Monday, July 31, 2017

THE MEDIA THEATRE'S 'VOCALIST JUNIOR 2017' HAS ITS TOP 20!

The Media Theatre’s “Vocalist Junior 2017” Top 20 contestants have been announced, after four weeks of entertaining audiences and judges. Twenty-eight singers ranging in age from 7 to 13 years old performed their favorite pop, Broadway, and country songs with plenty of heart and lots of talent during the four weeks leading to the semi-finals. The Top 20 will sing again Sunday night August 6 at 7pm hoping for the chance to make it to the final round.

The Top 20 “Vocalist Junior 2017” contestants are: Ella Baker, 10, Media; Savi Bell, 10, Conshohocken;  Charlie Carroccio, 7, Newtown Square;  Katie Cotrotsios, 9, West Chester; Sophia Cotrotsios, 12, West Chester; Grace Curry, 13, Broomall; Katie Foca, 11, Wallingford; Zachary Graaf, 12, Havertown; Bridget Henry, 10, Havertown; Skylar Kelly, 13, Phoenixville; Lily Lexer, 8, Malvern; Maya Maloskey, 11, Malvern; Isabella Martinez, 13, Woolwich, NJ; Lauren McAlee, 11, West Chester; Alexsa McKeown, 11, Brookhaven; Zoe Nesbitt, 7, Drexel Hill; Amanda Treston, 13, Malvern; Mary Kate Vink, 13, West Chester; Alexis Whiteside, 11, Morton; and Violet Wiley, 11, of Woodlyn.

The annual competition is very entertaining for audiences, much like the popular national singing contests on television. Produced by Media Music Theatre Co., the weekly showcases provide ample opportunity for the contestants, allowing them a chance to perform for large audiences while honing their skills on Delaware County’s only professional music theater stage.

“During the past month, audiences actually got to see each contestant grow,” said Media Music Theatre Co. Artistic Director Jesse Cline. “We also look at this as an educational experience. So, rather than singing one song and leaving the competition, each of them had the opportunity to learn a bit more about what it takes to perform in front of an audience on a professional stage. Now, in sticking to the format of the competition we created, it’s down to those whose scores were strong enough to place them in the Top 20.”

The scores Cline refers to were accumulated for four weeks, including both the Judges’ Scores and the Online and Public Voting Tallies. Guest judges accompany Cline each week in voting, marking their ballots in three categories: Vocal Ability, Stage Presence, and Song Choice. Cline has an extra added category, Individualism, which has to do with each contestant’s uniqueness and sense of self-awareness and growth as a performer. He chats with each contestant in front of the audience after they sing, with a completely unrehearsed and spontaneous question and answer period, building a rapport with all of the vocalists.

Cline said. “There may be a week in which a young singer falters a bit, but I will know what they are capable of and who they are. The Individualism category speaks to the fact that each contestant is unique. Their interests and what is best for them should come first. Each has their own story to tell in their own way.”
John Whitig of Iron Workers Bank, the sponsor of "Vocalist Junior"
Online voting took place again this year, not affecting any outcome until after Week Four, assisting in compiling the Top 20 for the Semi-Final Round. After Week 4, the online scores were tallied and the person with the most votes online received an added 30 points to their judges’ score. The second-place online vote-getter received an added 25 points, with the third receiving 20 extra. Vote-getters four through 10 received 15 extra points, and those who rank 11-15 online gained 10 extra points to possibly move them into the semifinals.

Now that the Top 20 have been chosen, all previous scores are erased and each contestant begins the Semi-Final Round (August 6) with a total score of zero once again. So, anything is possible as “Vocalist Junior 2017” moves toward finding a winner.

If you would like to be entertained, be sure to see “Vocalist Junior 2017”, which is on August 6 (Semi-Finals) and August 13 (Finals) at 7pm. The Media Theatre is the place to be! Call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org


The top five in each contest receive cash prizes. “Vocalist Junior” is sponsored by Iron Workers Bank. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

SPRINGFIELD'S TONI HUEGEL WINS 'VOCALIST 2017' AT THE MEDIA THEATRE

After three weeks of singing Broadway classics, contemporary show tunes, and pop favorites, "The Vocalist 2017" contestants were narrowed down to the Top Five and a winner was announced: Toni Huegel, 15, of Springfield. She won $1500, and plenty of enthusiastic applause throughout the competition for her smooth vocals. Her final song was "Someone Else's Story" from the musical "Chess".

Toni Huegel will be a sophomore at Springfield High School, where she has performed as Lady Rowena in "Once Upon A Mattress". She's also been seen as Dorothy in Viviana Theatre Company's "The Wizard of Oz", and also played Sleeping Beauty in their production of "Into The Woods". The Sondheim show is a favorite of hers, and this summer she was seen as The Witch in "Into The Woods" at The Media Theatre, where she has also been in productions of "13: The Musical" and "The Real Story of Little Red Riding Hood".

Iron Workers Bank's President John Whitig with "The Vocalist 2017" winner Toni Huegel.
Iron Workers Bank is the talent competiton's title sponsor.
"Performing has been a huge part of my life for the past four years," she said. "Music is a universal language and can tell a story when words cannot. I am thrilled to have won "The Vocalist" as performing is something that's helped me break out of my shell and makes me who I am today. Thanks to everyone, this is just amazing!"

Two of the top five were from New Jersey. Second place winner Nyah Anderson, 16, is from Woolwich Township, and third place winner Amanda Barrish, 24, is from Mount Laurel. In fourth place was Michael Deboer, 18, of Exton, and fifth place went to Glenolden's Lauren Faulkner.


During the three week competition, the young vocalists were given points in three categories (Vocal Ability, Stage Presence, and Song Choice) by several guest judges including Broadway and regionally known professional actors and singers, as well as from representatives from Iron Workers Bank, the title sponsor for the contest. The one constant judge each week, and seen onstage as he would regularly chat with the contestants, was Jesse Cline. Cline is The Media Theatre's Artistic Director. He had one extra category, Individualism, on his score sheet. "I see them perform each week, and know what they are capable of," he explained. "So the extra category is all about their uniqueness and sense of self-awareness."


"We created this contest eleven years ago," Cline said. "It furthers our mission of music theatre education, allowing young people an opportunity each week to actually perform songs they love in front of a live audience. They are all winners, as they are finding ways to express themselves doing what it is they love to do. Audiences enjoy it, and we thank Iron Workers Bank for continuing to support this important program each summer."


Cline continued, "As a professional music theatre company that produces a five show Broadway Series season every year from September through June, it's very important that we include educational opportunities for young people. We have had nationally recognized names on our stage, and they set a great example for these young performers to follow."


"We have "Carousel" coming up in the fall," Cline said. "Joseph Spieldenner will play the role of Billy Bigelow for us, and he just finished a Broadway run of "Les Miserables" not too long ago. After that, we have Disney's extremely popular version of "Beauty and The Beast" for the holidays. Both shows will have young actors in the cast, which is also a component of our educational opportunities for youth."


"The Vocalist 2017" was emceed each week by Kelly Briggs, who appeared on Broadway in "Cats" and several other musicals. Briggs is often seen in productions at The Media Theatre, and is also in "Carousel" this fall (Sept. 20 through Oct. 22). The contestants were accompanied by the theatre's Resident Music Director Ben Kapilow.


For more information regarding acting classes, voice lessons, dance class, or The New School at The Media Theatre, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Subscriptions are available for the entire Broadway Series season which includes "Carousel", Disney's "Beauty and The Beast", "Next To Normal", "IF/ THEN" (a Philadelphia regional professional premiere), and Disney's "Newsies". 



Saturday, July 22, 2017

CHLOE MILLETT IS 'INTO THE WOODS' THRU JULY 30 AT THE MEDIA THEATRE

The Media Theatre has Stephen Sondheim’s Tony winning musical “Into The Woods” on stage this summer, now through July 30. The show is being produced as a teen musical experience, in which a youth cast performs along with two local (and slightly older) actors who have had professional or university experience.

Chloe Millett, who is going to be in the 10th grade at Shipley School this fall, plays the role of Jack’s Mother. “It’s an older, more maternal role,” she said. “Since I’m only 15, my maternal instincts come from babysitting, so I really had to imagine what it would be like to be in her situation. She’s raising a unique child, who doesn’t listen to his mother and is sort of in his own world. His mom tries to be his sense of reality.”

I've been doing theatre since the first grade, so needless to say, I've been in a lot of roles!” Chloe said, as she began to list her credits.  “From Rizzo in "Grease" (Haverford), to Daddy Warbucks in "Annie" (Notre Dame Academy), to Lady Macbeth (St. Mary's School in Cambridge, England), and many more. Shipley School has a fabulous theater department. This year, I was in a Shakespeare one acts play, where I played the mystical Iris from "The Tempest". At Media Theatre, I've been in "13" as "Cassie" and several kids' shows last year!”
 
CHLOE MILLETT
“I think "Into the woods" sets the bar pretty high for all other musicals. It's hard to live up to such a complex, well thought-out, detailed musical with not only great dialogue and characters to root for, but also an amazing array of music,” she said of the classic musical.

 “I think everyone should see the show, since it's so fascinating! Like I said before, everything is so well done in this show, even down to the point where when my character enters the stage, the band plays a melody similar to my solo in the prologue. It may seem minor, but things like that really make a show entertaining. Not to mention the amazing costumes! I love how everyone looks on stage. Milky White is also pretty impressive!” she stated, raving about the show’s production values.

 She summed it up with, “Being onstage has really helped me with my confidence! Back when I started doing theatre here at Media when I was 13, I was much more shy and introverted. However, over the summer into my freshmen year, I did “13 The Musical”, and that really brought me out of my shell. I ended up running for student government at my school! Now, this year marks my second year on student government. I am amazed with how much I've changed, and I credit a lot of this to The Media Theatre.”

"Into The Woods" is on thru July 30. For tickets, call The Media Theatre at 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org


Thursday, July 20, 2017

ROYA WOLCOTT, OF THE SHIPLEY SCHOOL, IS RED RIDING HOOD AT MEDIA THEATRE

The Media Theatre has Stephen Sondheim’s Tony winning musical “Into The Woods” on stage this summer, now through July 30. The show is being produced as a teen musical experience, in which a youth cast performs along with two local (and slightly older) actors who have had professional or university experience.

Roya Wolcott plays the role of Little Red Riding Hood. “This is very exciting because it is my first lead role! I tried to be myself, as the character, in each situation. When I am backstage, I think about everything that is going to happen in the scene,” the soon-to-be Shipley School fifth grader said. “This is a great play for actors to work together in, as it has very good roles. It’s created a new way to tell familiar stories.”
ROYA WOLCOTT
Roya has been on stage previously at The Media Theatre. “I was in “Fiddler On The Roof” here,” she stated. “My first ever speaking role here was a maid in “Beauty and The Beast”, and then I also played the role of Katie, the bass player, in “School Of Rock”. And I’ve been in a school play, in fourth grade, when we did a show about American history. I was Ellen Moore, who was on The Mayflower.”

“I used to be somewhat shy,” she explained. “But acting has made me more confident. I participate in a lot of school activities and plays. Being involved in theater has given me the courage to speak in front of many people.”

“Everyone should come to see “Into The Woods” because it is a very unique production,” she summed it all up. “What makes it so unique is that instead of choosing on fairytale, it bunches them together in one show.”

For tickets to this summer's "Into The Woods" at The Media Theatre now through July 30 call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Performances are Friday nights at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Most roles are double cast, so it's a different cast each weekend!

Monday, July 17, 2017

HANNA MURPHY HAS A SECOND HOME AT THE MEDIA THEATRE, WHERE SHE GOES 'INTO THE WOODS'

The Media Theatre has Stephen Sondheim’s Tony winning musical “Into The Woods” on stage this summer, now through July 30. The show is being produced as a teen musical experience, in which a youth cast performs along with two local (and slightly older) actors who have had professional or university experience.

Hanna Murphy plays the role of The Witch. She attends the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur in Villanova and will be in the ninth grade this fall. “This is my 21st show at the Media Theatre. I’ve also been in their summer productions of “Fiddler On The Roof” and “13”, and also the Broadway Series musical “Gypsy”. And, while I’m in “Into The Woods”, I am also playing The March Hare in “Alice In Wonderland”, so it’s a busy summer! At Notre Dame I played Ursula in “The Little Mermaid”, which was fun.”
HANNA MURPHY
“With this musical Sondheim brings together several popular characters that would not otherwise meet each other,” she said. “This isn’t a sugar coated Disney Princess tale of happily ever after. It teaches valuable lessons about family and responsibility.”

“I was excited to learn that I would be playing a role that Bernadette Peters had made famous, The Witch,” she explained. “As I read through the script and studied the music I realized that there were many layers to the Witch's character. Many people think that the Witch is just evil and that there is nothing more to her, but that is not necessarily the case. She wants to be successful and have family that loves her.”

Hanna says audiences should come out to The Media Theatre to see the show. “The production of "Into the Woods" this summer at the Media Theatre is made up of teens who have worked hard to create a show worth seeing. Although serious at times the show is very funny. I'm proud to be a part of this production.”

 “Acting has given me confidence and made me an effective public speaker. I have never been very good at sports and theater has given me something to feel proud of at a time when being a teenager can be rough. The Media Theatre is my second home.”


For tickets to this summer's "Into The Woods" at The Media Theatre now through July 30 call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Performances are Friday nights at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Most roles are double cast, so it's a different cast each weekend!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

SPRINGTON LAKE MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT KAITLYN HANRAHAN IS 'INTO THE WOODS' IN MEDIA

The Media Theatre has Stephen Sondheim’s Tony winning musical “Into The Woods” on stage this summer, now through July 30. The show is being produced as a teen musical experience, in which a youth cast performs along with two local (and slightly older) actors who have had professional or university experience.

Kaitlyn Hanrahan, who just finished up 7th grade at Springton Lake Middle School where she sings in the choir, plays the role of Lucinda, one of Cinderella’s stepsisters. “Lucinda is “beautiful at face, but violent black of heart” so I make sure everything from my hair, dress, and voice sounds beautiful by being as feminine as possible, while my temperament is the opposite,” she said.  “I approach this role by feeling free to be as mean and cocky as I want.  I think about ways to talk to be as rude as possible, especially to Cinderella.  I also approach the role by always fixing my appearance.”

Kaitlyn has been involved with stage crew at Springton Lake as well, during “The Wizard of Oz” this past May.  This is her first production at The Media Theatre. “Acting and performing has made me more confident in myself, and understand that mistakes are lessons that make you better, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Acting has especially made me think about what other people could feel about certain things, seeing things from their perspective and not just my own.”
KAITLYN KETCH
Of the classic musical she says that “Into The Woods” ‘reflects the American culture’. “Like in the play with characters coming from all different stories,” she explained. “People come to America bringing their own stories, and they all intersect and come together in, at times, peculiar ways. In the musical and in American life people are following their dreams. When they get their wish, it is not always for the best.”

She says, “The musical has so many lessons. It teaches people of all ages about working hard and to not give up. It reminds us how cheating often creates problems. Everyone should see it, as it can make a big impact.”


For tickets to this summer's "Into The Woods" at The Media Theatre now through July 30 call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Performances are Friday nights at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Most roles are double cast, so it's a different cast each weekend!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

THE MEDIA THEATRE'S 'INTO THE WOODS' HAS SPRINGFIELD HIGH SCHOOL'S TONI HUEGEL AS THE WITCH

The Media Theatre has Stephen Sondheim’s Tony winning musical “Into The Woods” on stage this summer, now through July 30. The show is being produced as a teen musical experience, in which a youth cast performs along with two local (and slightly older) actors who have had professional or university experience.

Toni Huegel, who attends Springfield High School as a sophomore this fall, plays the role of The Witch. “I’m having a blast this summer at The Media Theatre, “she said. “I’m also in the Vocalist contest.”

“I was Lady Rowena in “Once Upon A Mattress” in high school,” she said. “I’ve also played Dorothy in Viviana Theatre Company’s “The Wizard of OZ”, and was also in their production of “Into The Woods”. Here at The Media Theatre I have done “13: The Musical” and “The Real Story of Little Red Riding Hood”.”
TONI HUEGEL
She loves Sondheim’s musical. “The show, “Into The Woods”, is a compilation of entertaining stories with a lot of hidden meaning,” she explained. “Sondheim pieced together group of very familiar fairytales that everyone has been known to love and enjoy, but he also leaves a sense of "the real world." Behind each fairytale is a lesson that each of the characters must learn in order to live a successful and happy life.”

“It’s a show for any age, because of its setting and characters,” Toni said. “It’s impossible to be bored by it, as it is fast paced and very involving. The songs provide even more excitement.”
How about The Witch? “Well, it’s the biggest and most elaborate role I have ever played,” she said. “It’s a huge task. I choose to be as vocal and animated as possible with the role, for dramatic expression. She’s full of yearning, anger, love, and all sorts of feelings. She’s not scary, really, she’s just trying to see that justice is done.”

Toni Huegel loves acting, and says performing is a large part of her life. “I love the musical side of the performing arts because music is a universal language, and it tells a story where words cannot. You can, on stage, be yourself while being in situations that are very unique and varied. It makes me very happy!”

For tickets to this summer's "Into The Woods" at The Media Theatre (July 7-30) call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Performances are Friday nights at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Most roles are double cast, so it's a different cast each weekend!



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

MEDIA THEATRE ANNOUNCES CAST FOR 'GODSPELL' AUGUST 4-27

"Godspell" is at The Media Theatre August 4 - 27, with a youthful cast, a live band, and a new vision for the classic musical. The musical was the first major musical theatre offering from three-time Grammy and Academy Award winner, Stephen Schwartz (WickedPippinChildren of Eden), and it took the world by storm. 
Led by the international hit, "Day By Day", which hit the pop charts in the early 1970's after the show's premiere on Broadway, and has been recorded by everyone from Judy Collins to dc Talk, the musical focuses on a small group of people who assist Jesus as he tells the parables from the Book of Matthew using a wide variety of story techniques, and plenty of comedy. It all dissolves hauntingly into The Last Supper and the Crucifixion, while Jesus messages of kindness, tolerance, and love come vibrantly to life.


"Godspell" features chart topping songs, a book by John Michael Tebelak, and also became a feature film in 1973. Never out of 'style' and always relevant, "Godspell" continues to touch audiences.

The Media Theatre’s production is directed by Roger Ricker with music direction by Ben Kapilow, and will have, at its core, a new vision for the two-act musical as it is performed by children, teenagers, and adults. Tim Haney choreographs.

Austy Hicks will play the role of Jesus. He’s from Wayne, PA, and has been seen on stage at West Chester’s Limelight Performing Arts Center. He showcased his talent previously at The Media Theatre in professional productions of “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “The Diary of Anne Frank”. He is also seen as Jack in Media’s summer production of “Into The Woods”. Austy is also a past winner of The Media Theatre's "Vocalist" summer singing competition. 

Media Theatre teen acting class student Evan Bramlage will portray the role of Judas, with Media’s Ted Harris as John The Baptist. Ted Harris is heavily involved at The Media Theatre as one of its State Street Miracles, which is a performance troupe for adults with developmental disabilities.

“This is unlike any “Godspell” you have ever seen,” said the theatre’s Artistic Director Jesse Cline. “It allows performance opportunities for a wide range of personalities, ages, and actors with unique backgrounds. Because the musical allows itself to be played by all ages, this will be very exciting for audiences, and very moving.”

“Godspell” is on stage at The Media Theatre August 4 through 27, with performances on Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. For tickets, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org

The cast of “Godspell” at The Media Theatre is:

Jesus................Austy Hicks
Judas................Evan Bramlage
John The Baptist..........Ted Harris

With:
Josh Atkinson, Hannah Brady, Charlie Carroccio, Aidan Fox, Adrian Henry, Bridget Henry, Skylar Kelly,
Leo Koncos, Sarah Lambert, Noelle Longenberger, Nora Martin, Alex Pollard, Lauren Saddic, Brynn Washbourne, and Violet Wiley

The songs :
"Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord"...........Ted Harris as John The Baptist
"Save The People"......................................Austy Hicks (Jesus)
"Day By Day"...............................................Sarah Lambert
"Learn Your Lessons Well"........................Leo Koncos
"Oh Bless The Lord"..................................Skylar Kelly and Alex Pollard
"All For The Best"......................................Hicks (Jesus) and Evan Bramlage (Judas)
"All Good Gifts"..........................................Noelle Longenberger
"Light Of The World"..................................Entire Cast
"Learn Your Lessons Well (Reprise)"..........Leo Koncos
"Turn Back O' Man"....................................Violet Wiley
"Alas For You"............................................Austy Hicks (Jesus)
"By My Side"..............................................Josh Atkinson and Bridget Henry
"We Beseech Thee"...................................Hannah Brady and Brynne Washbourne
"Day By Day Reprise"................................Cast
"On The Willows".......................................Nora Martin, Lauren Saddic, Charlie Carroccio,  Aiden Fox, Adrian Henry
"Finale"......................................................Cast

PENNCREST HIGH SCHOOL'S JACKSON SWEENEY IS 'INTO THE WOODS' AT MEDIA THEATRE

The Media Theatre has Stephen Sondheim’s Tony winning musical “Into The Woods” on stage this summer, now through July 30. The show is being produced as a teen musical experience, in which a youth cast performs along with two local (and slightly older) actors who have had professional or university experience.
Jackson Sweeney, who is starting his sophomore year at Penncrest High School in Media this fall, plays the role of The Narrator. “I’ve usually played supporting roles,” he said. “I’ve been in “Bye Bye Birdie”, “13”, and “The Sound Of Music” as well as a few others.”
JACKSON SWEENEY
“To me, “Into The Woods” is a shining example of how satire should be done,” he explained. “It’s great how the characters have feeling and depth, while still being shallow and clich├ęd.”
“The Narrator doesn’t have as much depth as some of the roles, but it’s a fun position to be in,” Jackson said. “I’m always keeping the interest and attention of the audience, focused on the story.”
He feels that as many people as possible should see the production. “Besides the fact that it’s a great show, and the actors have genuine talent, it’s a time to sit back for two hours or so and relax.”
“Doing these performances, as well as acting in general, is very important to me, considering that I want to write and perform in shows as a career,” he concluded, looking very much forward to a bright future.

For tickets to this summer's "Into The Woods" at The Media Theatre (July 7-30) call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Performances are Friday nights at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Most roles are double cast, so it's a different cast each weekend!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

MEDIA THEATRE PUTS A YOUTHFUL SPIN ON 'INTO THE WOODS' THRU JULY 30

The Media Theatre presents Stephen Sondheim’s Tony winning classic “Into The Woods” through July 30 this summer.  Sondheim, working with James Lapine, create a timeless and relevant piece using fairy tale characters that is both touching and profound.

Into The Woods” is a musically sophisticated show, difficult for professional actors with varied careers. In this summer production, the focus is on teenage actors who work with director Jesse Cline and music director Ben Kapilow to put a youthful ‘spin’ on the popular Broadway classic.

“It’s a part of our continuing mission to highlight music theatre education,” said Cline, The Media Theatre’s Artistic Director. “Each summer we produce what we refer to as ‘teen musicals’ or ‘youth productions’, allowing the participants to explore who they are as actors while they perform, on our stage, a full two-act Broadway musical.”
Austy Hicks as Jack
“In the past we have done shows that really dealt with their own age level, such as “13”, “School of Rock” which we did last summer, and “Grease”, “Footloose” and similar titles,” Cline explained. “This year, we thought we would go in a bit of a different direction, allowing the young actors to discover who they are as they approach a musical which has a lot of meaning and relevance to them, but are not necessarily roles young people would portray.”

Cline continued with, “The show, “Into The Woods”, is very difficult for even the most professional of actors who have varied careers. For this teen cast to step into these roles and do such a great job within only three weeks of rehearsal is quite an accomplishment for all of them.”
Molly Sorensen as The Baker's Wife
“A few of the actors are pre-teens, such as the ones portraying Little Red Riding Hood,” he said. “And we also have two young men in the production who are in their early twenties, which set an example for the younger members of the cast. Both of them, Austy Hicks and Liam Snead, have regional productions in their credits. Liam is actually a graduate of Ithaca College with a BFA in Music Theatre, and Austy is a past winner of our summer “Vocalist” contest, having now appeared at several theatres in the area.”

“One of the actors, Owen Mannion, has been involved here at the theatre for a decade,” Cline said. “He is now preparing to enter Manhattanville College in the fall with a theatre scholarship. He has truly gained an understanding of what it takes to have a career in music theatre over the years, having been on our stage many times, working in our box office, and also assisting us with marketing.”
Veronica Garrubbo as Cinderella with Liam Snead as The Baker
The production also features two of The Media Theatre’s recent “Vocalist Junior” competition winners, Veronica Garrubbo and Molly Sorensen. “We have a very talented cast,” Cline said. “Each have been involved here at the theatre in some way, and all are shining examples of our education program.”

Into The Woods” follows a Baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King's Festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch's curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. Everyone's wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results.

“With an experience that includes costume designers, professional stage managers and crew, plus a live orchestra, the cast gains another avenue of education and experience,” Cline said. “It’s a terrific way for the ensemble to learn more, first hand, about what it takes to be a professional.”

Into The Woods” is on stage each weekend in July, with performances Friday nights at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. The production is ‘double cast’, meaning that each actor has an opportunity during the show’s run to play both a featured role and to be in the Ensemble. For tickets, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org.
Veronica Garrubbo with Owen Mannion, as The Prince
ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY CHRIS FURLAN

Thursday, July 6, 2017

'INTO THE WOODS' AT THE MEDIA THEATRE FEATURES CASSIDY ELSE AS THE STEPMOTHER THIS JULY

The Media Theatre has Stephen Sondheim’s Tony winning musical “Into The Woods” on stage this summer, July 7 through July 30. The show is being produced as a teen musical experience, in which a youth cast performs along with two local (and slightly older) actors who have had professional or university experience.

Cassidy Else, who has been a student at The Media Theatre since she was five years old, plays the role of Cinderella’s Stepmother in the musical. Heading into the 8th Grade at Drexel Hill Middle School this fall, she’s been seen previously on The Media Theatre stage in “Annie”, “Snow White” “Magic Tree House”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Disney’s Cinderella Kids”, “The Jungle Book”, “Jack Frost” and in the Broadway Series professional production of “Gypsy”. Currently, she is also in “Alice In Wonderland” as the Queen of Hearts throughout the summer. At her school, she was in “The Little Mermaid” and “Peter Pan”.  She is a former “Vocalist Junior” second place winner (2015), and has been a part of the theatre’s New School for three years.
CASSIDY ELSE


“I don’t think “Into The Woods” comes across as a fairy tale,” she said. “It’s more like a reality check about how everything in life doesn’t always have a happy ending. It teaches a good lesson about not being greedy and that you can’t always get what you wish for.”

“Having a Sondheim show performed by teens is a great demonstration of how hard we are all working, and how much we love the piece,” she explained.

“To approach the role of Cinderella’s Stepmother, I’ve used my past acting experience to help me portray this complex person,” Cassidy continued. “She starts out stubborn and rude, but in the end realizes how important it is to keep her daughters safe.”

She summed it up with, “Being on stage has made me more open in talking to people. Also acting and theatre assist in making friends, and it’s really helped me in school by raising my confidence level. So, there’s a lot you can discover through acting!”


For tickets to this summer's "Into The Woods" at The Media Theatre (July 7-30) call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Performances are Friday nights at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Most roles are double cast, so it's a different cast each weekend!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

MEDIA THEATRE'S 'VOCALIST JUNIOR 2017' IS ON SUNDAY NIGHTS THRU AUGUST 13 WITH TALENTED YOUNG SINGERS

You don’t have to go to NYC to find talented young up-and-coming performers. The Media Theatre’s summer contest “Vocalist Junior” allows local young singers to shine on stage each Sunday night at 7pm now through August 13.

The singers are in the age range of 7-13, so the annual competition is very entertaining for audiences, much like the popular national singing contests on television. Produced by Media Music Theatre Co., the weekly showcases provide ample opportunity for the contestants, allowing them a chance to perform for large audiences while honing their skills on Delaware County’s only professional music theater stage.

The contestants have been culled from recent auditions held at the theater’s new School and Dance Studio. Even though a winner is eventually announced at the end of the six week competition, no one is eliminated until after the fourth week.

“Audiences will actually get to see each contestants grow,” said Media Music Theatre Co. Artistic Director Jesse Cline. “We also look at this as an educational experience. So, rather than singing one song and leaving the competition, each vocalist has the opportunity to learn a bit more about what it takes to perform in front of an audience on a professional stage.”

Cline, as the one constant judge, is a part of an important process in the competition. He will have an extra category on his ballot that will not appear on the guest judges’ tally sheets. His added category is Individualism, which reflects his connection to the singers each week and his rapport with them following their performances.

Cline said. “There may be a week in which a young singer falters a bit, but I will know what they are capable of and who they are. The Individualism category speaks to the fact that each contestant is unique. Their interests and what is best for them should come first. Each has their own story to tell in their own way.”

The guest judges will mark their ballots in three categories:  Song Choice, Vocal Ability, and Stage Presence. Cline will have those three, plus his extra category. All categories will utilize a 1-10 ranking system, with 1 being the lowest score and 10 being the highest.

Online voting will take place again this year, not affecting any outcome until after Week Four. As with the judges’ scoring, the online voting will also be accumulated for four weeks. After Week 4, online scores will be tallied and the person with the most votes online will receive an added 30 points to their total score. The additional points may or may not assist them in moving forward. The second-place online vote-getter will receive an added 25 points, with the third receiving 20 extra. Vote-getters four through 10 receive 15 extra points, and those who rank 11-15 online will gain 10 extra points to possibly move them into the semifinals.

“We value our first-time Media Theatre performers as well as those returning,” Cline said. “To have so many aspiring young vocalists from Delaware County and the Philadelphia region interested in our programs here is a big stamp of approval.”

The top five in each contest receive cash prizes. “Vocalist Junior” is sponsored by Iron Workers Bank. For more information or tickets, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org

The 2017 “Vocalist Junior” contestants are Ella Baker, 10, Media; Savi Bell, 10, Conshohocken;  Jada Bochanski, 10, Broomall; Charlie Carroccio, 7, Newtown Square;  Katie Cotrotsios, 9, West Chester; Sophia Cotrotsios, 12, West Chester; Annie Curry, 11, Broomall; Grace Curry, 13, Broomall; Zachary Divito, 12, Aston; Emily Dogum, 11, Glen Mills; and Gabrielle Dove, 10, Sharon Hill.

Also joining the contest are Katie Foca, 11, Wallingford; Zachary Graaf, 12, Havertown; Adrian Henry, 7, Havertown; Bridget Henry, 10, Havertown; Skylar Kelly, 13, Phoenixville; Khadijah King, 7, Drexel Hill; Lily Lexer, 8, Malvern; Maya Maloskey, 11, Malvern; Natalie Mancini, 10, Broomall; Noelle Mancini, 7, Broomall; Isabella Martinez, 13, Woolwich, NJ.

The list continues with Lauren Mcalee, 11, West Chester; Alexsa Mckeown, 11, Brookhaven;  Fayonna Delisa Morgan, 12, Newark, De;  Zoe Nesbitt, 7, Drexel Hill; Amanda Treston, 13, Malvern; Mary Kate Vink, 13, West Chester; Alexis Whiteside, 11, Morton; and Violet Wiley, 11, of Woodlyn.




Tuesday, July 4, 2017

MEDIA THEATRE STUDENT LEO KONCOS IS MYSTERIOUS IN 'INTO THE WOODS' THIS SUMMER

The Media Theatre has Stephen Sondheim’s Tony winning musical “Into The Woods” on stage this summer, July 7 through July 30. The show is being produced as a teen musical experience, in which a youth cast performs along with two local (and slightly older) actors who have had professional or university experience.

Leo Koncos plays the role of The Mysterious Man. “He tends to appear and disappear at random times to either give advice to other characters or help them in some way to get their wishes,” he said. “This role may seem like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but he also sounds like you should listen to him.”

“We have had a great time rehearsing the show,” Leo added. “It’s been really fun to watch the production come together song by song and we can’t wait to show everyone our take on this Broadway classic!”
LEO KONCOS
Leo has a great fondness for Sondheim’s musical. He explained, “It reminds us about the consequences of chasing and then getting what we wish for. It’s a fun, slightly dark production with great music about fables come to life.  It’s not just about magic beans and glass slippers, but also our deepest fears and desires.”

As he prepares to enter the 9th grade at Strath Haven High School this fall, Leo Koncos remembers other roles he has played. “In middle school I played ensemble roles in “Tarzan” and “The Little Mermaid”. At The Media Theatre, I was in “13” last summer as Simon, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “School of Rock” as James, and as the odd Stage Manager in “The Real Story of Little Red Riding Hood” this past fall.”

Leo Koncos is also a student of The Media Theatre’s Teen Acting Classes. “I tend to procrastinate, but in theatre I cannot do that because I’m working with other actors,” he said. “Theatre assists me in real life because I have to be responsible for my own part of a larger project.”

For tickets to this summer's "Into The Woods" at The Media Theatre (July 7-30) call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Performances are Friday nights at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Most roles are double cast, so it's a different cast each weekend!





Monday, July 3, 2017

ANNA GRACE ROSENTHAL IS THE BAKER'S WIFE THIS SUMMER IN MEDIA'S 'INTO THE WOODS'

The Media Theatre has Stephen Sondheim's Tony winning musical "Into The Woods" on stage this summer, July 7 through July 30. The show is being produced as a teen musical experience, in which a youth cast performs along with two local (and slightly older) actors who have had professional or university experience.

Anna Grace Rosenthal plays the Baker’s Wife in this summer’s “Into The Woods”. She’ll be a high school sophomore this fall, and has been performing for at least five years. “At Media I have been honored to portray Debbie Wilkinson in “Billy Elliot” as well as Carolyn in “The Bridges of Madison County”, which were two professional Broadway Series musicals,” she said. “At other theatres I’ve been Baby June in “Gypsy”, Tootie in “Meet Me In St. Louis”, Brigitta in “The Sound of Music”, Jane Banks in “Mary Poppins”, and was in the Off-Broadway production of “Timmy The Great”. When I was younger, I was Annie.”
ANNA GRACE ROSENTHAL


She feels that “Into The Woods” is very unique. “Up until the ‘80’s, Broadway musicals stayed away from fairy tales,” she said. “At that time they were mostly the province of Disney cartoons. I believe Sondheim’s musical changed that. It’s not a simple tale. The musical intertwines so many unrelated stories, and so many deep- yet simple- emotions. Everything is tied into one coherent musical story, about a Baker and his wife and their wish to have a child. It’s clever, but not so much that it’s difficult to follow. Plus, it’s farcical and tragic at the same time. Sondheim re-imagined fairy tales, casting them in a new light, and making them relevant in a new way for generations to come.”

She continued, “What’s interesting about this production is that most of the cast are teenagers. The show’s director, Jesse Cline, gives us the ability to create our own take on the roles. We have been taught at Media to be instinctive and responsive to other actors on the stage. Seeing how we, the teens, perform this iconic musical will be interesting and surprising.”

As per The Baker’s Wife, Rosenthal says, “She and her husband want a child. This simple desire propels the entire story, as they get caught up in each and every one of the fairy tales. The Baker’s Wife, to me, is a contemporary woman with an everyday problem, who—due to circumstances beyond her control—is being called upon to overcome insurmountable obstacles to achieve her goal.”

“You know, acting is about making choices and so is life,” she explained. “Understanding the role I play helps me to understand how to deal with situations I encounter in my own life.”

She thinks back for a moment on her time in Cline’s production of “The Bridges of Madison County”. “I loved that show,” she said. “The production was wonderful, the music was beautiful, the cast was superb, and I still treasure the entire experience. Being a part of a professional production like that helped me to realize that this is, definitely, the career I seek.”

For tickets to this summer's "Into The Woods" at The Media Theatre (July 7-30) call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. Performances are Friday nights at 7pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 7pm, and Sundays at 3pm. Most roles are double cast, so it's a different cast each weekend!




SAIL INTO A NEW 'LITTLE MERMAID' AT THE MEDIA THEATRE THRU MAY 20

There's a new musical version of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" at The Media Theatre every weekend throug...