Did you know that a third of students at Levine are adult learners? Our adult musicians discover that music provides a focused, reflective space and the opportunity for greater community connection. The voices of our adult musicians are thoughtful, inspiring, and spectacularly honest, and we are grateful to highlight them in this Coming Home series.
Spotlight On: David Jones
David’s very first taste of the spotlight dates back to when he was just 4 or 5 years old as a child actor in a local production of The Music Man. Growing up with parents who were often involved in musical theatre, David was privy to performances all throughout his childhood and high school. Following his formal education, David remained connected to the craft through several community theatre works in Pennsylvania in the early 2010s. After relocating to DC, David found himself without shows for quite some time and was in search of a way to revisit the stage. In the summer of 2019 David Jones joined the Levine community and has been at the forefront of Levine Music Theatre productions ever since.
David Jones as The Baker with Lucy Newton as Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods
What motivated you to rejoin music?
Eager to return to performing, David had taken steps earlier that spring by starting with an improv group here in DC. Despite being previously adamant that this specific art form wasn’t for him, David was encouraged to give it a try, motivated by the prospect of meeting new people in town. What had been a tentative decision ended up being one he truly enjoyed, despite ultimately feeling that musical theatre was calling him home. “When I got the ads for Levine, I realized I missed having formal acting, actual text,” David recalled.
How did you know you could trust Levine with your music journey?
David’s answer to this was simple: “The people that I met. The community that forms around LMT students I think is really magical in a way . . . and very supportive.”
In addition to his instructors and peers, David was also in awe of the talent that was associated with Levine’s programs. He reflected on seeing Nova Payton while volunteering for Levine Music Theatre:
“To see these people that are famous in the industry and DC, that they are intimately involved in LMT too, was really reassuring. I thought ‘oh, this place knows what it’s doing.’ And the same with Tracy Lynn Olivera. Now being friends with Tracy is amazing, and that wouldn’t have happened without Levine.”
How has the Levine community come to enhance and support your adult life?
For David, he met some of his best friends in town through Levine. Lindy and Lucy, fellow stars of Matilda and Into the Woods, have become a family to him here in the city. “I went to Thanksgiving dinner this year with them because I wasn’t able to go visit mine,” recalled David. “For Christmas, Lucy said, ‘I know you’re in town, come over and spend the day with our family instead.'”
Castmate Lindy was also an exceptional support during LMT’s virtual production of Les Miserables. During a particularly isolating part of production, she texted David cryptically “what’s your address” and a day later The Artists Way, a book for artistic creative recovery, showed up at his door.
“She helped remind me that I was an artist. It’s how you talk about yourself and how you believe in yourself that matters, rather than any sort of external validation. She said, ‘there’s all these people that do validate you, that think you’re great, so… believe it!’”
David Jones as Jean Valjean with Lindy Gallagher as Fantine in Les Miserables
LMT helped David realize that he was artistically capable of achieving more than he’d previously dreamed, prompting him to message a Broadway star during the pandemic.
“I DM’ed someone I really looked up to and said ‘hey, this really sucks, I can’t imagine, but if you’d got time, I would love to take lessons from you.’ So, I started taking lessons from Raquel Suarez Groen who is the current Carlotta in Phantom of the Opera. That has opened a whole new world for me, too . . . and I don’t think I would’ve had the gumption to do that if I hadn’t had my experience in Matilda at Levine. All of that is tied to Levine.”
In an incredibly moving conversation, David also shared how further connections he made with cast members helped him to come out for the very first time:
“Josh is one of my best friends in town and in my life. He would drive me to and from class, to and from rehearsals, and we’ve become really close through that. Through discussions with him and becoming more connected with him, I became comfortable enough to come out to him, which was the first time I had ever come out to anyone. Since then, I have been able to come out publicly and I really think that’s because of Levine and the people I’ve met because of Levine. I’ve inherently known I was bi for, well, since I was a kid . . . but it took 35 years to say it to anyone. And that’s the type of safe environment that Levine fosters.”
If you could communicate one thing to prospective adult music students, what would it be?
“If you have any interest in music or in theatre, whether you have any ability or whether you think you have any ability, you should just go for it. It’s a fun community, and as an adult learner it’s fun to be in a collective, hone a skill, develop a skill, get out of your comfort zone, try something new, come back to something you’ve loved forever . . . There’s a wide range of skills and abilities and all of those are accepted and made to be a part of it.”
David Jones as Agatha Trunchbull in Matilda
Whether you have never played an instrument before or are continuing your lifelong journey of music-making, there’s a community of like-minded music lovers waiting for you. Levine’s Adult Programs serve all ages and levels of ability, featuring daytime and evening courses. With flexible lesson scheduling available year-round, you are certain to find a program to fit your musical interests. Join us today.