“I have been interested in theatre for as long as I can remember. I think the main reason the stage has always been appealing to me is because in a small town like Huber Heights, you don’t have many opportunities to express yourself and I knew that high school theatre would be a sort of creative outlet for me.”
And finding his creative outlet in high school theatre is exactly what Wayne High School senior, Tray Shelton, has done.
Tray first got a taste for the boards during his sophomore year when he stepped into the role of James Keller in Wayne’s production, The Miracle Worker, for which he received a Floorboard Award for “best newcomer.” Since that first appearance he has enjoyed lead roles in Anything Goes, The Importance Of Being Earnest, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).
Being in front of an audience and seeing the reactions to events on stage explains why Wayne’s Thespian Society/Drama Club president is enthusiastic about performing.
“My favorite thing to hear is laughter because it means I’m doing something to make the audience happy and that makes me happy.”
Tray claims that his favorite show is The Miracle Worker, which was his first production. Playing the role of Helen Keller’s older brother introduced him to character development while learning how theatre functions.
The third weekend of November will find Tray in what he believes to be his favorite role, portraying George Hay in Ken Ludwig’s 1995 Broadway hit, Moon Over Buffalo.
“It’s a challenging role because George spends the entire second act intoxicated. I am enjoying working on the differences between ‘drunk George’ and ‘sober George’. It’s almost like playing two characters at once which is a fun and unique experience. I also love the fact that I am an actor playing an actor. It’s fun to play into all of the stereotypes associated with actors.”
When preparing for a role, the Wayne thespian admits that memorizing blocking comes rather naturally. However, line memorization is often difficult due to spending countless hours after school each day.
Still, cramming lines and life into the busy schedule of a high school senior has not dampened his spirits. Tray’s future plans include studying at Wittenberg, or Wright State, pursuing a degree in theatre. One day, he dreams of playing Angel in Rent.
Feeling as though he got a late start in performing, Tray encourages younger students to get involved earlier than high school by seeking performing opportunities in school, church or community venues.
“I waited until my sophomore year to join the drama club and while it has still been a wonderful experience I have always wished it could have lasted just a little bit longer.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to see Tray Shelton and fellow Wayne performers in Moon Over Buffalo, November 19, 20, & 21, 2009 in the Wayne High School Auditorium. Thursday & Friday curtains will rise at 7:00pm, and Saturday’s matinee begins at 2:00pm. Wayne Sporting Goods will begin selling tickets two weeks before the show. Tickets can also be purchased one hour prior to curtain. Admission for preferred seating are $8, and general admission is $5. International Thespian Society members can get tickets half price with a valid membership card (one per card).