CJ Melton Shines in WBTT's Young Artist Showcase

Arts & Culture

Picutred: Young artist Charlie CJ Melton will present his Young Artist Program showcase I Sing Because I'm Happy; I Sing Because I'm Free on Sunday, May 19 at WBTT. Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

This weekend, head over to Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s Donnelly Theatre for a one of a kind performance starring one of the area’s prominent up and coming vocalists. I Sing Because I’m Happy; I Sing Because I’m Free will star Charlie “CJ” Melton in the organization’s final Young Artist Program showcase of the season.

WBTT’s Young Artist Program, currently in its 11th year, is an initiative dedicated to the development and ultimately showcasing the talents of young, budding artists of color. Through the program, artists like Melton are mentored by WBTT’s production staff, including Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs, so that they can develop the skills necessary to develop and present their own original production. These showcases, of which there are only three a year, serve as a launching pad for these young artists as they blossom into their professional careers.

I Sing, is a self-produced, solo show from Melton that will feature him singing some of his favorite songs from the Gospel and R&B catalog, with numbers like I’m Blessed by Charlie Wilson, So Amazing by Luther Vandross, Shackles by Mary Mary and more. While Melton will have on stage support from a few fellow WBTT artists, the show is his own and a true reflection of who he is as an artist. “I grew up singing Gospel music, building my singing career by performing at local churches,” says Melton. “Now, I’m able to travel and give that same energy at a more mature level. The sound and feeling of Gospel music just touches me.”

While I Sing is Melton’s first solo show, the talented vocalist, songwriter and aspiring actor is no stranger to WBTT’s stage. Melton, who is also a full-time certified preschool teacher, first worked with WBTT in 2014 and has been a part of several mainstage productions ever since. “I think it’s awesome to be able to express myself through my gift, my talent of singing and give the audience everything I have. To give them something to feel and love and walk away feeling encouraged,” says Melton. “The creation of this show is a lot of work, but I have such an amazing team here that’s able to help me. With Mr. Jacobs’ mentorship, I’ve learned that there’s nothing I can’t do.”

May 19 at 7:30 pm, The Donelly Theatre at WBTT, 1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota.


Picutred: Young artist Charlie CJ Melton will present his Young Artist Program showcase I Sing Because I'm Happy; I Sing Because I'm Free on Sunday, May 19 at WBTT. Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

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