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.

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 

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! 


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