International deaf entertainer CJ Jones will perform at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Dale B. Lake Auditorium at the Texas Township Campus at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15. Doors open at 6 p.m. Jones is a CEO, producer, director, writer, actor, comedian, and musician. He has been a professional storyteller with a unique style of visual imagery for more than 25 years.
Jones was born in St. Louis, MO, one of seven hearing children born to deaf parents. At age seven he became ill with spinal meningitis, and consequently lost his hearing. After he became deaf, he tried an oral education in a local school, though after a short time he attended Missouri School for the Deaf, where he graduated from high school.
After high school, he attended National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, NY. The summer after NTID, he joined the National Theater for the Deaf, where he toured nationally with main stage plays and Little Theater of the Deaf.
As an entertainer, Jones has done just about everything, from performing in a Tony Award winning play on national tour, to directing deaf children from kindergarten to high school in their own productions. He has acted in TV, written several one-man shows that has toured the U.S. and internationally, giving motivational speeches to colleges and companies. Cast as Orin in “Children of a Lesser God,” he toured the U.S. and Canada for two years, garnering a group Tony award. He has also appeared on NBC’s “Frasier,” ABC Family’s “Lincoln Heights,” the PBS television shows “Sesame Street” and “Rainbow’s End,” and was the host of “Happy Hands Kids Klub.” He has done voice over roles, voicing a deaf Indian (played by a hearing actor) in a movie called “PathFinder” from 20th Century Fox. Jones is one of four deaf performers showcased in the 2010 documentary “See What I’m Saying,” directed by Hilari Scarl. He also appeared in “Through Deaf Eyes” on PBS.
Jones received the 2013 Nevil Award at Pennsylvania School for the Deaf on graduation day when he gave his graduation speech. This award is given to an individual, hearing or deaf, who has made a significant contribution to improving the lives of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. He received the award for his work as a respected deaf entertainer as well as his ambitions and efforts for Sign World TV to become a 24/7 sign language channel.
Jones’ presentation in Kalamazoo will be voice interpreted and will be followed by a brief question and answer period. Tickets are $15 at the door; $12 before November 11; $5 for children under 12; $10 for deaf/HOH, students, and senior citizens over 65.
Tickets available through the KVCC Bookstore or at www.bookstore.kvcc.edu. For more information (or for special needs requests with 2 weeks’ notice, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 269.488.4862.