Move over Kinky Boots

Part 2

Photo by Kimberly Lochner

This is a repost of a story I did about TJ who is a struggling performing arts student. I wanted to give a shout out to his GoFundMe campaign. We all know that college is so expensive in this country and it is a shame that a man with so much talent might miss his opportunity. Thanks in advance and if you can help support TJ with his GoFundMe campaign.

Hey, Everyone, it’s me TJ Shelton and I’m raising money to continue my education at AMDA!!! When I found out that I was accepted my mother and I was so excited. She was happy that I was finally going to leave and live my dream of being on Broadway. I have done many shows over the course of 6 years and those shows were both high school and community theatre productions such as Anything Goes, 42nd Street, The Wiz and Chicago. I was also named dance captain after just one year of being in the ensemble from my sophomore year to senior year. I have also choreographed many productions in the Middle Georgia area such as Warner Robins High School’s Region Winning One-Act Production of “The Wiz” and Perry Players production of “Anything Goes”. My mother came to every single performance and never got bored or tired with the shows and gave me flowers at the end of every performance. My mother has raised my siblings and I independently and she has always given me what I needed when I needed it and she is doing her best to keep me in New York but it’s really tough. Throughout this journey, I learned that your family is always going to love and support you no matter what and they taught me that we may not have much money but we have a lot of love. AMDA is a place where I feel important and loved and my mother wants me to live my dream in New York and I know that this financial aid will help. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my GoFundMe and I hope you have a blessed day!

Tell us a little about TJ.

I’m originally from Warner Robins, Georgia. I moved to New York in October of 2017 to attend college at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy to study Musical Theatre. I love going to see Broadway shows and I love choreographing and performing dance numbers.

How long have you been performing?

I’ve been performing for about 15 years. I started taking jazz and tap classes when I was 4. When I entered High School I started to do a lot of musicals and voice lessons.

What is your favorite musical? What was your most memorable performance?

KINKY BOOTS!!! Lola has been my DREAM role since I was 12. I won the Kinky Boots lottery and I got a chance to see it with my friend Briget.

J. Harrison Ghee was Lola and Jake Shears was Charlie and I was loving every moment of it!!!! I listen to the cast album every day on repeat when I stretch and I already memorized all of the choreography. (haha) So Jerry Mitchell, if you read this hit me up, all I need is one rehearsal!

My most memorable performance was when I played Scarecrow in my community theatre production of “The Wiz”. It was amazing to play a role that I have been watching Michael Jackson do in the film ever since I was 4 and my family was so excited to see it!!

Who has been the single most influential person in your life and why?

I actually have two people. My first is my mother because she has sacrificed so much for me to be happy and for me to be in New York. She did this all while raising two other kids by herself. She is literally my hero and without her, I wouldn’t be here.

The other person is my former dance teacher Richard Frazier. I have known him since I was 13 and he has taught me so much about life. He showed me how to be myself and he is like a father to me. He pushes me to go above and beyond when I perform and I am always calling him when I have a problem.

What is next for TJ?

I start auditioning for musicals in February of 2019 and I graduate from AMDA in May of 2019. I’m excited for whatever life throws at me while I’m in New York!!

If you want to keep up with what is happening in TJ’s life or see what new show he is working on, you can follow him on Instagram tj_broadwayboy.