Sandwiched between two special needs kids you’d expect Dalton to have middle child syndrome. But that would be too normal for Dalton. Like a determined salmon making his way upstream, Dalton makes his own way.
From the moment he could speak all he ever wanted to be was an actor. He was always putting on a show. Without even trying he commanded any stage, figuratively or physically.
The bullies couldn’t accept that Dalton could be so happy without pursuing what they counted as success. For a bully, it was intolerable that Dalton commanded a power he cared nothing of. Dalton has always been in life for the fun of it. Yet, the unhappiness of others made his school years rough and confusing.
Regardless he pursued his dream with single-minded focus. At 10, in a local theater, he was cast in what was intended to be a non-speaking part. But Dalton’s talent shone through so the director wrote a line specifically for him.
When he was twelve he was cast in seven different roles, including two female parts, in a single play. His comedic timing was flawless. He stole the show. Unfortunately, a grown woman was extremely jealous of the attention the local paper gave to Dalton. Despite her being old enough to be his mother she shoved him against a wall and threatened him.
I arrived on the scene and will never forget him saying, with tears in his eyes, “Mom, I just want to act.” Infused with anger I replied, “Point her out to me.” Suffice it to say that Dalton never had another problem and was suddenly treated much better by everyone.
In high school, Dalton couldn’t win a lead role. It bothered him. He spoke to his teacher who explained he cast him in the parts that allowed him to shine the brightest. It was a vital lesson that remains with him.
Dalton majored in theater and film in college. I suggested he double major so he would have something to fall back on. He considered it but rejected the idea. He said he didn’t need a crutch. With his enormous talent, how could I argue?
In January Dalton and I traveled to Greenville, NC so Dalton could audition for multiple organizations across the country. That trip led to Dalton landing his first paid acting gig. Dalton has spent his summer at Pioneer Playhouse, a famed outdoor theater where actors like Lee Majors got their start.
Today he was cast in Elvis has Left the Buiding. As a child Dalton dressed as Elvis several years for Halloween. So obviously, this was a role he desperately wanted. What he has done has not been easy. His road has more often than not, been difficult. Yet, in the face of adversity, he doubled over and went headlong into the storm. Dalton Graves. Remember that name. Because you will hear it again.