Brian d'Arcy James

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Brian d'Arcy James
Brian d'Arcy James SR.jpg
Brian d'Arcy James at the stage door of Something Rotten! in 2015
Born (1968-06-29) June 29, 1968 (age 51)
EducationNorthwestern University
OccupationActor, musician
Years active1993–present
Spouse(s)Jennifer Prescott
RelativesBrian Kelly (maternal uncle)
Harry F. Kelly (maternal grandfather)

Brian d'Arcy James (born June 29, 1968) is an American actor and musician.


James graduated from Northwestern University's School of Communication. He received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in 2002 for his portrayal of Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success, co-starring John Lithgow. He received an Obie Award for his performance in the one-man play The Good Thief by Conor McPherson.

Additional Broadway credits include playing Frederick Barrett in Titanic, Lincoln Center's Carousel, and Blood Brothers. Off-Broadway credits include Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party in 2000 opposite Julia Murney and Idina Menzel for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination, as well as Adam Guettel's Floyd Collins and the Gershwins' Pardon My English. He appeared in Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore on Broadway, replaced Norbert Leo Butz in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and starred in The Apple Tree opposite Kristin Chenoweth. In 2004, he released a Christmas album titled From Christmas Eve to Christmas Morn. He was the Broadway version of Bob Wallace, whose character was originated by Bing Crosby, in White Christmas in 2004. He played the role of Dan Goodman in the new musical Next to Normal Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre in 2008.[1][2] He then starred opposite Daniel Breaker, Sutton Foster and Christopher Sieber as the titular character in Shrek the Musical. The show began previews on Broadway November 8, 2008 and opened on December 14 at The Broadway Theatre after a tryout in Seattle.[3] For this role he won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.[4][5] He was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal.[6] He departed the cast after one year in the role and was replaced by Ben Crawford.[7]

James starred in the Broadway play Time Stands Still, which began preview performances on January 5, 2010 and officially opened on January 25 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.[8] The show ended its limited run on March 27, 2010.[9] For this role he won the broadway.com Audience Award for Favorite Featured Actor in a Play.[10][11] He reprised the role of Dan Goodman in the Broadway company of Next to Normal at the Booth Theatre. He replaced J. Robert Spencer beginning May 17, 2010.[12] James ended his limited engagement on July 18, 2010 and was replaced by Jason Danieley.[13]

On July 19, 2010 James performed in front of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House, which also aired on PBS October 20, 2010.[14] He returned to Time Stands Still when the show returned to Broadway. It closed on January 30, 2011.[15]

James was part of the cast of the NBC musical series Smash, playing Frank, who was the husband of Debra Messing's character.[16] NBC officially picked up Smash as a series on May 11, 2011.[17] The program made its series premiere on February 6, 2012.[18] He did not return to the show as a series regular for its second and final season.[19][20] James starred in Torstein Blixfjord's 2012 short film Bird In A Box.[21]

He co-hosted the 57th Drama Desk Awards with Brooke Shields on June 3, 2012.[22]

James starred as Bick in the musical Giant which ran at the Public Theater from October 26 - December 16 2012.[23][24] For this role James received a nomination for Best Actor in a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards and Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance.[25][26]

He also performed at the 29th birthday celebration of the New York Pops, which was a celebration called "Journey On", celebrating the work of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens. He performed "Wheels of a Dream" from Ragtime with Andrew Rannells, Rebecca Luker, Liz Callaway, Kevin Chamberlin, Jason Danieley, Boyd Gaines, Lewis Grosso, Norm Lewis, Kecia Lewis-Evans, Darlene Love, Marin Mazzie, Tiler Peck, Nikki M. James, Rachel York, and LaChanze, along with Flaherty and Ahrens.[27]

James visiting a New York Barnes & Noble location for CD signing

He played Banquo in the Lincoln Center Theater production of Macbeth, which began previews in October 2013 and officially opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in November 2013.[28] He starred as the original King George III in the Off-Broadway production of the acclaimed musical Hamilton, with previews starting January 20, 2015 and officially opening on February 17. Actor Jonathan Groff replaced James in the Off-Broadway run on March 3, 2015.[29]

He starred in the Broadway musical Something Rotten!, which opened in previews at the St. James Theatre on March 23, 2015, and officially on April 22,[30] for which he received his third Tony nomination. James played Matt Carroll in the 2015 film Spotlight. In March 2016, James was cast in the CBS pilot, Superior Donuts,[31] but his role was recast after the show went through some retooling.[32] He reprised his role as King George III in the Broadway production of Hamilton for a limited engagement that began on April 13, 2017 and continued through July 16, 2017.[33][34]

In 2017, James portrayed Andy Baker in the Netflix drama series 13 Reasons Why,[35] a role he later reprised in the second season of the show in 2018. Also in 2018, James played pilot Joseph A. Walker in Damien Chazelle's film First Man.[36] In May 2018, it was announced that he would star in the upcoming Fox series, Proven Innocent.[37] The following month, however, it was announced that Kelsey Grammer had been cast to replace d'Arcy James in the role of Gore Bellows (previously Cole Bellows).[38]

James is set to star in the Broadway play The Ferryman at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre as Quinn Carney on February 19, 2019, replacing Paddy Considine, who originated the role.[39]

Personal life[edit]

James was born in Saginaw, Michigan, the son of Mary (née Kelly), a seller of children's books, and Thomas F. James (deceased), a lawyer.[40] His maternal grandfather was Harry Kelly, a former Governor of Michigan.[41] His uncle, Brian Kelly, was an actor featured in the series Flipper and a producer of the movie Blade Runner. He has three siblings: brother Andrew, a portfolio manager; sister Kate, an actress and writer; and sister Anne (Noonan), an actress and teacher.[42] He uses his middle name professionally since there was another actor named Brian James in Equity.

Brian is married to Jennifer Prescott; the two met when they both performed at Lincoln Center. They have one daughter, Grace.[42]

Theatre credits[edit]

Year Show Role Notes
1993 Blood Brothers Ensemble Broadway
1994 Carousel Various Characters Broadway
Public Enemy Davey Boyd Off-Broadway
1995 Follies Young Buddy Regional
1996 Floyd Collins Clif Roney/Reporter Off-Broadway
1997–98 Titanic Frederick Barrett Broadway
1998 Chess Anatoly NY Concert
Kelly Kelly Off-Off-Broadway
2000 The Wild Party Burrs Off-Broadway
2001 The Good Thief Man Off-Broadway
2002 Sweet Smell of Success Sidney Broadway
2003 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Freddie Reading
Harmony Performer Regional
2004 Pardon My English Gob Schmidt Off-Broadway
White Christmas Bob Wallace Regional
2005 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Freddie Broadway
Children and Art Performer Broadway
Flight Reporter Off-Broadway
White Christmas Bob Wallace Boston
The Apple Tree Adam/Sanjar/Flip Encores!
2006 The Lieutenant of Inishmore Brendan Off-Broadway
Young Frankenstein Frederick Frankenstein Workshop
2006–07 The Apple Tree Adam/Sanjar/Flip Broadway
2007 White Christmas Bob Wallace Boston
2008 Next to Normal Dan Goodman Off-Broadway
Port Authority Dermont Off-Broadway
2008–09 Shrek the Musical Shrek Broadway
2010 Next to Normal Dan Goodman Broadway
2010–11 Time Stands Still James Dodd Broadway
2012 Giant Bick Off-Broadway
2013–14 Macbeth Banquo Broadway
2015 Hamilton King George III Off-Broadway
2015–16 Something Rotten! Nick Bottom Broadway
2017 Hamilton King George III Broadway
2019 The Ferryman Quinn Carney Broadway


Cast albums[edit]

Solo recordings[edit]

  • From Christmas Eve to Christmas Morn (debut solo album)
  • Michigan Christmas (single)

Featured recordings[edit]



Year Title Role Notes
1997 Sax and Violins
1999 Exiled Brinkley
2002 G Lloyd
2004 Neurotica Andrew
2008 Ghost Town Irish Eddie
2011 Friends with Kids Husband in Restaurant
2012 The Fitzgerald Family Christmas Skippy
Bird in a Box Walter
2013 Admission Billy Flynn
Shrek the Musical Shrek Filmed stage production
2014 Time Out of Mind Mark
2015 Spotlight Matty Carroll
Sisters Jerry
2017 Rebel in the Rye Giroux
Trouble Logan
Molly's Game Brad
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House Robert Kunkel
1922 Sheriff Jones
2018 Song of Back and Neck Stone
All These Small Moments Tom Sheffield
First Man Joseph A. Walker
2019 Dark Phoenix President of the United States Cameo
The Kitchen Jimmy Brennan
2020 West Side Story Police Sergeant Krupke Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1997 The City Mark/Ned Ashton 2 episodes
2001 The Education of Max Bickford Barry Sheppard/Gary 2 episodes
2002 Monday Night Mayhem Al Michaels Television film
2006 Rescue Me Veterinarian Episode: "Discovery"
2011 Person of Interest Wheeler Episode: "Pilot"
2012 Game Change Ted Frank Television film
The Big C Tim 3 episodes
2012–13 Smash Frank Houston 18 episodes
2013 It Could Be Worse Happy Episode: "I Forgive You!"
The Good Wife Detective Nolan Episode: "Rape: A Modern Perspective"
Ironside Bill Broughton Episode: "Pilot"
2014 Submissions Only Read Whatley Episode: "Petit Sweet Ending with N"
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit Adam Brubeck Episode: "Producer's Backend"
Hoke Henry Hickey Pilot
The Funtastix Andrew Pilot
2015 Mozart in the Jungle Beethoven Episode: "Amusia"
2016 Superior Donuts Arthur Pilot
2017–18 13 Reasons Why Andy Baker 16 episodes
2017 Manhunt: Unabomber Henry Murray Episode: "Ted"
2019 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver HBO's Legal Counsel Episode: "SLAPP Suits"

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2003 Medal of Honor: Rising Sun Davis/Pvt. Brooks

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2000 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical The Wild Party Nominated
2001 Outstanding Solo Performance The Good Thief Nominated
2002 Tony Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Sweet Smell of Success Nominated
Drama Desk Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Nominated
2006 Broadway.com Audience Award Best Featured Actor in a Play The Lieutenant of Inishmore Nominated
2007 Best Onstage Pair (w/ Kristin Chenoweth The Apple Tree Nominated
2008 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Port Authority Nominated
2009 Outstanding Actor in a Musical Shrek the Musical Won
Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Best Actor in a Musical Won
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Award Favorite Actor in a Musical Nominated
Favorite Onstage Pair (w/ Daniel Breaker) Nominated
Favorite Onstage Pair (w/ Sutton Foster Nominated
2010 Broadway.com Audience Award Favorite Actor in a Musical Time Stands Still Won
2011 Favorite Replacement Next to Normal Nominated
2012 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Musical Giant Nominated
2015 Outstanding Actor in a Musical Something Rotten! Nominated
Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
Drama League Award Distinguished Performance Nominated
Broadway.com Audience Award Favorite Actor in a Musical Nominated
Lucille Lortel Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Hamilton Nominated
Gotham Award Best Ensemble Performance Spotlight Won
Independent Spirit Awards Robert Altman Award Won
Satellite Awards Best Cast in a Motion Picture Won
Boston Online Film Critics Association Awards Best Ensemble Won
Boston Society of Film Critics Best Cast Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award Best Ensemble Won
Detroit Film Critics Society Award Best Ensemble Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Won
New York Film Critics Online Award Best Ensemble Cast Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Acting Ensemble Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best Ensemble Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Award Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Best Ensemble Won
Nevada Film Critics Society Award Best Ensemble Cast Won
2016 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Acting Ensemble Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Ensemble Cast Won
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Best Ensemble Won
Georgia Film Critics Association Best Ensemble Won
Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Something Rotten! Nominated


  1. ^ Photo Flash: 'Next to Normal' broadwayworld.com, Retrieved April 30, 2013
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "James, Gregory II and Tartaglia Set for Broadway's 'Shrek'" Archived March 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com
  4. ^ "Billy Elliot, Carnage, Ruined and Avenger Are Outer Critics Circle Award Winners" Archived 2009-05-14 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com
  5. ^ " 'Ruined' and 'Billy Elliot' Win Top Honors at Drama Desk Awards Archived 2009-05-21 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com
  6. ^ "Nominations for 2009 Tony Awards Announced; 'Billy Elliot' Earns 15 Nominations" Archived 2009-05-08 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com
  7. ^ "Crawford Will Be Shrek This Fall on Broadway; Tix on Sale Through May 2010" Archived August 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, playbill.com; accessed September 26, 2016.
  8. ^ "James Joins Linney and Silverstone in Broadway's 'Time Stands Still'" Archived August 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com
  9. ^ "'TIME STANDS STILL Closes March 27 at MTC" broadwayworld.com, 2010
  10. ^ 2010 "Broadway.com Audience Award Winners" broadway.com, 2010
  11. ^ It's Time for Brian d'Arcy James to Thank Fans for His 2010 Audience Award, broadway.com; accessed September 26, 2016.
  12. ^ "Brian d'Arcy James Will Rejoin 'Normal' Cast in May" playbill.com
  13. ^ "Married Couple Mazzie & Danieley Take Over in NEXT TO NORMAL 7/19" broadwayworld.com
  14. ^ Nathan Lane, Idina Menzel, Brian d'Arcy James and More to Perform Broadway Celebration at White House
  15. ^ [2] washingtonpost.com, 2010
  16. ^ Brian d'Arcy James Joins Cast of "Smash" Musical Pilot Archived March 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Breaking News: NBC Picks Up Broadway-themed SMASH
  18. ^ A Show Just for Us: "Smash," Starry New Drama Series About the Making of a Musical, Debuts on NBC Archived 2014-04-16 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ 'Smash' Shakeup: Four Stars Axed From Second Season
  20. ^ UPDATED: Brian d'Arcy James, Will Chase, Jaime Cepero and Raza Jaffrey Not Returning as Regulars on SMASH
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2012-05-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) blixfjord.com
  22. ^ "Brooke Shields and Brian D'Arcy James Will Host Drama Desk Awards" Archived May 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com
  23. ^ "Brian d'Arcy James, Kate Baldwin, Bobby Steggert, Michele Pawk to Lead Public Theater's GIANT- Full Cast Announced!" broadwayworld.com, September 10, 2012
  24. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "'Giant', Starring Kate Baldwin, Brian D'Arcy James and P.J. Griffith, Gets Extension at Public Theater" Archived 2012-11-22 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, November 25, 2012
  25. ^ "Nominations Announced for 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards; Giant and Hands on a Hardbody Lead the Pack" Archived June 1, 2013, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, Retrieved April 29, 2013
  26. ^ "2013 Drama League Nominations Announced -- KINKY BOOTS, PIPPIN & More Lead with 3!" broadwayworld.com, Retrieved April 30, 2013
  27. ^ "29TH BIRTHDAY GALA". Archived 2013-10-17 at the Wayback Machine newyorkpops.org.
  28. ^ "Brian d'Arcy James, Malcolm Gets and More to Join Ethan Hawke in LCT's 'Macbeth'; Cast Announced!" broadwayworld.com, Retrieved September 4, 2013
  29. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "'Spring Awakening' Star Is New King of Broadway-Bound 'Hamilton'", Playbill.com, February 25, 2015.
  30. ^ Hetrick, Adam. " 'Something Rotten!' Puts a Shakespearean Twist On Broadway Musical Comedy, Starting Tonight" playbill.com, March 23, 2015
  31. ^ Robinson, Will. "Spotlight star Brian d'Arcy James cast in CBS' Superior Donuts", ew.com, March 1, 2016.
  32. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "‘Superior Donuts’: CBS Orders New Pilot For Jermaine Fowler Comedy", deadline.com, March 25, 2016.
  33. ^ BWW News Desk. "Official: Long May He Reign! Brian d'Arcy James Will Rejoin HAMILTON in April", broadwayworld.com, March 9, 2017.
  34. ^ BWW News Desk. "Euan Morton to be Crowned King George III in HAMILTON on Broadway", broadwayworld.com, July 12, 2017.
  35. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. ‘Spotlight’s Brian d’Arcy James Cast In Netflix Series ’13 Reasons Why’, Joins TNT Pilot ‘Civil’, deadline.com, June, 16 2016.
  36. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony. Brian d’Arcy James Steps Into Damien Chazelle’s Moon Mission Pic ‘First Man’, deadline.com, September 29, 2017.
  37. ^ Otterson, Joe. Fox Orders ‘Proven Innocent,’ ‘The Cool Kids’ to Series, Variety.com, May 9, 2018.
  38. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 1, 2018). "Kelsey Grammer Joins New Fox Drama Series 'Proven Innocent' In Recasting". Deadline. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  39. ^ Gans, Andrew (January 8, 2019). "Broadway's The Ferryman Will Welcome New Company, Including Brian d'Arcy James, Emily Bergl, Shuler Hensley, More". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  40. ^ Profile at FilmReference.com
  41. ^ Brian d'Arcy James [@briandarcyjames] (11 November 2014). "Today I'm thinking of my grandfather Harry F. Kelly" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  42. ^ a b Harris, Richard (Fall 2015). "The Life of Brian". Northwestern Magazine. Northwestern University. Retrieved 2016-09-26.

External links[edit]