Monday, November 30, 2015


It's time for the holidays which means "Jack Frost Saves Christmas" is on stage at The Media Theatre. This one hour upbeat and heartfelt show for youth of all ages is all about the boy who can't seem to do anything right because everything he touches turns to ice! Soon, however, friendship and the art of giving get everyone in on the act for a wonderful holiday.
Media Theatre New School student Michael Wells as Jack Frost
"Jack Frost Saves Christmas" was Matt and Tina Jo Wallace with music by Scott Bradley, a previous resident music director for The Media Theatre. Songs include "Countdown to Christmas", "Frost", and "Gifts Are For Giving".

The production features a cast of the theatre's professionally trained acting, dance, and New School students along with three guest adult actors: Roger Ricker as Mr. Holly, the town's eccentric theatre director; Tim Haney as Polar Bear; and Henry O' Neill as Santa Claus. Three New School students are featured: Michael Wells portrays Jack Frost with Hannah Murphy as Elizabeth, who befriends him, and Gigi Furlan plays the role of Mom. 
Tim Haney as Polar Bear, Cassidy Else as Rabbit, Michael Wells as Jack Frost, and Ben Pedersen as Penguin
Music Direction is by Patrick Murphy. The colorful costumes are by Patricia Garrubbo and Carol Sorensen with assistance from Casey Feeley and Nicole Trotter. The show includes audience participation and an opportunity for children to be on stage during the "Rompin' Reindeer" dance.
Roger Ricker as Mr. Holly with Wells as Jack Frost

The show plays Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at Noon now through January 1. On Saturday December 5, 12, and 19 children attending the show will be able to meet Santa Claus upstairs in the theatre's Crystal Room starting at 10:30am. Photos may be taken with Santa Claus and a few of the actors from the show on each of the three Saturdays.
Hanna Murphy as Elizabeth and Gigi Furlan as Mom notice "Frost" on the windowpane

There is one special Tuesday evening show at 7pm December 8. 
The "Jack Frost" Chistmastown Citizens cast
To purchase tickets call 610-891-0100 or visit It's just $12 for children and $15 for adults to enjoy this special holiday themed treat.
Carter Weiss as Raccoon with the other animals and Jack 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


After winning a total of 36 Broadway World Awards the past three years combined, including Best Theatre Company of Philadelphia three years in a row, The Media Theatre received a total of 44 nominations for "Best of Philadelphia Theatre 2015".  The nominations include Best Musical, Best Play, and two nominations in the category of Best Director for Jesse Cline, the theatre's artistic director. 

The voting is open to the theatre community locally, nationally, and internationally as well as to the general public. To vote, visit Voting takes place through Dec. 31 with winners announced in January by Broadway World.

Nominations have been announced worldwide by the esteemed online theatrical media outlet Broadway World, which gives an up-to-date daily journal of the latest theatrical productions, happenings, and events from Broadway to London's West End. 

The Media Theatre is nominated alongside other professional theatres in the Philadelphia region including The Walnut Street Theatre.

In an ironic twist, as Media is known for producing musicals, its critically acclaimed production of the classic play "The Miracle Worker" this past February received the most nominations for the company with a total of 11.

Another critically acclaimed production at Media, "Les Miserables", received 9 nominations as did the Andrea McArdle starring vehicle "Hello Dolly". The recent "Gypsy" was awarded 8 nominations, and the theatre's regional professional premiere of "Ghost: The Musical" was given 4.

Three special events were nominated in the appropriate Event category. The category honors those one-night or 'off season' shows or concerts outside of a theatre's regular season. Media received nominations for the "Summer Club ALS Benefit", "The Who's Tommy", and the annual "Roger Ricker & Friends Concert".

Here are the nominations received by The Media Theatre:

Best Musical: "Gypsy", "Hello Dolly", "Les Miserables"

Best Play: "The Miracle Worker"

Best Director of a Musical: Jesse Cline, "Les Miserables"; Dann Dunn, "Hello Dolly"

Best Director of a Play: Jesse Cline, "The Miracle Worker"

Best Actor in A Musical: Kelly Briggs as Herbie in "Gypsy"; Patrick Ludt as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables"; John Smitherman as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables" (Both played the role); Zack Krajnyack as Sam in "Ghost"

Best Actor in A Play: Andrew Criss as Captain Keller in "The Miracle Worker"

Best Actress in A Musical: Krissy Fraelich as Mama Rose in "Gypsy"; Anna Giordano as Molly in "Ghost"; Andrea McArdle as Dolly in "Hello Dolly"

Best Actress in A Play: Jennie Eisenhower as Annie Sullivan in  "The Miracle Worker"; Lexi Gwynn as Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker" 

Supporting Actor in A Musical: Kelly Briggs as Thenardier in "Les Miserables"; Kelly Briggs as Horace in "Hello Dolly"; JP Dunphy as Subway Ghost in "Ghost"; Patrick Ludt as Cornelius in "Hello Dolly"; Cameron Scott Slusser as Barnaby in "Hello Dolly; Sean Thompson as Enjolras in "Les Miserables"

Supporting Actress in A Musical: Anna Giordano as Louise in "Gypsy"

Supporting Actor in A Play: Alex Kryger as James in "The Miracle Worker"; Nicholas Saverine as Doctor in "The Miracle Worker"

Supporting Actress in A Play: Jennie Eisenhower as Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker" (nominated in both lead and supporting category for this role); Hillary Parker as Mrs. Keller in "The Miracle Worker" 

Best Ensemble cast of A Musical: "Gypsy", "Hello Dolly", "Les Miserables"

Best Ensemble cast of A Play: "The Miracle Worker"

Best Choreography: Dann Dunn, "Gypsy"; Dann Dunn, "Hello Dolly" 

Best Music Direction: Christopher Ertelt, "Les Miserables"

Best Costumes: "Les Miserables"; Katie Yamaguchi, "Gypsy"; Katie Yamaguchi, "Hello Dolly"

Best Lighting Design: Troy Martin O' Shia, "Gypsy"

Best Sound Design: Carl Park, "Ghost: The Musical" 

Best Set Design: Matthew Miller, "The Miracle Worker"

Best Special Event: "Jeff Coon's Summer Club ALS Benefit", "Roger Ricker & Friends Concert", "The Who's Tommy".

To vote for The Media Theatre, visit the Broadway World Awards here: VOTE NOW!

Friday, November 20, 2015


The Media Theatre has the region's professional premiere of the 10-time Tony winning "Billy Elliot: The Musical" now through January 3. Elton John's score enhances the story based on the film of the young boy in a Welsh mining town who wants to do ballet rather than boxing. It all takes place during a miner's strike in the '80's, so Billy's enthusiasm to dance is not quite getting through to his family or the town although a dance instructor sees the gift within.

A truly inspirational story for the holidays, "Billy Elliot" features two boys in the title role. After an extensive search, the two boys who were chosen were both from the Philadelphia region. Gunar Daniels of West Chester and Brandon Ranalli of Media, both 13 years old, share the role.

Here are first look photos from the production, taken by Laura Briglia Photography.
For tickets, call 610-891-0100 or visit

Brandon Ranalli as Billy Elliot
Gunar Daniels as Billy Elliot
Susan Wefel as Grandma
Kelly Briggs as George with the Boys
Anne Connors as Mrs. Wilkinson with the Ballet Girls


"Billy Elliot: The Musical", now through January 3 at The Media Theatre, is all about the boy who wants to do ballet rather than boxing during the midst of a miner's strike. The two boys in the production who share the role of Billy are both adept in the craft of ballet. They are Gunar Daniels, 13, of West Chester, and Brandon Ranalli, 13, of Media.

But any great production of "Billy Elliot" also needs a fine troupe of Ballet Girls. Without the girls, Billy's interest and talent for ballet would not be noticed.

Here's a Who's Who of The Ballet Girls in The Media Theatre's production:

Alli Buchanan
Allie Buchanan and Anna Rosenthal share the role of Debbie, Mrs. Wilkinson's daughter who has a crush on Billy. Mrs. Wilkinson is the ballet teacher that notices Billy's extreme gift for dance. 

Allie Buchanan is 13 and makes her Media Theatre debut with this production. She's an  eighth grader at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts. Some of her credits include Jojo in Seussical, Young Fiona/Baby Bear in Shrek, Gretl in The Sound of Music, and Young Bebe in A Chorus Line.

Anna Rosenthal
Anna Rosenthal is soon to be 13 and was last seen at The Media Theatre in Miracle Worker. She's appeared in several concerts at Media and is a New School student. Favorite roles: Mary Poppins (Jane Banks), Annie (Annie), Sound of Music (Brigitta). Anna has also appeared off-Broadway in Timmy the Great

Larissa Culbertson, 13, is a voice student of Badiene Magaziner's Vocal Studio and Chloe' Moore and was a finalist in Media Theatre's Vocalist Jr. singing competition in summer of 2015. She is a member of The Media Theatre's Teen Acting Class.

Bridget Henry
Bridget Henry has been involved at The Media Theatre for over two years and is nine years old. A member of its New School conservatory-style music theatre education program, she's been seen in the recent "Gypsy" and several children's series productions.

Jolie Jaffe
Jolie Jaffe, 11, has many Media Theatre credits including Cosette in last holiday season's hugely popular and critically acclaimed Les Miserables. She was also seen at Media as Annie in Magic Tree House, Gretel in The Sound of Music, and several other Broadway Series and Children's Series productions. She's a student at Agnes Irwin, and has studied with The Media Theatre since she was six years old. 

Brooke McCarthy
Brooke McCarthy is age 12  and this is her debut at the Media Theater. She studies ballet at the Academy of International Ballet, and has danced competitively with Broadway Bound Dance Academy.

Kennedy Ndiaye
Kennedy Ndiaye, 12, was previously at Media Theatre in Miracle Worker (Martha) and Annie Jr. (Tessie).  She's a sixth grader at Agnes Irwin School and has studied here. 

Kristiana Ranalli, 11, was seen at Media Theatre in Dr. Dolittle and 101 Dalmatians. Also Annie (Hedgerow) and Penncrest High School’s Bits of Hits. Training: Broadway Bound Dance Academy.

Violet Wiley
Violet Wiley, 10, has been in several children's shows at Media including "Aladdin Jr" and "Tale of Beauty and the Beast". She studies acting with The Media Theatre and loves to sing and read. This is her first Broadway Series production.

So, along with the boys playing Billy Elliot and the others in the cast, there is plenty of talent within the group of Ballet Girls! To see "Billy Elliot: The Musical" at The Media Theatre, call 610-891-0100 or visit It's on now through Jan. 3 and is a Philadelphia regional professional premiere.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Billy Elliot understands the power of dance. Now, you will be able to feel some of what he is feeling as The Media Theatre presents the Billy Elliot Dance Master Class on Sunday November 29 at Noon. 

The 90 minute class will take place at The Media Theatre's School and Dance Studio located at 28 West State Street in Media. Registration is $25 per student for children, teens, and even adults who wish to take place and allow their inner dancer to take over for an afternoon.
Rachel Beiswenger, who will lead the Billy Elliot Dance Master Class on Sunday Nov. 29

Rachel Beiswenger, who is in "Billy Elliot: The Musical" at The Media Theatre, is also the Dance Captain for the production and will be instructing the class. She previously appeared on The Media Theatre stage in "The Addams Family" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and is a former dance instructor at the Studio.

Beiswenger will teach the dance combinations performed on stage by the "Billy Elliot" cast, such as those done by the Ballet Girls and the entire cast during the show's finale.

To register, call 610-891-0100 or visit

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Sleigh bells ring! Are you listenin'? In the lane snow is glistenin'--well, maybe. While the weather is unpredictable, one thing is certain-Sunday night December 13 a great time will be had by all when The Media Theatre presents the holiday themed concert "Winter Wonderland" at 7pm.

Roger Ricker will sing and emcee, with special guests from the cast of "Billy Elliot: The Musical", The State Street Miracles, and students of The Media Theatre's New School and classes entertaining with song and dance in this special two act concert performance. Tickets are $15 each with all proceeds benefiting The Media Theatre.

Brandon Ranalli, who plays the title role in "Billy Elliot", will perform a specially choreographed dance for the event. Several members of the New School will sing as an a cappella vocal group, and The State Street Miracles will do two classic holiday songs. The Miracles are the theatre's vocal performance troupe of adults with development disabilities who travel around the county and the state as ambassadors for the theatre.

A group of younger students will gather on stage to sing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" while other songs featured in the concert as solos, duets, or groups include "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year", "Let It Snow", "Jingle Bell Rock", and "We Need A Little Christmas". 

There's plenty of humor as well with performances of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer", "Hippopotamus For Christmas" and "Mr. Grinch".

It's a beautiful sight! You'll all be happy on the night of Sunday December 13 at the "Winter Wonderland" concert at The Media Theatre. Get tickets at for just $15 each or call 610-891-0100.