18 year old John Viggiano, of Downingtown, took the honor as being the best of the best at “The Vocalist” 2018 Contest. The annual competition, produced at The Media Theatre, was held for three weeks on Wednesday nights in July. It has been sponsored by Iron Workers Bank for the past decade.
Viggiano wowed the judges and the crowd during the finals, after making it to the Top Five, with his rendition of “Words Fail” from the Tony Award winning musicalDear Evan Hanson. The young singer performed songs from various musicals throughout the competition and will be attending Ryder University in the Fall, studying Theater.
He walked away with the top prize of $750 in cash, plus a $250 gift certificate to The Media Theatre.
Downingtown’s John Viggiano upon hearing his name called as the winner of 
“The Vocalist 2018” at The Media Theatre on Wednesday July 25. Standing with him is second place winner Ben Mergott, 17, of Swarthmore.
Second place, and a cash prize of $250, went to Swarthmore’s 17 year old Ben Mergott, who performed a mix of classic pop tunes and musical theatre pieces during the three week event.
In third place was Philadelphia’s Julia deGruchy, 22, with Glenolden’s 17 year old Lauren Faulkner taking fourth place. 18 year old Brooke Falls, also of Glenolden, rounded out the Top Five.
The 2018 Vocalist Winner’s Circle. At left is fourth place winner Lauren Faulkner, with third place Julia deGruchy. Second place winner Ben Mergott stands next to Iron Worker’s Bank President John Whittig, the “Vocalist” sponsor.
Winner John Viggiano is next, with fifth place Vocalist Brooke Falls.
Seated are emcee Kelly Briggs and The Media Theatre’s Artistic Director Jesse Cline.
The winners were chosen from a pool of judges who ranked them on a scale of 1 to 10 each week in the categories of Vocals, Stage Presence, and Song Choice. The Media Theatre’s Artistic Director Jesse Cline was the one constant judge who had an extra category for Individualism. Cline is on stage throughout the contest, as he chats with the contestants each week following their performances.
Assisting in the tabulations was the Online & Public Voting, during which the general public and “Vocalist” audiences were able to place votes for their favorite contestants either online or at the theatre.
The judges’ scores account for the highest percentage of the final outcome. Additional points are added to those who receive the highest Online & Public Voting amounts. The scores were accumulated throughout the three week contest, with no judges’ scores or votes eliminated.  
“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 “Sweeney Todd” coming up in the fall,” Cline said. “The cast is made up of professional actors from auditions we held in New York and here in Media for the Philadelphia region. Our 2018-19 Broadway Series is exceptional, so go online and visit our web page for dates and times.”
“The Vocalist 2018” was emceed each week by Kelly Briggs, who appeared on Broadway in “Cats” and several other musicals.  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 “Sweeney Todd”, “The Wizard of OZ”, “Julius Caesar”, “Beehive” , and “Saturday Night Fever”.