Wednesday, August 31, 2016

MEDIA THEATRE STUDENTS GAIN PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE IN 'BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY' MUSICAL

The borough of Media, just minutes from Center City Philadelphia, is fortunate to have a thriving professional regional music theatre company housed in its historic Media Theatre. Known as Media Music Theatre Company, the not-for-profit sees as one of its greatest achievements a focus on education.

Producing five major professional productions per season, The Media Theatre has become synonymous with Media Music Theatre Company. The productions often have opportunities for its students to perform alongside Actors Equity Association members, gaining insight and experience as they portray important roles within the show's structure. 
Gianni Palmarini, who plays Michael in "Bridges of Madison County" at Media Theatre
The 2016-17 season opener, "The Bridges of Madison County: The Musical", offers that experience for three Media Theatre students. Gianni Palmarini, a 16 year old from Aston, plays the role of Michael in the show, while Anna Rosenthal and Molly Sorensen share the role of Carolyn. Michael and Carolyn are the children of Francesca, the Italian woman who meets a National Geographic photographer and has a life-changing romance for a few days while her family is away.

Gianni Palmarini has his first professional role in the production. A proud product of The Media Theatre's New School, which is a conservatory-style music theatre education program focusing on acting and vocal music under the guidance of Artistic Director Jesse Cline, Palmarini has been in several of the theatre's summer teen musicals including "Hair" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" and is the 2012 "Delco Idol Junior" winner. He's been in several Media Theatre Children's Series productions as well, and recently studied vocal performance at Interlochen Center for the Arts. The knowledge and confidence he gained at Media allowed him to play the lead role of Evan in "13", Nathaniel in "The Civil War", and Laurie in "Little Women: The Musical" in community theatre productions. 
Anna Rosenthal, one of the young student actresses who plays the role of Carolyn


Philadelphia's Anna Rosenthal and Malvern's Molly Sorensen share the role of Carolyn. 

Rosenthal, 14, is in her second professional production at Media, after appearing in last season's holiday hit "Billy Elliot". She's appeared off-Broadway in "Timmy the Great" and was a featured vocalist this past June in Cline's "The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber" at Media. She's a New School student as well, and has had private lessons with Cline. She's been in productions of "Mary Poppins", "Annie", and "The Sound of Music" and won a Broadway World Award for Best Actress Under Age 25 for the Central PA region.
Molly Sorensen, who also plays the role of Carolyn
Sorensen, 15, is in her Broadway Series debut with "Bridges of Madison County", but she's been seen frequently on The Media Theatre stage taking part in the performance opportunities its students gain. She played Patrice in "13" and lead roles in the theatre's children's series productions of "Snow White" and "Beauty and the Beast". in 2014, she won the "Vocalist Junior" summer singing competition. She's also been seen in "Shrek Jr" and "Beauty and the Beast Jr" at Malvern Theatre Society.

"We are very happy to increase the validity of music theatre education," said Cline, who also directs "The Bridges of Madison County"at Media. "The classes are extremely helpful. The opportunities we provide each season for our students to perform alongside professional actors in major Tony winning Broadway productions such as "Bridges of Madison County" are an added bonus. Music theatre education is a major component of our mission."

Over the years, Cline has overseen a revised Theatre School which gained popularity and recognition with acting classes for children, teens, and adults. Camp Media Theatre just celebrated its sixteenth summer, seeing growth each year so much so that in 2016 the camp offered two complete summer musicals ("13" and "School of Rock") and had more campers within its day camp than ever before. The New School came into fruition in 2010, which is a conservatory-style music theatre education experience with weekly classes for two age groups September through April.

"Classes are the basis of the training," Cline explained. "Performing in productions adds so much to each student's capabilities. It's training taking place in front of a live audience at an award-winning music theatre company. We are very appreciative of the region's support."

To see "The Bridges of Madison County: The Musical" at The Media Theatre, which runs September 14 to October 23, or to find out more about classes being offered, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. The show, with a book by Marsha Norman, and a Tony winning score by Jason Robert Brown, is based on the best-selling novel. It's a sweeping romance about the roads we travel, and the bridges we dare to cross. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

MEDIA THEATRE'S 2016-17 CHILDREN'S SERIES SEASON BRINGS LITTLE RED, WINNIE, CINDERELLA, AND A TRIP TO WONDERLAND

The Media Theatre has a line-up of Children's Shows for 2016-17 that will please children ages 4 and up as well as their parents. Each show has important valuable lessons, student actors as well as adult actors, and songs which assist in telling the story. They're on Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at Noon for general audiences. Each are approximately one hour in length. 
The Children's Series opens on September 24 to November 6 with "The Real Story of Little Red Riding Hood". Based on the tale of the little girl who meets a hungry wolf, this comedic musical is told from the Wolf's point of view. The sympathetic beast is upset because he has been maligned for too many years due to the well-known children's parable. He's determined to defend his good intentions and he reveals Red Riding Hood's true nature, which is rarely shown to the outside world. With toe-tapping tunes, this funny story is ideal for pre-school through elementary ages, showing that there are always two sides to every story. It's cuddly, not scary, and funny instead of frightening. 

"Winnie-The-Pooh's Christmas Tail" entertains for the holidays November 12 through December 31. (Note there is no show on Christmas Day, Dec. 25). In the musical, Christopher Robin hears the story of a Christmas Eve very long ago--about last year--when Eeyore, everyone's favorite old gray donkey who lives by himself in the thistle corner of Hundred-Acre Wood, lost his tail. Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet get their friends together to search for his lost 'ending'. The delightful adventure has a theme of caring, sharing, and friendship.
"Cinderella" is on stage January 14 to February 19, 2017. This musical for children is a bit different than the Disney version of the story, in which a dog assists Cinderella to find happiness. He joins all of the other characters audiences have come to know such as the stepsisters, stepmother, Fairy Godmother, and Prince Charming.

The spring brings "Alice In Wonderland". The Media Theatre's Ben Kapilow, who gives private piano lessons throughout the year and who wrote the music for the recent "Jungle Book" and "Peter Pan And Wendy", writes a new score for this fast-paced humorous adventure in which Alice follows The White Rabbit to come face to face with the Queen of Hearts. She has quite an adventure, meeting a Caterpillar, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and others from Lewis Carroll's book. "Alice" is on March 4 to May 21. 

Tickets are on sale now for "The Real Story of Little Red Riding Hood" and "Winnie-The-Pooh's Christmas Tail". Group rates available. Individual tickets are $12 for children and $15 for adults. Call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org




Monday, August 15, 2016

MEDIA THEATRE'S 2016 VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD GOES TO SANDRA MCKEOWN!

The Media Theatre appreciates its volunteers. As a non-profit organization, the professional music theatre company often needs assistance in various aspects. The 2016  Volunteer of The Year Award goes to Brookhaven's Sandra McKeown, who is affectionately referred to as 'Sandy' by those who know her.

She received the honor during the Wednesday August 24 concert "Can't Stop The Beat" which featured many youth from the theatre's classes and camps who entertained the crowd.
The Media Theatre's 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award winner Sandy McKeown,
with her daughter Alexsa who is a student at Media Theatre.

Sandra McKeown has been involved at the theatre for three years, watching as her daughter, Alexsa, has taken acting and dance classes. "I love helping out here," Sandra said. "Our daughter's confidence and self-awareness plus her ability to just be herself grew as a result of the education programs and performances she is in."

She's referring to the fact that all of the students at Media have opportunities to perform in both children's series productions and, at times, the Broadway Series. 

"I like to be busy," Sandra stated. "I am not very good at sitting still! So I found ways to get involved. It's a way for me to support something that means so much to Alexsa and it allows me to support the arts in our region. On top of all that...it's fun!"

Sandra McKeown has volunteered in many aspects, including ushering, selling concessions, telemarketing, assisting with costumes for the children's shows, and even designing the costumes for the recent summer camp production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "School of Rock".

"I am honored," she said. "Thanks to The Media Theatre for this recognition. But it's important for me to say that the recognition is not why I'm involved. I believe it is important to support our children, the community, and to enable The Media Theatre's music theatre experience to be accessible to everyone."

She's the second recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award. Last year's award was given to Prospect Park Police Officer Henry O' Neill.

To find out about The Media Theatre's education programs, children's shows, or how to get involved, visit mediatheatre.org or email Roger at rer764@gmail.com.




BERWYN'S VERONICA GARRUBBO WINS 'VOCALIST JUNIOR' AT THE MEDIA THEATRE

Veronica Garrubbo, 13, of Berwyn, is one happy singer. She won the 2016 "Vocalist Junior" contest, which is The Media Theatre's annual singing competition for ages 7-13. The past three years have seen the title go to 13 year old vocalists.

During the Sunday night contest, in which Veronica along with the entire team of contestants performed songs of their choice for packed houses and a rotating roster of judges, she belted out several of her favorite Broadway tunes to enthusiastic applause. 

Veronica Garrubbo reacts as her name is called as the 2016 "Vocalist Junior" winner.
Second place winner Sadie Lock looks on.
For the win, she received $500. Each of the top five received a cash prize, although it's most likely fair to say that all of the contestants--whether in the final five or not--were able to take with them an educational experience due to singing for live audiences each of the six weeks the contest was held. 

Second place went to went to 9 year old Sadie Lock of Wenonah, NJ. Third place went to Sean Lock, 12, of Malvern. Ironically, he and Sadie are not related at all and did not know each other prior to the event.

Fourth place was Bridget Henry, 9, of Havertown, with Hayley Hughes, 13, of Hockessin, DE, taking fifth.
The 2016 "Vocalist Junior" top five:
Veronica Garrubbo, Bridget Henry, Hayley Hughes, Sadie Lock, and Sean Lock


As Jesse Cline, Artistic Director for Media Theatre, stated each week during the contest, "This is not just about who wins or does not win. They are all winners. To have this type of educational experience is priceless."

Iron Workers Bank sponsored the event, as it has for the past several years. "Vocalist Junior" was created to compliment the "Vocalist", which is for singers aged 14-24.

For more information regarding The Media Theatre's educational opportunities, visit mediatheatre.org or call 610-891-0100. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

SWARTHMORE'S JACOB MERGOTT WINS MEDIA THEATRE'S 'VOCALIST'

The tallies have been tabulated, the votes have been counted, and the songs have been sung. After six weeks of bringing his smooth pop crooning style to The Media Theatre stage, the winner of the 2016 "Vocalist" competition is 17 year old Jacob Mergott of Swarthmore.
Alli Sutton and Jacob Mergott, the "Vocalist" Top Two
as they wait to find out
whose name was called as the winner
Jacob Mergott wins!
HUGS!
Mergott brought a unique quality to the contest, choosing songs one might hear Michael Buble sing or that you would hear backed by a big band week after week. Barely needing a microphone, but using one as all contestants do, Mergott's natural sleek bari-tenor vocals were loud and clear. 

During the finals, each of the Top 15 were asked to sing a show tune. Each of the contestants had to prepare two songs in the case they made it to the second act (the top five). Jake Mergott's show tune was "Blue Skies" from the 1929 Rodgers and Hart show "Betsy", and in the top five spotlight he performed the classic "You Raise Me Up" to much applause.

The 17 year old audience favorite walked away with $1500 as the winner, and much enthusiasm for his future. To see his winning performance, watch the video on the Ridley Good News facebook page WATCH IT HERE
John Whitig of Iron Workers Bank (sponsor for the Vocalist), winner Jacob Mergott,
Artistic Director Jesse Cline, and emcee Kelly Briggs
Coming in second place was 16 year old Allison Sutton of Hatboro who won $500. Malvern's Molly Sorensen, 15, came in third place, with Elaine Ficarra, 15, of Glenmoore winning fourth and Phoenixville's 21 year old Carrie Hytha taking fifth. The third, fourth, and fifth place winners received $100 each. All of the five top placers were also given Media Theatre gift cards.

The Media Theatre has been producing the summer singing contest for a decade, having been created by Cline. Once called "Delco Idol", for the past several years it's been referred to as "The Vocalist" and is sponsored by Iron Workers Bank. The Wednesday night gives young performers and singers an opportunity to highlight their skills in front of a large live audience each week, as they hone their craft. For four weeks, no one is eliminated, until the Semi-Finals and the Finals take place in August. 

This was Mergott's second year in the competition, having made it to the Top 15 last summer. He was also seen in "Tale of Beauty and the Beast" as The Beast last fall, during which he was able to focus on his acting skills.

For more information about educational opportunities at The Media Theatre, which begins its Fall semester of acting classes September 10, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

MEDIA THEATRE'S 'VOCALIST JUNIOR' HAS ITS TOP 15 FINALISTS

The twenty remaining contestants of "Vocalist Junior" gave it their all during the Semi-Finals, and now the Top 15 Finalists have been announced.

Since all previous scores had been erased before the Semi-Finals, the Finalists bravely chose difficult songs, dressed in costumes, and some even had props with them on stage.

The one constant judge for the competition, The Media Theatre's Artistic Director Jesse Cline, gave advice or comments to each vocalist. To a few, he mentioned "You must listen to the keyboard" as there were, in such anxiety filled performances, pitch problems. To others, he said, "This is a great song, but should really be sung by someone in their forties. You're only 13!"

And there were the select few to whom he stated, "That was great! A very good performance."
The Vocalist Junior Top 15 are:
Back-Grace Curry, Fiona Moser, Veronica Garrubbo, Amanda Shaughnessy
Middle-Mary Kate Vink, Josh Atkinson, Violet Wiley, Cara Furchner,  Hayley Hughes, Sean Lock
Front-Skylar Kelly, Sadie Lock, Carter Weiss, Bridget Henry, Brynn Washbourne
So as the night wore on the singers did their best with a variety of song styles and choices (vocalists always choose their own songs). The judges filled out their ballots as the show took place, and online/ public voting was available as well. Each contestant started the Semi-Finals with a score of Zero, as all previous scores were wiped away.

The same will be true with the Finals on August 14. No previous score will have any affect on the outcome, and it will all come down to what happens on the Final night. The Top 15 will sing in Act One on August 14 and then the Top Five will perform in Act Two, as ten will be eliminated at intermission.

The "Vocalist Junior" 2016 Top 15 are: Josh Atkinson, 12, Drexel Hill; Grace Curry, 11, Broomall; Cara Furchner, 8, Glen Mills; Veronica Garrubbo, 13, Berwyn; Bridget Henry, 9, Havertown; Hayley Hughes, 13, Hockessin, DE; Skylar Kelly, 12 of Phoenixville; Sadie Lock, 9, Wenonah, NJ; Sean Lock, 12, Malvern; Fiona Moser, 13, Havertown; Amanda Shaughnessy, 13, Wallingford; Mary Kate Vink, 12, West Chester; Brynn Washbourne, 9, Coatesville; Carter Weiss, 11, Pike Creek, DE; and Violet Wiley, 10, Woodlyn.

For tickets to the very entertaining event, call 610-891-0100 OR GET TICKETS HERE

Sunday, August 7, 2016

SEE PICS FROM 'SCHOOL OF ROCK' AT MEDIA THEATRE

The youth edition of "School of Rock", Andrew Lloyd Webber's current Broadway Tony nominated hit musical, is on stage through August 28 at The Media Theatre. With performances on Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm, "School of Rock" features a young cast playing all the roles and singing the memorable score with songs like "You're In The Band" and "Stick It To The Man".

Based on the Jack Black comic film, "School of Rock" focuses on a washed up rocker (played by Owen Mannion during the show's first three weekends and Sean Lock the final weekend) who poses as a school teacher and transforms his classroom into a rock band. It's all about the transforming power of music and hits upon the fact that education should, in the eyes of many, feature more music classes and programs. 

"School of Rock" is humorous, but also has heartfelt moments particularly when a few of the children are ignored by their parents and burst into song with "If Only You Would Listen".

The photos are by Chris Furlan. The production is directed by Jesse Cline with music direction by Ben Kapilow. 

GET TICKETS HERE or call 610-891-0100

Owen Mannion, center, as Dewey, the washed up rocker with his 'students': Bridget Henry, Jolie Jaffe, Madison Vassilakopoulos, Leo Koncos, Holden Dubach, Alexsa McKeown, Josh Atkinson, Alex Pollard, Violet Wiley,
and Brynn Washbourne
Ben Pedersen, as Zack the guitarist, rocks out with Bridget Henry, Violet Wiley, and Brynn Washbourne
Owen Mannion and the kids
The class room kids sing their Alma Mater

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"VOCALIST" NAMES ITS TOP 15 FINALISTS AT MEDIA THEATRE FOR 2016

The songs were sung by the remaining top 20, the votes were tallied, and "The Vocalist" has its Top 15 contestants for 2016.

Unfortunately for four of the guys in the contest, they said goodbye during the Semi-Finals so heading into the Finals "The Vocalist" is a very female oriented competition with only four young dudes still in the summer event. 



                         PICTURED ABOVE, 'THE VOCALIST' TOP 15 FOR 2016
                   Back: Toni Huegel, Jake Faragalli, Elaine Ficarra, Jacob Mergott
                 Middle: Alexandra Battisti, Tori D'Ascenzo, Kaleigh Kahan, Emma Costello,                                                           Carrie Hytha, Sarah Korbel
   Front: Molly Sorensen, Paul Mariani III, Lauren Faulkner, Moses Gonzalez, Alli Sutton

With each week leading up this point, every contestant brought their best to the stage with songs ranging from pop classics and country, to jazz and Broadway. Contestants choose their own songs each week, allowing them to be who they are as they perform for large audiences Wednesday nights at The Media Theatre.

The Finals will be Wednesday August 10 at 7pm, with each contestant rehearsing with the accompanist (Ben Kapilow) the Monday prior. Each will need to choose two songs for rehearsal this week, and one song must be from a Broadway show. 

The reason for choosing two songs? Well, it's a bit nerve-wracking.....Each of the Top 15 sing in Act One Wednesday August 10. Votes are tallied at intermission, and only the Top Five perform in Act Two the same night before a winner is eventually named.

For the Finals, they are also allowed to sing a song they have already performed in the competition, which may ease a bit of the stress.

Stress is a part of the game at this level, but as Artistic Director Jesse Cline says, "The Vocalist is a contest, yes. But we look at this event as a learning experience first and foremost. It allows each of these young performers a chance to grow as they perform for live audiences, finding out what works for them and what does not work for them. It's a healthy experience as they prepare for moving forward with college or a career."

All of the contestants range in age from 14-24, with the 'oldest' one this year being only 21. For the first time in several years, the borough of Media has no representation in the finals. Several contestants are from outside of the Media region, including those from West Chester, Phoenixeville, Cochranville, and New Jersey. 

For tickets to "The Vocalist" Finals on Wednesday August 10, which begin at 7pm, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org GET TICKETS HERE

You may also vote for your favorite contestant up through the end of intermission on August 10. The top three Online & Public vote getters will receive extra points toward the Judges' Score, which may assist them in making it to the Top Five. VOTE HERE

"The Vocalist" Finalists for 2016 are: Alexandra Battisti, 14 of Malvern; Emma Costello, 14, West Chester; Tori D’Ascenzo, 15, Oxford; Lauren Faulkner, 15, Glenolden; Jake Faragalli, 14, NJ; Elaine Ficarra, 15, Glenmoore; Moses Gonzalez, 21, Woodlyn; Toni Huegel, 14, Springfield; Carrie Hytha, 21, Phoenixville; Kaliegh Kahan, 16, Cochranville; Sarah Korbel, 17, Wayne; Paul Mariani III, 16, Ardmore; Jacob Mergott, 17, of Swarthmore; Molly Sorensen, 15, Malvern; and Allison Sutton, 16, Hatboro.

"The Vocalist" is sponsored by Iron Workers Bank.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

REGISTER NOW FOR MEDIA THEATRE'S WINTER 2017 ACTING CLASSES STARTING IN JANUARY

it's not too early to register for The Media Theatre's Winter Semester of Acting Classes which begin the weekend of January 7, 2017.

The popular acclaimed Children and Teen Acting Classes will be returning, as well as the Adult Acting Class. REGISTER HERE
Media Theatre Child and Teen Acting Class students are invited to appear in upcoming children's shows. Here are students from last season's successful production of "Peter Pan And Wendy"
Roger Ricker, who has been in over 100 productions at The Media Theatre and has worked with Artistic Director Jesse Cline since 1991, will continue instructing the Level One Children's Class on Saturday mornings at 9am for ages 5-8, and the Level Two Children's Class on Tuesday afternoons at 4:30 for ages up to 11. He'll also head the Teen Acting Class on Sunday evenings at 6pm. 

The Level One Children's Class starts January 7, with the Teen Class starting January 8. The Level Two Children's Class starts January 10, as well as the Adult Class.

Tim Haney, who has directed two mainstage productions at Media and has been with Media Music Theatre Company since 1998, instructs the continuing Adult Acting Class on Tuesdays at 7:30pm. 

To register for The Level One or Level Two Children's Classes, as well as the Teen Acting Class and Adult Acting Class, REGISTER HERE

All classes are $400 for the Fall Semester. 



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

MEDIA THEATRE'S ARTISTIC DIRECTOR JESSE CLINE AND ACTRESS SUSAN WEFEL SING THE PRAISES OF 'THE VOCALIST'

On a breezy August afternoon, as the "Vocalist" and "Vocalist Junior" competition are headed into their final weeks for summer 2016, Media Theatre's Artistic Director Jesse Cline and professional actress Susan Wefel, who emcees the "Junior" event each week, were chatting about the importance and vitality of the contest.

The Media Theatre has been producing the two summer singing contests for a decade, having been created by Cline. Once called "Delco Idol", they are now "The Vocalist" and are sponsored by Iron Workers Bank. The Wednesday night "Vocalist" and Sunday evening "Vocalist Junior" give young performers and singers an opportunity to highlight their skills in front of a large live audience each week, as they hone their craft. For four weeks, no one is eliminated, until the Semi-Finals and the Finals take place in August. 
Professional actress Susan Wefel, who has appeared on The Media Theatre stage frequently,
and the theatre's Artistic Director Jesse Cline.
"Wow, we are headed into the final eliminations," said Wefel, who added, "For four weeks it was like Boot Camp and these talented kids were able to sing and enjoy themselves in front of the audience. Now, with the finals only two weeks away, it must be a bit unnerving for them."

"Sure, there is pressure," Cline said. "However, even though that might affect the contestants it also forces them to do the work that needs to be done."

"True, it teaches them that, as in life, everyone is not always a winner or the person who receives the most attention, no matter how hard they try," Wefel explained. "Some people even as adults feel that if they are not the main focus, then they don't want to do this or that--but that's not the right attitude to have."

Cline added his perspective, having maintained auditions for the Broadway Series at the Media Theatre for over 20 years. "It's similar to auditioning," he said. "Everything may go well for the performer, for the actor or the singer, but they still won't get the part they hope for. That's a great lesson to learn. There are many reasons why, such as choosing the material that suits you the most, and you could drive yourself insane trying to analyze it. But only one person ends up getting the role, for whatever reason."

He is very happy to have Susan Wefel at the helm for "Vocalist Junior" as the emcee. "She's perfect for it. Our audiences here recognize her for her great work in our shows such as "Billy Elliot", "The Wizard of OZ", "Les Miserables", and "To Kill A Mockingbird". She's worked with many of our students in those shows, and the parents and audiences feel comfortable with her. She adds a welcoming atmosphere to the competition."

Susan will be back on The Media Theatre stage in January of 2017 as The Nurse in "Romeo and Juliet". "I'm so excited about that!" she exclaimed. "You know, I love the family atmosphere here at Media. It's contagious. Everyone gets their moment to shine."

Of the "Vocalist" and its "Junior" counterpart, Cline said, "We try to move the summer event away from a competitive spirit and more toward a spirit of support and inclusion. The idea is to support each other."

To that end, Cline explained he notices a lot of families who, after being eliminated from either contest, come back to watch the Finals. "They come back after not making it into the Final Round to watch and cheer on their friends in the final week. It's nice to see."

He stated that Susan Wefel would be back again next summer, to emcee the "Junior" contest again. "Oh, I love that!" she said. "I love saying "Welcome to the Media Theatre, saying those magic words at the start of each show. And we always mention the support that the theatre needs."

Cline and Wefel both agree that it's eventually not about who wins--although one singer does in each competition annually--but it's about doing the best they can do. "It's more important to say to yourself as a young performer that you're going to do the best you can, no matter what happens. That's how you really win."

"That is true," Cline added. "With all the types of music these young people sing each week, from folk and country to pop and Broadway, it raises their confidence level and their self-awareness, helping them to find out what works for them and what doesn't work so well. Watching it over the years, you can really see a difference in some of them, and see them create their own brand of performance. Many of them, however, have their eyes on Broadway, even at a very young age."

Several of The Media Theatre's "Vocalist" and "Junior" finalists (not necessarily the top winners) have gone on to Broadway, as a matter of fact. Ava Briglia, who is 10 years old and is from Media, is currently playing the title role in "Matilda", the same show her sister was in two years ago. Both were top five contestants at Media. 

What with the summer camp having a larger enrollment this year than ever before, and the "Vocalist" still going strong, Cline said, "Theatres should just do what they are best at doing. We are a music theatre, so that is what we focus on. The music. The singers. It's encouraging not only to us, but to the students and the families involved. That's how you win. Focus on what you do best."

For tickets to "The Vocalist" which is on Wednesday nights through August 10, or "Vocalist Junior" which is on Sunday nights through August 14, call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org

Monday, August 1, 2016

'VOCALIST JUNIOR' AT MEDIA THEATRE NAMES 2016'S TOP 20 SEMI-FINALISTS

The results are in! Four weeks of performance have gone by, with young singers entertaining audiences during 2016's "Vocalist Junior" contest at The Media Theatre. While all were worthy of applause, the performance showcase is, in its creative format, a competition so now the Top 20 little singers ranging in age from 7 to 13 will move forward into the Semi-Final round.

The "Vocalist Junior" Semi-Finals take place Sunday night August 7 at 7pm on The Media Theatre stage. Each singer will perform a song of their choice to try to make it to the Top 15.
The 2016 "Vocalist Junior" Top 20 contestants are:
Back --Fiona Moser, Grace Curry, Abigail White, Hayley Hughes, Veronica Garrubbo, Sean Lock, Amanda Shaughnessy.
Middle-Cara Furchner, Skylar Kelly, Ava Kelly, Violet Wiley, Josh Atkinson, Carly McGuinn, Mary Kate Vink
Front-Natalie Mancini, Sadie Lock, Carter Weiss, Khadijah King, Bridget Henry, Brynn Washbourne

During the past four weeks, the judges' ballots were filled out and the contestants were ranked in the categories of Vocal Ability, Stage Presence, and Song Choice. The judges were different each week, except for the main judge: the theatre's Artistic Director Jesse Cline, who also has an extra added category defined as "Individualism", referring to each contestant's unique 'X' factor.

There was also a lot of online and public voting during the past four weeks. The top fifteen Online & Public vote-getters received extra points added to the judges' scores.

All votes were accumulated for the first four weeks of performance, but now that it's been culled to the Top 20 Semi-Finalists all previous scores have been erased and each enthusiastic remaining Vocalist begins again on an even playing field with a score of 'zero'. So their song choice and performance will be very important on August 7.

The 2016 "Vocalist Junior" Top 20 Semi-Finalists are Josh Atkinson, 12, Drexel Hill; Grace Curry, 11, Broomall; Cara Furchner, 8, Glen Mills; Veronica Garrubbo, 13, Berwyn; Bridget Henry, 9, Havertown; Hayley Hughes, 13, Hockessin, DE; Ava Kelly, 12 and Skylar Kelly, 12 of Phoenixville; Khadijah King, 7, Upper Darby; Sadie Lock, 9, Wenonah, NJ; Sean Lock, 12, Malvern; Natalie Mancini, 9, Broomall; Carly McGuinn, 12, Glen Mills; Fiona Moser, 13, Havertown; Amanda Shaughnessy, 13, Wallingford; Mary Kate Vink, 12, West Chester; Brynn Washbourne, 9, Coatesville; Abigail White, 13, Boothwyn; Carter Weiss, 11, Pike Creek, DE; and Violet Wiley, 10, Woodlyn.

For tickets to "Vocalist Junior", call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. The semi-finals are Sunday night at 7pm. 

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVE HERE

GET TICKETS HERE