Since age eleven, T.J. Shimeld has been performing in his own, original, professional productions, from “T.J. and Ron’s Magic Shows,” to “Magical Moments with T.J. Shimeld,” to his current theatrical production, “The Wonder World of Wendal Wandell.”
Shimeld’s magical education began in the Society of Young Magicians, Assembly #1 in Nashua, New Hampshire, under the tutelage of Wendel W. Gibson, the founder of the magical youth movement, and former assistant to Harry Blackstone, Sr. Shimeld rose through the ranks in the S.Y.M. to become president of the Assembly, key educator, and creator of the newsletter, the “Magician’s Magic Monthly.” His performances grew through this time from children’s birthday parties, to corporate events for the likes of the Merrimack Police Department in Merrimack, New Hampshire and the Federal Aviation Administration of New Hampshire, to school shows and scouting events throughout New England, as well as a summer at Water Country, a water-theme park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Shimeld honed his close-up and walk-around skills working for several years at The Magic Hat, a magic, puppet, and juggling shop located in Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts. Shimeld also became secretary of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, Ring 166, in Manchester, New Hampshire, through which he founded “Vaudeville Magic – A Night of a Variety of Magical Entertainment,” an annual fundraiser show for the National Honor Society of Merrimack High School, which ran for three years.
Shimeld has always shared his performance knowledge with others. Not only did he teach his fellow S.Y.M. members, but he was a junior counselor at Tannen’s Magic Camp of New York, the longest running magic camp (Shimeld also attended two years as a camper studying under some of the greats of magic). Shimeld also was co-creator, co-editor, and columnist for his own bi-monthly, sixteen-page plus magazine, “FizBin – An Independent Magazine for and by the Young Magician,” through which he shared his love of magic with subscribers across the country, and even select subscribers overseas, which ran for four years.
It was through a cover-story interview with Cesareo Pelaez, a.k.a. Marco the Magi, in 1997 that Shimeld joined the cast of “Marco the Magi’s Production of ‘Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Company’” of Beverly, Massachusetts which holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the “Longest Running Stage Magic Show,” featured in TIME and Smithsonian magazines, with seven performances at the White House. This show was the one that Shimeld saw as a seven-year old child that sparked his magical journey. He spent nearly eight years with the company performing walk-around magic in the lobbies and performing as an onstage assistant weekly on the Cabot St. Cinema Theatre and Larcom Theatre stages, learning theatrical movement, juggling, and barbershop singing in addition to magic.
The vaudevillian theatricality of “Le Grand David” is evident in Shimeld’s current production, “The Wonder World of Wendal Wandell.” Apryl Blakeney sums it up in her article for the Morganton News Herald, “Local Man Practices his Sleight of Hand” (19 February 2007): “His is the traditional storybook magic written on gold leaf paper and bound with decorative leather.” The show combines theatrical costumes, stage movement, juggling, and magic with classical music, and comedy to make an audience remember when life itself was filled with magic.
His articles on magic and its history have appeared in such magazines as M A G I C Magazine and The Linking Ring. Shimeld has also published a biography, Walter B. Gibson and The Shadow (McFarland, 2003/2005) of a magician, writer, and the creator of The Shadow. Through his second biography of magician Ricky D. Boone, The Four-foot Giant and the Vanishing Wheelchair, Shimeld founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity. The Vanishing Wheelchair, Inc. helps people with disabilities find their passion in life through teaching them skills in the arts.
Between performances, Shimeld worked for ten years with the International Brotherhood of Magicians as the Ring Reports Editor for The Linking Ring, receiving magic club meeting reports from around the world, he also educates others on magic and juggling through his Wonder Workshops for which he has self-published three books, The Principles of Magic, The Magical Arts, and Juggling Gestures. Shimeld resides in Morganton, North Carolina with his son.