadelphia the past three years. That’s an incredible feat and you know at times it seems we are the region’s best kept secret. But once you see our shows, all supervised or directed by Artistic Director Jesse Cline, you are hooked! You’ve got options to choose from in the area, but why not come and see why we have won?”

She knows from whence she speaks, as she has been a Media Theatre patron. “Long before I became involved here I was a patron with my husband and two boys. We enjoyed the children's shows as a great way to introduce our sons to the joy of live theatre. As they grew older we attended shows as a special event.”

As the Director of Development, Marsha Peltz’ focus is now on how individuals and organizations are able to assist the non-profit theatre company. “People may be surprised to learn that the price of their ticket does not cover all of the expenses of the production. Things like costumes, stage sets, theatre payroll and even the electric bill need to be paid. As a non-profit, it is our passion to bring joy through the arts. But we must ask for donations to stay fresh and offer the best "product." Individuals and may make donations through our website or attend many of our fundraisers. Corporations can team with the theatre to create a program that can be beneficial to both of us. I would love to hear from potential donors at”

Call 610-891-0100 for more information. “Gypsy” featuring Krissy Fraelich as Mama Rose, opens the theatre’s 2015-16 season September 23 to November 1.

 Pictured: Marsha Peltz

Sunday, August 30, 2015


The Media Theatre's New School is entering its fifth year during the 2015-16 Season.

A prestigious 'by invitation or audition only' theatre study program for two age groups, The New School focuses on the truth of performance: Who is the actor and how does the actor approach the scene, monologue, or song? 

Based within the Sanford Meisner technique, which is defined with the statement "Acting is living as truthfully as one can under an imaginary circumstance", The New School focuses on two aspects of music theatre (Acting and Vocal Music) for the younger age group on Mondays during the 4:30-6:30pm class beginning September 28. 
Media Theatre's Artistic Director Jesse Cline, who instructs and leads The New School, a conservatory-style approach to theatre education which is completely separate from the theatre's Acting Classes. 

The Teens (ages 12 and up) will not have a class structured in the same way. They will, instead, form a Youth Ensemble Performance Troupe which will meet every Thursday from 4:30-6:30pm starting October 1.

The New School Teens will differ from any other class at The Media Theatre in the following ways:

1) They will focus on one act plays and musicals, to be performed at the theatre and also as a traveling acting company in the region at special events, schools, or corporate gatherings. 

2) Jesse Cline, Artistic Director for The Media Theatre, will instruct and direct the New School Teens.This is the only class Cline teaches at The Media Theatre, aside from private lessons. It is exclusive.

3) Chris Ertelt, resident music director for the theatre, will offer his knowledge regarding the songs and/ or scores they will work on. He will also accompany each participant during rehearsal and performance.

4) The New School Teens will meet on stage at The Media Theatre. This gives the participants a true theatrical atmosphere upon which to build a solid base of education and rehearsal. 

5) Special guest directors and actors will meet with The New School Teens on occasion in exclusive Master Classes. Guests may include but are not limited to Barrymore Award winning actress Jennie Eisenhower, "Billy Elliot" director Geoffrey Goldberg, and professional actors from our Broadway Series. Only New School Teens will be offered these Master Classes as part of their training.

6) The New School Teens will be invited to tech and/ or dress rehearsals for the Broadway Series. They will gain firsthand knowledge and insight to a director's vision as it is being created and will have opportunities to chat with the director, designers, and actors. No other class at The Media Theatre will be given this opportunity.

7) The New School Teens, on a date appropriate for The Media Theatre staff, Artistic Director Jesse Cline, and parents of the group, will travel to NYC by train on a weekend morning to see a Broadway show. (This will be an extra cost for show ticket, lunch, etc) They will discuss the show with Cline and possibly other special guests who travel with the Teens.

We look forward to a very special 2015-16 New School season. 

There is still space available! Email Roger at to set up an audition or interview with Jesse Cline. (Previous New School students may not have to audition or interview) 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


The Media Theatre's 2015-16 Children's Series begins the weekend of September 26 with "Tale of Beauty and The Beast". The show plays through November 1.

This new musical version of the classic story blends humor with plenty of heart as we learn that greed and selfishness create misfortune, while love conquers all. 

With a cast of Media Theatre students and professional adult actors, the one hour show is the perfect treat for ages 4 and up. Showtimes are Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at Noon.

Jacob Mergott, who wowed audiences this past summer in "The Vocalist" contest with his powerful pop-tenor vocals, will play the role of The Prince/ The Beast. He's from Wallingford and is 16 years old. This will be his debut in a production at The Media Theatre.

Molly Sorensen will play the role of The Beauty. She's 15 and is from Malvern. She had audiences applauding with enthusiasm this past winter when she played the title role in "Snow White" and is the 2014 "Vocalist Junior" winner.

Media Theatre veteran actor Roger Ricker will add humor and mystery to the show as The Old Woman who casts a spell, while Tim Haney will act his age as a singing Grandfather Clock. 

The complete cast is:






CAPTAIN.........................HENRY O' NEILL



For tickets to "Tale of Beauty and The Beast" call 610-891-0100 or visit There are group rates available and also two Friday morning shows for school groups on October 2 and 23. 

The Prince/ The Beast...Michael Wells
The Beauty......................Veronica Garrubbo
Madame Rondeau..........Emily Smith
Marguerite........................Gigi Furlan
Isabel.................................Gigi Furlan
The Captain......................Terry Stein
Greedo/ Graspo...............Terry Stein
The Clock.........................Henry O' Neill
Old Woman......................Jillian Donohue
Looking Glass.................Alexandra Shoumer
Paintings..........................Brynn Washbourne
Moving Chair...................Will Draper
Maid and Housekeeper...Madison Vassilakopoulos

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Acting classes start up again the weekend of September 12 at The Media Theatre. The Fall semester presents a variety of classes for children, teens, and adults.  

The classes offer professional training for those just beginning or wishing to further their education. Instruction is based on The Meisner Technique which follows the basic structure that ‘Acting is living as truthfully as one can under an imaginary circumstance.’ 

Within this curriculum there is no ‘character’ or pretense and actors are placed in an environment which allows them to be who they are, building self-awareness and self-esteem within their own unique personality. The idea of ‘copying’ someone else’s performance is pushed aside as actors create from within themselves to fulfill the required role they may be asked to portray.

The Media Theatre will continue to offer three levels separate levels for children. The popular Children’s Class, for ages 6 and up, will meet on Saturday mornings at 9am beginning September 12 and continuing for ten weeks. This one-hour weekly course is primarily for ages 6 to 9 who are just starting out or who have less stage experience than others in their age group. It features exercises for building basic speaking skills on stage (volume, diction), learning stage directions, and developing self-esteem. Fun improvisational style exercises are also utilized to build the concept that acting requires team work on occasion.
Students of The Media Theatre enjoy class.
Pictured are Jaydin Knight, Jolie Jaffe,
Holden Dubach, Carter Weiss, Katheryn Cooper, and Sean O' Neill.
Sophia Leone and Mary Kate Vink photo bomb in the back. 
Level Two for Children will meet Tuesdays at 4:30 beginning September 15. This 10-week one-hour course is appropriate for children ages 8 to 11, or for those who have some onstage experience. The focus is primarily on  group or scene work to strengthen acting skills. Theatre exercises are also implemented to enhance stage focus and discipline. 

Younger children, aged 4, 5, and 6 get into the act with the Introduction to Theatre Class on Tuesdays at 3:30 beginning September 15. The one hour weekly course is specifically designed for the youngest age group that has an interest in performing. The young children will learn by ‘Acting Out’ by 'talking to' a stuffed animal in which the topic of real conversation is approached. They may also be asked to act as if they are ‘walking in the rain or snow’ or to ‘show us how you deal with a pet dog or cat’. The class will instill within the students that being who they are is important and following instructions will be a major focus. Imagination is a major ingredient of the Introduction to Theatre Class.

The Teen Acting Class will continue on Sundays at 6pm starting September 13. This eight-week 90-minute class is ideal for ages 12 and up. Each student is given one-on-one instruction within a group environment.  Focus is on stage skills, following direction, scripted scene work with partners, and monologues. Improvisational Scene Work is also explored, and becomes a major part of the focus as the weeks progress, enhancing the ability to 'react quickly as you would without over-analyzing'.

The Adult Class will meet Sundays at 7:30. This eight-week 90-minute class is designed for the adult (18 and up) who wishes to explore acting for the first time or who wants to strengthen their stage skills. Scene study with partners and monologues are the focus. The class also enhances those whose careers involve any type of public speaking.

For those who have been students in the classes, The Media Theatre reminds participants that each semester, while based on similar structure, is completely different as classes are built to reflect the personalities of each student within the group setting. Therefore, for example, if a child repeats the Saturday morning class or any of the classes offered, it is never exactly the same. Students are also dealt with and instructed within their own personal level. 

Jesse Cline, the Artistic Director for The Media Theatre, will continue to instruct and oversee the next semester of The New School, The Media Theatre's conservatory-style music theatre.

There are changes to The New School for the 2015-16 Season, including focusing purely on Acting and Vocal Music for the younger age group (meeting Mondays starting Sept. 28 from 4:30-6:30). The teens of The New School will meet Thursdays during the same two hour time slot focusing on one-act plays or musicals which they will perform at the theatre and locally as a traveling youth ensemble. To join the New School, which is completely separate from the aforementioned weekly acting classes, please email or call for an interview and/ or audition. 

The Children's, Teen, and Adult Acting Classes require no audition or interview. Roger Ricker, a stage veteran of over 85 productions and concerts at The Media Theatre, instructs the Children and Teen Classes. Tim Haney, who has been with the theatre since 1997, instructs the Adult Class.

The Media Theatre also has several dance classes to choose from, which are ongoing. Purchase a Dance Card for $120 (good for 10 classes) and choose from Tap 1, Tap 2, Ballet for Youth, Adult Ballet Class, Contemporary Indian Dance, and Creative Movement for pre-school. Please call for information.

To register for the Acting Classes, please call 610-891-0100 or visit Email with specific questions or request information.

Friday, August 21, 2015


The independent short film festival known as the Manhattan Short Film Festival returns to The Media Theatre for the fourth consecutive year Monday and Tuesday September 28 and 29 at 7pm. The ten films chosen to be in the Festival not only entertain a global audience, but also allow the audience around the world to choose the winner. Audiences at The Media Theatre actually cast votes that count towards the eventual winning film.

The films will be screened around the world from September 25 to October 4, 2015, when over 100,000 film lovers in over 250 cities across six continents gather in Cinemas, Museums and Universities for one view and vote on the Finalists' Films in the 18th Annual MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival. Audiences at each film site are given a voting card upon entry and asked to vote for the film they believe should win. Votes are sent, by theatre management, to Manhattan Short headquarters and the winner is announced shortly after the worldwide festival closes.
A scene from the film "Shok", the entry from the Kosovo and the UK about two boys fighting for survival during the Kosovo war. 
Manhattan Short is not a touring Festival; rather, it is an instantaneous celebration that occurs simultaneously across the globe, bringing great films to great venues and allowing the audiences to select their favorites. The Film Festival experience truly is about getting great works in front of as many eyes as possible and Manhattan Short offers the ultimate platform -- one that sees its films screened in Sydney, Mumbai, Moscow, Kathmandu, Vienna, Cape Town to cinemas in all fifty states of the United States and beyond. The Media Theatre represents one section of that audience each year.

Tickets for the Festival at The Media Theatre September 28 and 29 are $10 each. Each of the ten films are shown on both nights, and the program is a bit over two hours long. It’s titled Manhattan Short because it started when Nicholas Mason, the creator of the annual event, mounted a screen to the side of a truck in Manhattan in 1998.  

Call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100 for information or visit The Manhattan Short Film Festival is general seating. The concession stand and bar will be open for patrons. Doors open at 6:00pm with the Festival beginning at 7pm.

The 10 Finalists being shown this year are:

1     “Listen” (Finland/ Denmark) Copenhagen. A police station. A foreign woman, wearing a burqa, is there with her young son to file a complaint. Yet, it seems the translator is not willing to report what she is telling.

2    “Dad In Mum” (France) The middle of the night. Moans are heard behind the parents' door. Two young sisters are asking questions.

3   “Bear Story” (Chile) In this animated tale, a bear uses mechanical figures to relate the story of his oppressed life to one cub at a time.

4     “Forever Over” (Germany) A young couple devise a wish list to spice up their lives but its fulfillment leads to unforeseen consequences.

5     “Shok” (Kosovo/ UK) The friendship of two boys is tested to its limits as they battle for survival during the Kosovo war.

6     “Grounded” (France) An airline ticketing agent rises to the occasion when faced with an extraordinary situation posed by a pair of passengers.

7     “Sundown” (Turkey) A woman's tranquil day at the beach turns tumultuous when she is forced to confront a sudden, new reality concerning her mother.

8     “Patch” (Switzerland/ Germany) Tiles on a wall reveal the elephant in the room, among other things, in this fast-paced animation that plays with perspective and abstractions

9     “El Camino Solo” (USA) A modern businessman strands himself on a desert highway only to be saved by rescuers who are more in touch with humanity than he is.

10 “Bis Gleich” (Germany) Two senior citizens view Berlin city life from their respective windows on opposite sides of the street and develop an unusual bond.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


The Media Theatre, with its new School & Dance Studio located at 28 West State Street in Media, continues to introduce new courses for all ages. Three new dance classes will start in September.

Dorothy Brown, who currently teaches Tap and Ballet for youth with the theatre, will instruct two new classes: Adult Ballet, and Creative Dance for Children Ages 4 to 6.

The new Adult Ballet Class will meet on Wednesdays beginning September 23 at 7pm. For an hour each week, adults will meet who wish to refresh their skills or introduce themselves to the art of ballet. This class will emphasize fun, pressure-free learning while improving flexibility, increasing strength and stamina, and reducing stress. Proper placement and correct technique is emphasized while participating in the joy of movement.

Creative Dance For Ages 4 to 6 will begin Saturday September 19 at the Studio. The hour long class at 10am each week will introduce very young children to the art of dance as it explores movement, rhythm, and creative expression. Locomotor skills and coordination are developed in a fun learning environment using music, props, and stories.

Dorothy Brown will also host a School and Dance Studio Open House during Media’s upcoming Super Sunday on September 13. The doors to the Studio located at 28 West State Street will be open from 10am to 2pm.

Dr. Lya Patnaik, who will instruct Contemporary Indian Dance for ages 13 and up

The third new class, Contemporary Indian Dance, is taught by Dr. Lya Patnaik, who has two decades of experience performing on stage, as well as conducting lecture demonstrations and workshops in multiple countries. She has been featured extensively on Indian and Japanese television and has also taught Indian dance at the University of Lund, Sweden. She has performed at Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania and several other schools in the US. She has also trained in choreography with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company of New York. Dr Patnaik has also authored a handbook on Indian dance and had been conferred the prestigious national ‘Singarmani’ award for her contribution to Indian classical dance.

Contemporary Indian Dance, for ages 13 to adults, will meet on Sundays for an hour each week at 4:30 beginning September 20. Students will learn elements of Contemporary Indian dance that is a fusion of Bollywood style dancing with the classical, folk, and modern dance style. Bollywood dancing was made popular by films like Slumdog Millionaire and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and is often performed in Indian weddings and celebrations. Students will be enchanted by the lyrical grace as well as the exuberance of this modern interpretation of a classical dance form. Over the eight weekend classes, they’ll learn an exciting new language of expression that is rooted in the universal human experience. The grand finale will be an exhilarating group dance performance that will surely be a memorable experience for all.

To register for these or any of The Media Theatre’s dance classes, participants must purchase a Dance Card. Classes are $12 each per session and must be purchased in groups of 10. One Dance Card equals $120 and may be used for any of the three new classes starting in September, or the current Tap and Ballet Classes for youth which continue through the season. 

Each time the card is used it’s marked by the instructor. Dance Card holders may use the card at any time during the week for any class. After the Card is filled, simply purchase another one and continue to attend classes at your convenience.

For more information call 610-891-0100 or visit

Friday, August 14, 2015


Throughout the Greater Delaware Valley, Cityteam is providing hot meals, safe shelter, showers, and clean clothing to the local homeless population. Located in the heart of Chester, Pennsylvania Cityteam serves those in desperate need throughout the Delaware Valley. Dedicated and caring staff and volunteers reach out to those in need of a hot meal, a safe shelter, and decent clothing. They also offer a recovery program for those afflicted by drug and alcohol problems.
The organization held a Night of Hope fundraiser at Paul and Theresa Murtaugh's residence on Thursday August 13, which was attended by many Delaware County luminaries. The Media Theatre graciously accepted the invitation to provide entertainment for the evening's event. 
Professional actors Lauren Cupples and JP Dunphy, both frequently seen on The Media Theatre stage and members of Actors Equity Association, provided terrific vocals during the fundraiser, as did little 8 year old Ava Briglia, one of the 2015 Vocalist Junior finalists.
City Team Chester's Executive Director Kwinn Tucker with actress/ singer Lauren Cupples, a staff member, youth performer Ava Briglia, and actor/ entertainer JP Dunphy. 
Lauren Cupples and JP Dunphy prepare to entertain at the fundraiser

Ava Briglia brought the house down with her rendition of "Astonishing" from the musical Little Women. It was an astonishing night for Cityteam. 
Cityteam connects with low-income families that are in need of an emergency food box to help stretch their income at the end of the month. Mothers with at-risk young children stop by every Wednesday afternoon to receive diapers, formula, and other baby items. You can make a difference by volunteering, donating or financially supporting this special ministry to the poor and homeless.
During the fundraiser, just over $80,000 was raised for Cityteam, plus Cardinal O' Hara High School donated a scholarship and The Media Theatre donated 100 tickets for its upcoming children's shows so that Cityteam youth will be able to see a live musical theatre production. 
For information about Cityteam, located in Chester, call 610-872-6865 or visit to find out how to assist with volunteerism or donations. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


The legendary musical "Gypsy" plays on The Media Theatre stage September 23 through November 1, opening the award-winning music theatre company's 2015-16 Broadway Series season.

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" and "You'll Never Get Away From Me". Whatever her intentions, Mama Rose certainly leaves an impression as she pushes her daughters toward the pinnacle of stardom. 

Fraelich was seen in "The Addams Family" last season as Alice, giving a bravura performance which allowed her to showcase shimmering vocals. She'll do the same this fall in "Gypsy" belting out "Some People", "Everything's Coming Up Roses", and "Rose's Turn". She's appeared on Broadway in the original cast of "The Civil War" and in the 1st National Tour of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as the Narrator. Locally she's been seen at The Walnut Street Theater, The Arden, and The Eagle. She worked with Tony award winning composer Jason Robert Brown in "Songs For A New World" at Symphony Space in NYC. 

Kristine Fraelich will be joined on stage by Kelly Briggs as Herbie. Briggs was seen at Media in "Les Miserables", "The Miracle Worker", "Hello Dolly", and "Mame" (in the latter two shows he co-starred with Andrea McArdle). 

Anna Giordano, who recently received rave reviews in The Media Theatre's production of "Ghost: The Musical", returns to portray Louise. Dainty June is played by Taylor Elise Rector.

Their younger counterparts, Young Louise and Baby June, will be double cast. Cassidy Else and Amia Shavaun will share performances as Young Louise, while Media's own Ava Briglia and Bucks County's Portia Murphy take on the role of Baby June.

The Newsboys will also share performances. Six talented young students from The Media Theatre will each perform three or four times per week in groups of three. They are Josh Atkinson, Zachary Divito, Sean O' Neill, Ben Pedersen, Carter Weiss, and Tim Woodward. 

Of course, those boys grow up to be the Farmboys in Mama Rose's act. The older boys are Glenn Britton, Kyle Segarra, and JD Triolo (seen last year in "Addams Family" as Pugsley). The plum role of Tulsa is portrayed by Avery Sobczak

Those three amusing strippers are Jennie Eisenhower (Tessi), Hillary Parker (Mazeppa), and Karen Toto (Electra).

The character male ensemble is made up of Jim Conte (Pop/ Cigar/ Kringelein), JP Dunphy (Weber/ Stage Hand), Roger Ricker (Goldstone/ Pastey), and John Whitig (Jocko/ Santa). Megan Rucidlo is Agnes, with other Hollywood Blondes being Kimberly Maxson as well as two of Media Theatre's teen students-Katie Davis and Julia SeeleyElisa Fucich plays two roles: Cratchitt and Renee. 

Several members of The Media Theatre's New School make up the youth ensemble. 
Holden Dubach is the Clarinet Boy, with Sophie Leone and Hanna Murphy sharing the role of the Balloon Girl. Aiden Fox, Bridget Henry, and Alexsa McKeown share the stage in the Uncle Jocko scene.

"Gypsy" is directed by Jesse Cline, with music direction by Chris Ertelt. Dann Dunn is the choreographer. 

For tickets to "Gypsy" at The Media Theatre, which runs September 23 to November 1, call 610-891-0100 or visit Group rates are available. Performances are Wednesdays at 2pm, Thursdays at 2pm and 7:30pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2 and 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Premium seating is also available. 

The theatre is seeking a dog to play Chowsie, which should be a small dog, no more than seven pounds. Email Roger Ricker at if you think you may have the star dog!

Sunday, August 9, 2015


His final song was "Who I'd Be" from Broadway's Shrek: The Musical. It capped a winning five-week stage adventure for West Chester's 13 year old JD Triolo who won The Media Theatre's 2015 "Vocalist Junior" contest. Walking away with a $500 cash prize and a gift certificate for the theatre, JD beamed as he hugged the runner-up (Cassidy Else, 10, of Drexel Hill). 
2015 Vocalist Junior winner JD Triolo beams as he hugs the runner-up (Cassidy Else)
West Chester has a lot to be proud of with JD Triolo. He stuck to his Broadway repertoire throughout the five week competition showcasing his brand of stylized music theatre. With a poise and competence rarely seen for someone of his young age, he captured the audience and the judge's attention each time he performed. 

The rest of the top five were third place winner Veronica Garrubbo, 12, of Berwyn; fourth place tiny songstress Ava Briglia, 8, of Media; and singer/ songwriter Sarah Shoumer, 10, of Wayne who actually performed two of her own compositions during the Junior singing contest.

The sky is the limit for these young talented performers. The one constant judge throughout was Artistic Director Jesse Cline who spoke to the audience prior to the top five announcement. He reminded the parents and friends of the youthful performers and hopefuls that the entire five week process is a learning process and not to be discouraged if their favorite singer did not make it to the top five.

The evening started out on August 9 with 15 vocalists in act one which was narrowed down to five for act two. They were judged purely on each performance individually, as previous scores were wiped clean. The guest judges were two elementary educators (Kristin Arbutina and Dorothy Brown, who also instructs tap and ballet for the theatre); Broadway actor Nicholas Saverine; and Iron Workers Bank President John Whitig. Iron Workers is the corporate sponsor for the "Vocalist" and "Vocalist Junior" competitions.

The summer singing contest was created by Cline to highlight the importance of music education and theatre training. The "Junior" competition is now in its sixth year, while it's older counterpart--both in the age of the singers and the longevity of the event--just finished its tenth season.

For information about The Media Theatre's educational opportunities, classes, and upcoming shows, visit or call 610-891-0100.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


After all the songs were sung, the 2015 "Vocalist" winner was announced at The Media Theatre on Wednesday August 5. It was 23 year old Springfield resident Camille Mola who went home with the $1500 cash prize and an opportunity to appear on FOX-TV Channel 29's "Good Day Philadelphia" next week alongside the always cheerful Sue Serio. 

Serio adds her warm persona to the "Vocalist" contest each year as emcee, sharing the duties this year with her husband Bill Vargus. 
Pictured: John Whitig of Iron Workers Bank with emcee Sue Serio, "Vocalist" 2015 winner Camille Mola, Artistic Director Jesse Cline, and fellow emcee Bill Vargus. 
Camille Mola, who is employed at the Academy of Vocal Arts, attended Penn State and Cardinal O' Hara High School. She brought her game to the stage during the Finals. Both of her songs -"A Way Back To Then" and Whitney Houston's powerhouse ballad "I Have Nothing"- were done with such fierce power it seemed there was no stopping this tiny talented young lady. During each of the last five weeks, audience response to her vocal performances, which combined terrific acting skills with a super voice, was tremendous. Finally, when the votes were tabulated during the final round, she came out on top.

The entire top five, for the first time in recent memory (perhaps ever?) were all female vocalists. In second place was York's 19 year old Grace Atherholt; third place was Collegeville's 18 year old Francesca Venezia; fourth place belonged to Upper Chichester's Rhiannon Charney, 18; and fifth place went to Upper Darby gal Lauryn Morgan Thomas, 19. 

During the final week, the top 15 started out on common ground as all previous scores both by judges and the public were wiped clean. The votes started fresh as the Top 15 performed their hearts out. Following that, tabulations took place and the Top Five took the stage, also with a clean slate of points.

Jesse Cline, the Media Theatre's Artistic Director who is the one constant judge throughout, said to the audience, "This is the most talented group we have ever had. Any one of these young singers could win, and to those who do not let's hope they take away every positive moment from being involved that is possible."

Next up on Sunday night August 9 is the Finals for "Vocalist Junior" in which the elementary to junior high school age singers try to win the title and a $500 prize. Iron Workers Bank is the title sponsor for both summer contests.

For tickets or information call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100 or visit 

Monday, August 3, 2015


The Walker Family. Emily Kinka, Paul Walker, Ben Pedersen and Garrison Carpenter
If you have not seen THE WHO'S TOMMY at The Media Theatre, here's what you're missing.

The hit rock and roll Broadway musical is on stage one more weekend, Friday through Sunday August 7, 8, and 9. Shows Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 2pm; Saturday at 7pm; and Sunday at 3pm.

In Pete Townshend's classic score, young Tommy Walker becomes deaf, blind, and mute following a string of traumatic life changing happenings. He eventually becomes a Pinball Wizard and receives national acclaim. The production features professional actors Garrison Carpenter as Tommy and Adam Hoyak as Captain Walker with a cast of mostly teens. Other adults include Media Theatre's Roger Ricker as Uncle Ernie, Tim Haney as the Hawker, and Denzel Thomas is featured throughout. 

Jesse Cline directs, with Christopher Ertelt conducting a live band onstage.

Get Tickets! Call 610-891-0100 or visit

Captain Walker (Adam Hoyak) didn't come home. With Evan Vandenbrul
The Walkers. Emily Kinka, Aiden Fox, Adam Hoyak
Tommy (Ben Pedersen) Can You Hear Me? With Gigi Furlan, Amber Duncan, Jillian Donohue, Madison Yannatelli, and Caroline Adams
Tommy goes to the can
Uncle Ernie has had one too many
Garrison Carpenter and cast at Finale


The Media Theatre welcomes a new Dance Instructor, Dorothy Brown. She will teach Tap and Ballet Classes. The classes will be held at the theatre's School and Dance Studio, 28 West State Street in Media, which had a ribbon cutting by Andrea McArdle this past April. 

Dorothy Yarnall Brown is happy to return to her hometown in Delaware County after living and teaching in Massachusetts for the last several years. In Massachusetts, Dorothy was on the faculty of the Franklin School for the Performing Arts. While there, she taught Creative Dance and Rhythm and Movement for preschoolers, Pre-Ballet and Leveled Ballet, Adult Ballet, acting, musical theatre, and piano classes.

Dorothy also choreographed and staged musical numbers and prepared students for performances. In addition to teaching technique classes, Dorothy has taught dance classes for students with special needs.  Most recently Ms. Brown choreographed Anything Goes! and Fiddler on the Roof for Archmere Academy.

Ms. Brown’s formative dance training was with the Lori Ardis Ballet Company, and later Dorothy studied with Boston Ballet Company. Other training includes Master Classes in ballet with Melissa Hayden and Cheryl Maddeux Abbott, as well as tap study with Derek Wolshonak, Tim Millette, and Kelly Stamp. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Neumann University and is certified and licensed to teach in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.  

The Tap and Ballet schedule at The Media Theatre's School and Dance Studio is 
TAP 1….Mon & Fri 4-5pm; also Wed & Thu 5-6pm
TAP 2….Mon &  Fri 5-6pm; 
BALLET CLASS…Mon, Tues, & Fri 6-7:30pm (ends at 7:15 on Fridays); also Wed & Thu 6-7pm 

The classes are $12 each. To register you must sign up for at least 10 classes ($120 Dance Card) and then your dance card is marked each time you take a class. You choose the times during the week that are convenient for you until it's time to get a new card. To register, call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100 or visit

The Media Theatre will soon be offering a new Contemporary Indian Dance Class as well, for teens and adults, which will begin in September featuring Bollywood and Srishti dance.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


The Media Theatre's "Vocalist Junior" started four weeks ago on a pleasant Sunday night in July with 31 young singers putting their hearts into Broadway and pop tunes. From age 7 to age 13, each of them had unique qualities to share on stage in front of an adoring crowd.

Then, the final weekend in July, it dropped to 25 youth performers who rehearsed at 8am on a hot Saturday morning with Ben Kapilow, the accompanist. Each weekend during the competition, Kapilow gets up in plenty of time to head to the theatre on Saturday mornings to work with the elementary to junior high school age performers.

Now, the 2015 "Vocalist Junior" is down to the Top 15 who head into the Final Round of the annual summer singing contest which is sponsored by Iron Workers Bank.

THE 2015 TOP 15
The Top 15 Finalists are: Josh Atkinson, 10, Drexel Hill; Morgan Bitzberger, 13, Thornton; Ava Briglia, 8, Media; Ava Courtney, 10, Garnet Valley; Larissa Culbertson, 13, Wayne; Zachary Divito, 9, Aston; and Cassidy Else, 10, Drexel Hill.

Also Elaina Fitzgerald, 12, Wallingford; Veronica Garrubbo, 12, Berwyn; Sean Lock, 11, Malvern; Fiona Moser, 12, Havertown; Sarah Shoumer, 10, Wayne; JD Triolo, 12, West Chester; Allie Vaccaro, 10, Rose Valley; and Brynn Washbourne, 8, of Coatesville.

Due to the young age of the contestants, and the anxiety of the parents attached to each child, Jesse Cline spoke to the crowd prior to the announcement being made. Cline is the theatre's Artistic Director and the one constant judge throughout the competition. 

"Keep in mind, this is the reality of a contest," he said. "Eventually one person will be the winner. But there are no losers here. We started out doing this years ago as an educational experience for youth, which is what it still remains. Hopefully, those families who do not return to perform in the Finals will look at this as a positive learning experience and not a negative."

He continued, "If you didn't make it, try to discover why or what it is you are able to take away from this in order to perhaps choose the right material or to realize what it is you need to work on. Also understand it doesn't necessarily come down to just what the word 'talent' entails. It's about judges' opinions, which can be affected by many things each week when marking their ballots. Every one on this stage is talented."

Cline is correct. The Semi-Finals had one strong performer after another and it must have been a difficult choice for the judging panel. In the long run, however, decisions had to be made and after the ballots were counted the Top 15 was made public. Keep in mind, during the first three weeks of the contest all voting (judges' and public) was accumulated. During the Semi-Finals and Finals, however, each contestant starts out with zero points and no votes carry over from previous weeks. 

So who the winner will be remains to be seen. The Top 15 will give it their all Sunday night August 9 during "Vocalist Junior" at The Media Theatre. They each get to sing in Act One and then votes are tabulated. Act Two will feature the Top Five and eventually the 2015 "Junior" winner will be announced, receiving a cash prize of $500 and plenty of media attention.

For tickets, call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100 or visit One song could make the difference!