While being a part of PTDYA, I had the opportunity to learn the histories of the various performing arts, how to be a superb speaker in front of a large audience and gain new skills that I can forever use as I continue to grow as a person. If it wasn’t for their support, their patience, their effort in investing in young people, I wouldn’t be the young man that I am today.

Julien S, Student Alum

Michael Jones is a native of Chicago and has traveled and performed for audiences worldwide. A favorite of cruise ship audiences for many years, Michael is known for his incredible vocals and dance style. Michael was a member of the internationally acclaimed Young Americans, performing with artists like Ben Vereen, Arsenio Hall, and the late Liberace. He was a featured dancer on the Party Machine with Nia Peeples and did warm-ups for a variety of television series. Most recently, Michael played the Tin Man in The Wiz at the Jedlicka Performing Arts Center and was nominated for a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.

He has implemented curriculum based and after-school arts programming for the University of Chicago Charter School campuses, Alex Haley Elementary Academy, CICS Ralph Ellison High School, Urban Prep Englewood and BRAVO Performing Arts Academy at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School. In 2015, he received the Chicago Music “Lives Changer” Award for providing arts education to youth in underserved communities and helping in their development of self-esteem, leadership skills and critical thinking abilities. Michael also serves on the board of the Madison Street Theatre for Performing Arts in Oak Park. He is the former Director of the Dance Ensemble for All City Performing Arts with Chicago Public Schools. In 2019, Michael was elected to be a Council Member for the Americans for the Arts Education Advisory Council, where he continues to be an advocate for the needs of Chicago youth in under-resourced communities.