AJ Project Voice Box

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

70th Tony Awards Viewing Party to Benefit The AJ Project-June 12th

The Videos are up from the Tony Viewing Party!!!! Check them out 

Special Shout out to our friends Jeff Blumenkrantz, Amanda Lamotte, Heather Purcells and Natlaie Charles Ellis, live from Broadway, who helped out with the Trivia Questions!

and to our performers

Haley Claire, Rachel Lauria, Kitty Perrelli and Alexander Sage Owen

(Tag yourself and Share!)  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmTqZ-ypm8zRs-nXmkSs6TyXJnNb1Ehij

Thank you to all who came out and had a fun night celebrating the Tony Awards with us at The Astor Room in Astoria!  Sign up for our newsletter to receive information about our upcoming events!

http://www.4theajproject.org/supporters   

TonyParty6X3.jpg

About

The evening featured special performances, trivia and raffles hosted by

Comedian, Cate Weinberg and Choreographer, Steven Cardona.  

Tickets were $20 in advance and $25 at the door which included 1 free drink and a light menu.

7 PM- The Astor Room  35-11 35th Ave Astoria, NY 11106

 #4AJ #tonypartynyc 


 

Want to host a Friendraising event in your area?  Contact Christine@4theajproject.org

 

donate-button.jpg  

Read more
9 reactions Share

In his own words: “About Me”

One month before he passed away, AJ finally finished his website.

On there he wrote an “About Me.” These are his words.

AJ_head_beard.JPG


About Me

First the fun stuff. I am the oldest of four children, a native New Yorker, I love all music from Mozart to Marilyn Manson and everything in between, and a little fun fact, I know the tune to practically every song in history and the words to almost absolutely NONE of them ;-) Now my story.

At the age of three or four, I pointed (so I've been told) at the television screen in our small railroad apartment in Astoria, looked up to my mother and father and told them that I wanted to go THERE. They thought I was referring to Sesame Street. Of course that probably would have been a fantastic idea, but I think I was truthfully referring to the shows, movies, and stories that were constantly captivating me as a child.

By the age of ten, I started to do children’s musicals and plays with local theaters. By twelve, I was in the recording studio doing voiceover work for children’s shows and “English as a second language” tapes. By thirteen, I was told you needed be a "triple threat" and realized that I had two left feet and couldn’t dance.

I decided (after some convincing) that I would start to attend a tap and jazz class just to shake off the awkwardness. Apparently there was some dance in me after all. Nine months later I was offered a full ride scholarship to a dance school in Orlando, Florida. I practically lived in the studio and started to do all forms of dance.  I had the fortunate experience of winning scholarships to New York and California to study even further and also become part of DDK, a pro am dance troupe. Remember this was way before it was cool to be a male dancer but I did it and loved it.

Five years later I was looking at a professional dance career.  I started scoping out ballet companies to audition for after high school graduation and hoped to get to the next level.  Well, as the adults and teachers in your life tell you, and as the semi old adage goes...“you should always have a backup because you never know what could happen.  Dance is physical and you could have an accident and your career is over.”  I didn’t have a backup, nor did I want one.  I knew that I wanted to be on stage, sharing myself and story telling.  This was the only life for me.

As luck would have it, three weeks before high school graduation, I was involved in a horrible car crash.  I graduated high school in a wheelchair and my newly found dreams of becoming a professional dancer was dashing away.  I was told by the doctors that it would take between a year and a half to two years to completely recover to normalcy and also to “find a new ambition”.  They suggested that I would not be able to dance after the surgeries and the rod they put in my thigh attached to my femur may not allow me to gain my full strength.  I had a choice and my “I don’t have time for this” kicked in.

Within four months, I was out of my wheelchair.  Within one year, I was dancing again in my first show.  From there,  I decided to push the envelope and stare the “you can’t do this” in the eye.  I trained and was hired to became a professional stilt walker with Universal Studios.  My next goal was the arial arts and the silks.  I did that too.  I worked with several cirque companies throughout Central Florida.

After landing an international tour with Disney Live and Feld Entertainment, I traveled Asia and Europe for three years as an actor, dancer, and puppeteer.  When I decided to leave the tour, I knew it was time to return to my roots and true passion.  I knew that my dance shelf life would be coming to an end sooner than later. I also knew the longevity and strength it took to be on stage was getting more difficult for me due to my injuries.

Not so sure what I was going to do I moved to New York.  I had some fear for the first time in my life.  I auditioned for dance gigs, did some commercial work and picked up odd jobs to keep the money flowing.  What if I couldn't do this? Be this?  

It was then that it hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was as if the clouds had cleared.  I became so obvious to me that EVERYTHING happens for a reason.  I would have never stopped dancing, and would have never been able to fully return and commit to my original and still very alive dream of being a professional and well trained actor if it weren’t for some bigger power putting something like an accident of that nature in my way.

It was at that point I put the dance shoes back on the shelf for a while.  I applied for and was accepted to The William Esper Acting Studio.  I diligently studied in many different classes of the craft and completed the two year acting program in May 2012. Since then my life has been committed to growing and learning within my craft as an actor.

I am applying my life experience and world travel to my work to become the fullest, sharpest, and most flexible and available actor I can be.  Although I always continue my studies, and there is always more to learn, everything that I have acquired and brought to the table seems to be working wonderfully.

I am proud to say that I am now a consistently working actor in film, television, and theatre, and can’t wait to grow within my craft, myself, and my career.

Thank you for coming to my website, and I’m very excited to work with you soon!


AJ Perrelli

AJ passed away at the age of 26 from a head injury.  His life's journey has inspired many artist's to pursue their passions in the arts, created the conversation about organ donation and inspired the launch of The AJ Project. 
Like us, Follow us- Instagram us @4theajproject - The AJ Project 501(c)3 
1 reaction Share

About AJ- In his own words

Only weeks before his death, AJ finished setting up his website.  He wrote his own "About me".  

AJ_w_beard.JPG

One of AJ's final head shots

About Me

First the fun stuff.  I am the oldest of four children, a native New Yorker, I love all music from Mozart to Marilyn Manson and everything in between.  Here's a little fun fact, I know the tune to practically every song in history, and the words to almost absolutely NONE of them ;-).

Now my story.  At the age of three or four, I pointed (so I've been told,) at the television screen in our small railroad apartment in Astoria, looked up to my mother and father, and told them that I wanted to go THERE.  They thought I was referring to Sesame Street, and of course that probably would have been a fantastic idea as well, but I think I was truthfully referring to the shows, movies, and stories that were constantly captivating me as a child. By the age of ten, I started to do childrens musicals and plays with local theaters, by twelve, I was doing voiceover work for childrens shows and English as a second language tapes, and by thirteen I realized that I had two left feet and couldnt dance.

I decided (after some convincing) that I would start to attend a tap and jazz class, just to shake off the awkwardness.  Apparently there was some dance in me after all.  Nine months later I was offered a full ride scholarship to a dance school in Orlando, Florida which led to winning scholarships from dance conventions, study in California and New York and participation in a well known Pro Am dance company.  

Five years later I was looking at a professional dance career and I was scoping out ballet companies to audition for after high school graduation.  Well, as the adults and teachers in your life tell you, and as the semi old adage goes,  you should always have a back-up plan.  You never know what could happen, you could have an accident and your physical career is over.”  I didnt have a backup, nor did I want a backup.  I knew that I wanted to be on stage, sharing myself and story telling.  This was the only life for me.

As luck would have it, three weeks before high school graduation, I was involved in a horrible car crash.  I broke my femur.  This is the biggest bone in your body.  The strength of the leg and so very important for a dancer.  In an instant my life changed.  I was restrained to a wheelchair and the accident dashed away my dreams of being a professional dancer.  I was told it would take between a year and a half to two years to completely recover to normalcy and to find a new ambition”.  The doctors said I would not be able to dance after the surgeries and rods that I had incurred.

My I dont have time for this kicked in.  Within four months I was out of my wheelchair, and within one year I was dancing again in my first show.  From there I decided to push the envelope and stare the you cant do this in the eye, and I became a professional stilt walker with Universal Studios.  The next challenge was to become trained in  arial arts and work with several cirque companies throughout Central Florida.

After landing an international tour with Disney Live and Feld Entertainment, I knew it was time to return to my native New York.  I traveled for three years throughout Asia and Europe for three years as an actor, dancer, and puppeteer and have to say had the time of my life.  It was rough and I knew that my dance shelf life was coming to a very quick end. Yes, I did rise to the occasion, but knew the longevity and strength would not last due to my past injuries.

It was then that it hit me like a ton of bricks, as if the clouds had cleared, it was obvious to me that EVERYTHING happens for a reason.  I would have never stopped dancing, and would have never been able to fully return and commit to my original and still very alive dream of being a professional and well trained actor if that accident didn't happen.  

It was at that point I put the dance shoes back on the shelf for a while and applied for and was accepted to The William Esper Acting Studio.

I diligently studied in many different classes of the craft and completed the two year acting program in May 2012.  Since then, my life has been committed to growing and learning within my craft, as well as applying my life experience and world travels to my work.  I want to become the fullest, sharpest, and most flexible and available actor I can be. Although I always continue my studies, and there is always more to learn, everything that I have acquired and brought to the table seems to working wonderfully and I am proud to say that I am now a consistently working actor in film, television, and theatre.

I cant wait to grow within my craft, within myself, and in my career.

Thank you for coming to my website, and Im very excited to work with you soon!

 

AJ Perrelli  

Add your reaction Share

Our Advisory Team

joey_head_photo.JPG Joseph Bearese (Cinematographer/Director) — Joe and AJ had a friendship based on personal and professional respect. They met at AJ's Christmas Party in 2012, where their Italian roots and similar upbringing made for an instant bond. Joe is an accomplished NYC based cinematographer and director. His narrative work has been seen at Cannes short corner and film festivals around the world. His music videos have been broadcast on MTV, VH1 and BET. Joe directs and shoots "Psychodrama: The Series" which features AJ in season 1. Aside from the indie scene, Joe also shoots for high profile clients such as Chase TV, MTV, Durex, Nasdaq, Seefood Media, Columbia University, Shark Tank, Lafayette 148, Hyatt, and many more. To see some of Joe's work, search his professional page on Facebook, joeybwhoelse or visit joeybwhoelse.com.


yessie_head_photo.JPG Yessenia Escano (Family Services Coordinator, Live On NY) — Yessie never met AJ in life; her introduction to AJ was at his bedside in the hospital. She is the LiveOnNY Donor family advocate. Yessie felt an unexplained connection to AJ and was there to witness the hundreds of visitors who came to AJ's bedside. Yessenia has been serving the needs of donor families for 12 years. She is assigned to seven major hospitals in the NYC area where she counsels families regarding the process of donation, provides specialized support intervention services and offers families the opportunity to authorize organ donation. Currently, Yessie also serves in the AMAT Strategic Advisory Committee as Donor Family Advocate. In 2014 Yessenia received the DonorCARE award for ongoing Commitment to Excellence in Donor Family Support by Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation.


beverly_head_photo.JPG Beverly Fish (Chief Operating Officer, Chéz-zam Event Group) — AJ worked for Beverly as a performer and a meaningful part of the Chéz-zam family. Chéz-zam is known for creating themed events and transforming it’s events from ordinary to extraordinary. AJ's roles ranged from Captain Jack Sparrow, Authentic Keystone Cop to a 70’s Disco legend. Beverly and AJ had a special relationship. She loved him and admired his commitment, how animated he was and adored his talent as a dancer. His job was not only to entertain but to get people engaged in the event and encourage them have a good time and truly experience the story being told through our performers. He did that with ease. She was amazed at his innate ability to find the person at every event who was the least likely to get up and dance and get them on the floor. Beverly's resume as a show producer is extensive and overflowing with accomplishments. As a producer, she oversees all elements of shows from concept to curtain call. Recent highlights included set production and director with the pro's of Dancing with the Stars in their production of "Sway". She can be reached at beverly@chezzam.com or visit the website at chezzam.com. AJ’s legacy continues to live on in our minds, hearts, and dedication to amazing event production.


Ben_head_photo.JPG Benjamin Maddy (Director of Sales & Tourism, Madison Square Gardens) — Ben met AJ when he worked freelance as a photographer for Dave & Busters where Ben held the title of National Director and Tourism Manager. A million people come and go out of this place located in Times Square in New York City, but AJ stood out and Ben and AJ became fast friends. It was Ben who introduced AJ to Ray Serna which led to his job as a shoe model. When Ben heard that an organization was being set up in honor of AJ he immediately offered his expertise in fundraising, sales, marketing and corporate partnering.


kitty_headshot.jpg Kitty Perrelli (Performing Artist, sister of AJ Perrelli) — "Cat Cat" or "Kitty Cat" was what AJ called her. Kitty conveys her relationship with her brother as soulmate and muse. He was her biggest fan and encouraged her in every way. Like her brother, Kitty is a "triple threat". Unlike most little girls, Kitty started dance because of AJ- not the other way around. She has studied dance, singing, theater and acting and is a wonderful french horn player. Her current passion is training in the art of silks. She has performed in community theater, has been cast in several short student films, was contracted as a studio singer and is currently working on a project as the lead singer for a band called Donner Social. Kitty works with various entertainment groups like E Three, Heart and Soul and Chez-zam.


ed_head_photo.JPG Edward Savage (Legal Counsel, Brand & Glick & Brand) — Edward is currently a partner at the law firm that has graciously offered to be the legal council for The AJ Project. He has guided the project from inception to the non profit status. He specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice and general corporate matters. As an experienced litigator, he has tried numerous cases to successful verdict.


ray_head_photo.JPG Raymond Serna, Shoe Designer, Visual Artist, former Creative Director,Tommy Bahama— Raymond met AJ by chance one day as he was sitting at Dave & Busters with a friend. AJ was taking pictures and offering free key chains (for tips). Raymond looked down at AJ's feet and asked "Are you a size 9?" He was and Raymond hired AJ as the very first shoe model for the premier line for Tommy Bahama men's shoes. Raymond always looked forward to fitting days with AJ because he knew he was going to laugh a lot and have fun. Raymond has offered to host master classes for The AJ Project in the business of design.

 

 

 

The AJ Project is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your generous financial donation.

2 reactions Share