James Earl Jones II shares journey to acting, dream roles and more

James Earl Jones II shares journey to acting, dream roles and more


Theater acting was not always in the cards for James Earl Jones II. Initially, the actor — who says he is a distant cousin of James Earl Jones — wanted to be a doctor.

He was inspired to pursue medicine due to his Tourette Syndrome, a condition of the nervous system that causes tics — repeated sounds, twitches, or movements the body makes beyond the person’s control. However, he changed his mind about becoming a doctor. 

“I’m not quite sure I’m cut out for 15 to 20 years of school,” Jones said, who added that he enjoyed singing as a hobby.

With some encouragement from a family member, he started his career in singing. He began studying music at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Afterward, Jones performed opera in Rome, Venice, Florence and even the halls of Notre Dame. 

His next stop is the Queen City, where he will perform in Blumenthal Performing Art’s run of the Broadway musical “Come From Away.”

“Come From Away,” tells the story of 7,000 plane passengers stranded in Gander, a small town in Newfoundland, Canada, when planes were grounded during the tragic 9/11 attacks. Jones will portray Bob, a character based on real-life passenger Tom McKeon, a White man among those stranded. 


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