Dallas Native and Cedar Hill Alumnus, Kevin Davis Finds Passion for Performing

Kevin Davis headshot

While he might be making some folks green with envy, Kevin Davis is actually turning purple himself.

The Cedar Hill ISS teacher is a member of the cast of the movie “The Color Purple,” a musical reworking of the 1985 film directed by Steven Spielberg and nominated for 11 Academy Awards. The musical, released on Christmas day, was nominated for two Golden Globes, with the 2024 Oscar nominations coming out in late January.

“I heard that they were doing the movie musical, and I knew I had to be a part of it in any shape, form, or fashion. So I googled searching for auditions for weeks, and then I finally found a news report in Atlanta saying they’re looking for performers,” Davis said.

So, he submitted his information. The next thing he knew, he was in conversation with the casting department, and they were inviting him to come in for a test. That was a challenge as he was a full-time behavior specialist for one school, drill team coach for Dunbar High School and was in tech rehearsals for August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “The Piano Lesson” in the role of Lymon.

“It just seemed impossible for me to get down to Atlanta in one day with all the prior commitments I had going on. I ended up passing on the offer because I couldn’t swing it,” he said.

Fast forward to about this past May and the last week of school. Davis received an email inviting him to be a part of the re-shooting of the movie’s “Juke Joint” scene.

In addition to his role in “The Color Purple,” Davis was cast as a church usher in two episodes of the popular TV series “Lawmen Bass Reeves,” a spinoff of “1883,” which was a spinoff of “Yellowstone.”

“Being a part of ‘Lawmen Bass Reeves’ was a lot of fun, of course. Since I’ve appeared on Fox (‘The Gifted’) and ESPN (‘Carter 30 for 30’), being on the set of a TV show was a little familiar, but stepping on set of the movie/musical ‘The Color Purple’ was a different beast,” Davis said. “It took one week to film the juke joint scene, and we even shot up until 5 a.m. on the last day. It really challenged me as a performer to make sure I gave the same energy to every take, even when the shot was being filmed from a different angle, and taking the directions of what was needed was a fun experience.”

It was also a fun experience to work with stars he has long admired.

“Oh yeah, let’s not mention the stars I was working alongside,” he said with a smile. “I’ve admired Fantasia, Taraji P. Hensen, Danielle Brooks, Corey Hawkins, and Coleman Domingo for a very long time, so to be able to create magic with them was such a blessing.”

Davis, who is from Dallas and a 2014 Cedar Hill graduate, has been acting and performing since childhood. He always knew he wanted to be a performer, but the bug really bit him when his seventh-grade choir teacher took the choir students on a field trip to see, ironically, “The Color Purple” live tour at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

The Color Purple poster

“When I saw those performers go forth, I knew that is what I was called to do,” he said. “I took every theater class I could in school, even participated in UIL, and won awards at my alma mater Cedar Hill High School.”

Davis has performed in regional theatre, off Broadway, and television and has written and directed some of his own pieces. He’s also choreographed, gone on tour, performed overseas, and taught and mentored younger performing artists.

“I’ve always wanted to perform. I love being able to help someone see themself, feel the emotion they’ve packed down, encouraging the brokenhearted and inspire the young and old at heart,” he said.

He is the actor in his family, though he has some cousins who are musicians and athletes. He said he definitely plans to continue performing, directing, choreographing and creating different alleyways for the people in the world to feel seen and heard.

“I just want my story to encourage someone to go for their dreams, to believe in themselves and know what God has for you can’t no one take it away,” he said.

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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters