The Media Theatre's 2012 fundraising Gala was held Saturday evening February 25. The weather was as supportive as the patrons and attendees, who were treated to a memorable performance by Broadway's legendary Andrea McArdle following a live auction enthusiastically appropriated by Jeffry Cadorette.
Media Real Estate was the Title Platinum Sponsor for the evening. Silver Sponsors included Aqua America, Front Street Fountain, and Keystone Advertising, along with Rita Frey and The Rosenthal Family.
The entire event brought in close to $100,000 for the non-profit professional music theatre. A big assist was the raffle for a London Theatre Trip that had been ongoing since November. The winner of that raffle, announced during the post-show reception, was theatre subscriber Marc Platizky, who will be able to enjoy a week-long trip to The West End Theatre District due to his support of The Media Theatre.
Carole Thaler Roberts, whose family also added their support as Silver Sponsors, was the 2012 Gala Committee Chair. She set the tone for the evening with her opening remarks. “The Media Theatre is much more than quality regional theatre,” she said. “Our theatre is a theatrical force in the northeastern United States, drawing national and international talent to this very stage. It’s an economic engine for the region.”
The evening's honorees accepted their awards graciously and with heartfelt turns at the podium. FOX-TV's Sue Serio spoke to the importance of having a professional music theatre in Media and the fact that she has been drawn to the quality of the productions and the educational opportunities for youth since her family moved to Delaware County in the 1990's. She received the Arts Advocate Award for her consistent support during her weather broadcasts on "Good Day Philadelphia" and her involvement the past two summers with "Delco Idol" as a volunteer emcee. Her acceptance speech mentioned 'a great staff' and 'the warmth of the theatre's environment'.
P. Brendan Mulvey, a professional actor from Philadelphia and an educator at Bucks County Community College, received the Walter M. Strine, Sr. Award for his philanthropy. The Walter M. Strine, Sr. Award was named after the entrepreneur who established the live music theatre on State Street in 1994. Mulvey's acceptance speech was humorous, lively, and had the crowd of almost 400 in the palm of his hand.
"I have played in theatres all over the country," Mulvey said. "While many may be larger or smaller, none of them can match the quality and vitality of this one."
The crowd, which had in its attendance several prominent attorneys, enjoyed his sense of humor, particularly when Mulvey stated "Walter Strine was certainly a visionary philanthropist to have contributed so much to the restoration of this wonderful theatre. And being here tonight, you must all realize what a boon it is for Media--a cultural gem shining brilliantly amongst all the lawyers here in the seat of Delaware County!"
Both Mulvey and Serio were given their awards following a welcoming speech from Delaware County Council's Dave White. "Our County is so fortunate to have such a wonderful cultural landmark as The Media Theatre," he said. "The staff and performers contribute to our community in so many ways. We all enjoy the musicals and children's shows, but the theatre also serves our residents through education, outreach to youth, involvement with veterans, partnering with other businesses in Media, and showcasing a troupe of adults with disabilities."
He closed by stating that "One of Council's main priorities is economic development, and The Media Theatre not only provides jobs, but attracts people and revenue to the Borough and the County. It is an economic success story during challenging times."
Following the celebratory remarks, the audience was treated to a memorable performance by Broadway's legendary Andrea McArdle, who sparkled. In a beautiful white dress, standing center stage with a microphone next to her accompanist Steve Marzullo--who conducts "Mamma Mia" --she reminded the audience that a simple, elegant presentation is award worthy in itself. With selections ranging from music theatre standards to pop titles that included a tribute to the recently departed Whitney Houston, McArdle's stunning performance received lengthy applause throughout, welcoming the audience at the start just as a friend opens the doors to their home.