Thursday, March 5, 2020


Eagles tackle-turned-inspirational speaker will emcee
Media Theatre’s star-studded Gala March 28!

Auction items feature ‘Dinner with Playwright Ray Didinger,”
chance to witness a New York audition, and tickets to Jimmy Fallon show.

Stroll down Media’s State Street on any day and you will notice – and hear -- a building that literally sings! The music, wafting out from the marquee, makes people smile, puts a spring in their step and a song in their heart.

Yes, the historic Media Theatre literally sings inside and out. Within the theater, people of all ages are taught to sing, performers sing on stage and audiences sing in their seats.

“Theatre That Sings” is the theme of the 2020 Media Theatre Gala, a star-studded night of food, fellowship, music and an exciting auction. The Gala is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28 and everyone is invited to the party – to sing! 

Funds raised help sustain the historic theatre, continuing the music for another 25 years. Members of the community are invited to attend.

Media Theatre is a landmark in Delaware County, yet keeping the doors open at any
cultural institution is a challenge. The mission of the annual Gala is to supplement ticket sales in order to offer not only Broadway musicals, but acting classes, children’s theatre, special events and concerts, and a performance troupe of individuals with special needs. By attending, people will help keep this building singing for years to come.

                              Kevin Reilly is Emcee
This year’s Gala, chaired by Mike Van Horn, features a list of luminaries starting with
the emcee, Kevin Reilly. Reilly is a former Eagles football player who, in 1976, lost his left arm and shoulder to cancer, inspiring him to become a motivational author, speaker and mentor to others who have lost their limbs. A native of Wilmington, Del., he shares his story with audiences in hopes of inspiring people to overcome their challenges, including victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, recuperating soldier and special needs students. As Gala emcee, he will no doubt get the Gala crowd enthused and engaged.

                           Win Dinner with Didinger
One of the auction items at the Gala is dinner with local playwright Ray Didinger and
Artistic Director Jesse Cline. Didinger is an author, radio/TV broadcaster, filmmaker and journalist. A Delco native, he started his newspaper career with a stint at the Delaware County Daily Times in 1968. He wrote the beloved play, “Tommy and Me,” about Didinger’s lifelong friendship with his boyhood idol, Eagles receiver Tommy McDonald. His play was embraced by Eagles fans when it was staged at the Media Theatre. With his wide array of talents and encyclopedic knowledge of all things Delco, Dinner with Didinger will be a night to remember. BID ON THIS AUCTION ITEM NOW AND GET MORE INFO HERE

                        Taping of Jimmy Fallon Show
Another exciting auction item features a trip to New York to see a taping of “The Jimmy Fallon Show” at Rockefeller Center, along with dinner and an overnight stay at the Edison Hotel. Fallon is an award-winning comedian who started out with “Saturday Night Live” in 1998 and rose to acclaim for his witty, insightful and hilarious takes on modern pop culture.

                     What Happens at an Audition?
You hear celebrities – even the legendary ones – talk about how nerve-wracking an
audition is. One lucky Media Theatre auction winner will get to experience the audition process with Artistic Director Jesse Cline when he goes to Manhattan to audition actors for upcoming shows at the theatre. This is a fascinating process and the guests will also have dinner at Carmine’s with the Media Theatre staff.

                                    Gala Honorees
As part of the Gala, the Media Theatre board and staff will present the Walter M. Strine
Advocate of The Media Theatre Award to NBC10 for its excellent coverage of the theatre, along with all arts and culture in the community. Award-winning anchor Rosemary Connors along with Philly Live host Aunyea Lachelle have consistently highlighted the Broadway-style productions on the Media stage.

The Community Partnership Award will be presented to the Boys and Girls Club of
Chester. Through a grant from Exelon Generation, the Media Theatre collaborated with the Boys and Girls Club to involve youth in an acting workshop that resulted in an introspective play, “Choices.” The show focused on the challenges faced by at-risk youth growing up in Chester.

                               Gala Entertainment
Of course the “Theatre That Sings” will present performances by Media favorites such as Patrick Ludt (pictured above), who played Franklin Roosevelt in “Eleanor,” plus Ashley Sweetman, who stars as one of the expectant mothers in the current show “Baby,” John Smitherman, also in “Baby,” members of the theatre's student Youth Ensemble and the State Street Miracles.

The Media Theatre, Delco’s only professional theatre, brings the excitement of live,
Broadway-style musicals to local residents. The theatre, built in 1927 as a movie theatre, included dressing rooms with the thought that movies were a fad. The Media theatre is the second largest employer in Media after Delaware County government. For “Gala” information, call 610-891-0100 or visit the website at

Friday, February 14, 2020


Is there anything more exciting, frightening and utterly transformational than impending parenthood? 
"BABY", the musical from the acclaimed duo Richard Maltby, Jr., and David Shire, examines how parents-to-be experience the emotional stresses and triumphs, as well as the desperate lows and the comic highs that accompany the anticipation and arrival of a baby.

Three couples on a university campus deal with the painful, rewarding and agonizingly funny consequences of the universal experience of pregnancy and upcoming parenthood. There are the college students, barely at the beginning of their adult lives; the thirty-somethings, having trouble conceiving but determined to try; and the middle-aged parents, looking forward to seeing their last child graduate from college… when a night of unexpected passion lands them back where they started.
Jesse Cline will direct the musical at The Media Theatre, which is on stage          March 11-29. Christian Ryan assists Cline and choreographs, with Ben Kapilow as Music Director.
Tickets are available at or by calling 610-891-0100
The cast of BABY is:
Lizzie....Katie Emery
Danny...Gregory Power
Pam...Ashley Sweetman
Nick...Evan Ross Brody
Arlene...Pam Jorgensen
Alan....John D. Smitherman
The Ensemble consists of Sara Braslow, Patrick Ludt, Kimberly Maxson, Wyatt McManus, Leah Senseney, Grant Struble, Ryane Nicole Studivant, and Tiara Whaley

Monday, February 10, 2020

MEDIA THEATRE'S GALA IS MARCH 28, 2020! Here Is A Bit Of The Theatre's History

The Media Theatre: 
26 Years of Professional Music Theatre!
"Theatre That Sings" Gala Event March 28, 2020

The interior of The Media Theatre, as it appeared 26 years ago prior to the opening night of "My Fair Lady"
It was 26 years ago that the marquee was illuminated with the first ever professional musical production in Media, “My Fair Lady”. A sold out crowd of Delaware County and Philadelphia’s most prominent personalities, politicians, and influential names attended the opening night. Before the majestic red curtain opened for the legendary musical’s first scene, Tony nominated Broadway actress Ann Crumb introduced “Philadelphia’s newest professional musical stage” to roaring applause.

Rockwell Productions, with Artistic Director Jesse Cline, was a for-profit entity at the time. Walter Strine, Sr. of Media Real Estate, had the vision to renovate the old movie house as a live performing arts center, and chose “My Fair Lady” as the first production in honor of his loving wife, Elizabeth.

As time passed, more legendary musicals were brought to the stage by Cline: “Carousel”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Annie”, “South Pacific”, and famed operettas “The New Moon”, “Rose Marie”, and “The Student Prince” to name a few. Each season, within a 12 month period, six professional musicals were staged. Two of the most popular during the for-profit’s 7 years of productions were “Meet Me In St. Louis” and “42nd Street”, which brought in huge audiences of over 12,000 each. The musicals, prior to appearing at The Media Theatre, had shorter runs in Milton, PA, where the productions began.

During this time period, from 1994 forward, there was also a not-for-profit entity – The Society For the Performing Arts of The Media Theatre. The Society, through fundraising, produced The Media Theatre’s Children’s Series, Concerts, and Special Events.

In December of 2000, Rockwell Productions produced its final musical. Artistic Director Jesse Cline remained as the head of the non-profit entity (The Society for The Performing Arts). He and his life partner, Executive Director Patrick Ward, began producing professional musicals with the assistance of Walter Strine, Sr., so that The Media Theatre would continue to operate as a full-fledged Broadway style house for classic and new musicals.
The exterior of The Media Theatre in a recent photo
Since that time, every production produced by Cline and his staff has been under the auspices of the non-profit Society. It was Cline, Ward, and Strine’s wish that the marquee would continue to light up State Street as one of Philadelphia’s most popular music theatres.

As time went by, in 2003, Mr. Strine sold the historic Media Theatre with a combination of State and local grants to the Borough of Media. Mayor Bob McMahon became a conduit to the borough during this time period, working with Cline and Ward, in establishing a 30 year lease with the borough through the non-profit Society so that the award-winning musicals would continue to have a home.

As a non-profit professional music theatre company and with Jesse Cline as its visionary, The Media Theatre has become nationally recognized. Performers in its musicals have included Emmy Winner Wanda Sykes, who appeared as Miss Hannigan in 2010’s “Annie” (which is, to date, the theatre company’s most successful production ever). Other marquee names have included Tony nominee Ann Crumb (“Master Class”, “Wings”, “Souvenir”, “Sunset Boulevard”), American Idol’s Justin Guarini (“Chicago”), and the legendary Andrea McArdle (“Mame”, “Hello Dolly”).

There have also been Tony winners of note who have performed at the theatre’s annual Gala and benefit concerts: Betty Buckley, Judy Kaye, Il Divo’s David Miller, and Alice Ripley. Even Tony nominee Josh Young, a Delaware County native, entertained audiences on State Street.

A photo from "Mame" starring Broadway's legendary Andrea McArdle, which was on The Media Theatre stage in 2013.
Cline has led The Media Theatre to award-winning status with “Best Of” honors from The Philadelphia Inquirer, Delaware County Daily Times, Main Line Times, and Broadway World. On a national level, The New York Daily News referred to The Media Theatre as an ‘iconic cornerstone of Delaware County’.

The music theatre company has also been honored by The US Congress and The PA House of Representatives for its work with The State Street Miracles, a performance troupe of adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities that was created by Cline and Delco’s Patricia Cofiell in 2006. The Miracles are often referred to as “Great Ambassadors for Music Theatre and The Media Theatre” due to their moving performances.

An integral part of Cline’s vision and mission is the educational component of The Media Theatre. In the year 2000, as the company became a non-profit, he created and established Camp Media Theatre, a summer day camp learning experience for ages 5-14. Initially a four week camp, the summer event grew in popularity each year, and now offers ten weeks of camp (five two-week sessions).

From The Media Theatre's Teen Camp Musical three years ago, "School Of Rock", which also featured an ensemble of younger performers who portrayed 'the students'.

Camp Media Theatre expanded in 2002 to a Teen Broadway Camp in which camp participants rehearse and perform an entire two-act musical working with professional directors and designers. The first Teen Camp production, “West Side Story”, performed for only one weekend after a two-week rehearsal process. The productions sold out at the time, and since then the Teen Camp grew to a three-week rehearsal process and an entire month of weekend performances (four per weekend).

During the non-summer months, Cline created and still oversees The Media Theatre’s School of the Theatre. Acting Classes are offered for young children, as well as an intermediate level, a Tween Class, a Teen Class, and an Adult Class. There are Fall, Winter, and Spring sessions of Acting Class with each having over 60 students regularly.

Noticing that there was a need for a more exclusive type of learning experience for youth who had expressed a possible interest in the theatre as a career, Cline created the conservatory-style New School several years ago. Only up to 30 students are accepted into the New School each year, where they learn in a Master Class environment. Cline instructs the acting component of The New School, and Resident Music Director Ben Kapilow instructs the vocal music portion.

One of the most unique attributes of The Media Theatre’s educational programs is that the students involved are invited, several times a year, to participate in the theatre’s Children’s Series. There, they become involved in a rehearsal process as they begin to bring titles such as “Cinderella”, “Jack Frost”, and others to life on the stage utilizing their personalities within the context of the script. The Children’s Series shows are performed by the students, with one or two special guest adult actors, each weekend in front of general public audiences.

With all of these ingredients of a professional music theatre, The Media Theatre certainly adds more than a bright marquee to the borough of Media. It is the second largest employer in the borough, after the Court House, with its ever-changing cast of actors for each show, musical theatre orchestra pit performers, directors, designers, and box office staff. Audiences who attend the musicals and children’s shows often visit the local restaurants for lunch or dinner and browse the local shops. This includes the groups that are ‘bussed in’ to attend weekday matinees throughout the year. The audiences have been a major asset to the local economy.

The Media Theatre's Artistic Director Jesse Cline
All of the previously mentioned components of The Media Theatre have been happening now for 26 years! At the annual Gala benefit on March 28, 2020, which includes a reception prior to the evening’s entertainment, these programs will be highlighted and celebrated. Special guests will speak, and honorees will assist The Media Theatre in looking forward to the future. The night's honorees are NBC 10 (Arts Advocate Award) and The Boys and Girls Club of Chester (Community Partnership Award).

So, when you purchase your ticket to the March 28th benefit or sponsor the event, you are a large part of The Media Theatre’s integral and appreciated family. For, without your support, local youth with a passion for music theatre would not have their ‘beacon of light’ on State Street, and professional actors, designers, directors, and musicians would have one less marquee inviting them ‘home’.

Most importantly, with your support, you are assisting to provide much needed updated microphones for the professional actors in the Broadway Series. For what is "Theatre That Sings" unless you are able to hear the song in all of its clarity and beauty? This means you will have many more days and evenings of entertainment coming up for audiences of all ages. 

To join The Media Theatre at its 26th Anniversary Benefit Gala Event on March 28, call 610-891-0100 or visit Tickets are $150 per person, which includes the reception, an entertaining and moving one-night-only concert event, and much more. 

Monday, January 27, 2020


U.S. Rep. Scanlon reflects on “Eleanor’s” legacy at Media Theatre

“Talk Back” with Congresswoman to follow Feb. 9 matinee of “Eleanor” musical

Weeks after joining thousands of women 
at the Jan. 18 Women’s March in Philadelphia,
U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon will meet with constituents 
in a more intimate setting -- 
The Media Theatre.

Rep. Scanlon will reflect on the remarkable legacy of 
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt
during a Talk Back session 
following the Feb. 9 matinee of “Eleanor, An American Love Story,”
the history-based musical playing at the Media Theatre Jan. 29 to Feb. 23.

“Eleanor” is based on the early lives of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, 
from their passionate courtship, 
through their complicated marriage with a domineering mother-in-law, 
to Eleanor’s emerging role as a catalyst for social change in America. 

Patrons of the play will learn that 
Eleanor’s courage, compassion and advocacy for human rights 
are as relevant today as they were in the 1920s.

As one of the first elected U.S. Congresswomen 
to represent the Commonwealth, 
Rep. Scanlon also advocates for social change. 

Sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives 
on Nov. 13, 2018, she represents Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District.

Rep. Scanlon is an education and human rights activist. 
Her priorities in Congress include voting rights, education, 
common sense gun safety legislation and protecting the rights of
children, families, veterans and senior citizens.

Like Eleanor Roosevelt, she works tirelessly 
'for equality, justice and opportunity for all Americans, 
while also being dedicated to her family in Swarthmore.

In addressing the Philadelphia Women’s March, 
Scanlon said: “Three years ago, women right here in the birthplace of our nation 
and everywhere around the country…took to the streets
to demand equality, opportunity, justice and to be heard. 
'We march forward because we refuse to go back.”

Congresswoman Scanlon serves as Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, 
the House Rules Committee and the House Select Committee 
on the Modernization of Congress.

She previously served as national pro bono counsel 
at a major U.S. law firm where she directed lawyers 
who provided pro bono legal services to low-income clients. 
Under her leadership, the pro bono program 
worked on issues such as voting rights, child advocacy,
immigration, fair housing, public benefits, 
criminal justice reform and freedom of the press.

A graduate of Colgate University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, 
she and her husband Mark have three children.

The Talk Back will take place after the 3 p.m. matinee of “Eleanor” 
at the Media Theatre.
Only those attending the matinee will be invited to remain 
after the show for the Talk Back.

Ticket information:
“Eleanor, An American Love Story” 
runs Jan. 29 to Feb. 23 at the Media Theatre, 
104 E. State St., Media. 

For show times and ticket information visit the website at or call the Media Theatre, 610-891-0100.

Monday, January 6, 2020


A rarely produced musical that chronicles the story of the shy young aristocrat who was destined to become our First Lady, "Eleanor, An American Love Story", will be at The Media Theatre January 29 through February 23.

Warmth, humor, and insight propel the story of the evolving relationship between Eleanor and Franklin including their passionate courtship, tumultuous marriage, and the courage that eventually led to Eleanor’s emergence as a catalyst for social change.
Music by Thomas Tierney; Lyrics by John Forster; Book by Jonathon Bolt
Songs include “How The Other Half Lives”, “Our Beautiful Daughters” and “The New Century Walk”
The Washington City Paper says the show is “A snappy throwback to the era when Broadway musicals knew what they were about and how to entertain.”
It's an especially relevant musical for today's times, as it highlights a champion for women's rights.
Directed by Jesse Cline, with Ben Kapilow as Music Director, "Eleanor, An American Love Story" has a cast of professional actors and features a live orchestra, as do all of The Media Theatre's Broadway Series musicals. TICKETS HERE

The cast of "Eleanor" is:
Eleanor Roosevelt.............Maxwell Porterfield
Franklin Delano Roosevelt............Patrick Ludt*
Sara Roosevelt..............................Susan Wefel
Louis Howe...................................Roger Ricker*
Alice Roosevelt.............................Hannah Parke*
Teddy Roosevelt...........................Kelly Briggs*
Lucy Mercer..................................Chelsea Aubert
Ensemble: Sara Braslow*, Chris Fitting, Rusty Flounders*, Leah Senseney, Grant Struble, JJ Vavrik, Marissa Wolner*
Young Eleanor.....Lila Bea Hannon/ Lily Jo Shelkin
Young James.......Elliott Boldin/ Preston Newton
Teen James..........Zachary Amos/ Tyler Matthewz
Teen Anna............Grace Conroy/ Madison Van Horn
Maria.....................Lulu Spinelli/ Chloe Tomaszewski
Spike.....................Reese Masiello/ Sutton Gold
Pepini....................Charlie Carroccio/ Zoe Nesbitt
*Member Actors Equity Association


Eagles tackle-turned-inspirational speaker will emcee Media Theatre’s star-studded Gala March 28! Auction items feature ‘Dinner with Play...