T.J. has a passion for theatre and does not allow his hematologic disorder to stand in the way of that. He has appeared in numerous productions at Fort Worth’s Casa Manana and Community Arts Center, and when he had the opportunity to experience a wish, he set his sights on Broadway.
After receiving a bone marrow transplant in the fall of 2013, he was unable to travel for one year. Wish granters explored multiple options with T.J. but it became clear that he wanted to wait to experience his one true wish.
“It’s always been my dream to be an actor”, said T.J. “To be on Broadway!"
In April of 2015, T.J. learned his wish was coming true and, along with two other wish kids from California and Utah, was invited to appear in a matinee performance of Broadway’s new hit, On The Town. The Tony Award-nominated musical showcasing three sailors trying to cram a year's worth of fun into 24 hours of shore leave.
T.J. and his family traveled to New York City and were treated to a magical tour of life on Broadway including a backstage tour of the Lyric Theatre. He and his fellow wish kid actors practiced their scenes with Chip Abbott, the show's dance captain, went through a dress rehearsal and wardrobe fitting before seeing the evening's show for the first time.
“What a memorable experience we all had,” said Sherri, T.J.’s mom. “Such great folks with big hearts!”
The next night, in his Broadway debut, T.J. was featured in a Playbill insert and acted as a sailor in the night club scene that opens the second act.
“When I first stepped on the Broadway stage, it was euphoric,” said T.J. “It’s something that I’ve been working towards for years now.”
He was a natural on stage and proudly took a bow to thunderous applause of 1,300 people in Broadway’s largest theatre at the end of the performance.
“That final bow was really hard. I had to choke back tears,” explained T.J. “I’m so glad that Make-A-Wish and On The Town could help me experience this.”
T.J.’s wish truly put his name in lights and solidified his passion for musical theatre. He regularly performs at Casa Manana in Fort Worth, took part in "Big Fish" this summer there and is now a musical theater major at Coastal Carolina University.