Brian d'Arcy James

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brian d'Arcy James
James in 2018
Born (1968-06-29) June 29, 1968 (age 55)
EducationNorthwestern University (BA)
Occupation(s)Actor, musician
Years active1993–present
Known forShrek The Musical
Something Rotten!
Into the Woods
SpouseJennifer Prescott

Brian d'Arcy James (born June 29, 1968) is an American actor and musician. He is known primarily for his Broadway roles, including Shrek in Shrek the Musical, Nick Bottom in Something Rotten!, King George III in Hamilton, and the Baker in Into the Woods, and has received four Tony Award nominations for his work. On-screen, he is known for his recurring role as Andy Baker on the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, Officer Krupke in West Side Story, and reporter Matt Carroll in Spotlight.

Early life and education[edit]

James was born in Saginaw, Michigan to a wealthy family, the son of Mary (née Kelly), a seller of children's books, and Thomas F. James (deceased), a lawyer. His maternal grandfather was Harry Kelly, a former Governor of Michigan.[1] 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.[2] James is of seventh eighths Irish and one eighth Welsh descent.[3]

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 Conor McPherson's one-man play The Good Thief.

James's additional Broadway credits include Titanic (Frederick Barrett), Lincoln Center's Carousel, and Blood Brothers. His 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, James released a Christmas album titled From Christmas Eve to Christmas Morn. On Broadway he played Bob Wallace, a character originated by Bing Crosby, in White Christmas in 2004. He played Dan Goodman in the new musical Next to Normal Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theater in 2008.[4][5] 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.[6] 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.[7][8] He was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal.[9] He departed the cast after one year in the role and was replaced by Ben Crawford.[10]

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.[11] The show ended its limited run on March 27, 2010.[12] For this role he won the Audience Award for Favorite Featured Actor in a Play.[13][14] He reprised the role of Dan Goodman in the Broadway company of Next to Normal at the Booth Theatre. He replaced J. Robert Spencer on May 17, 2010.[15] James ended his limited engagement on July 18, 2010, and was replaced by Jason Danieley.[16]

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.[17] He returned to Time Stands Still when the show returned to Broadway. It closed on January 30, 2011.[18] James was part of the cast of the NBC musical series Smash.[19] NBC officially picked up Smash as a series on May 11, 2011.[20] The program made its series premiere on February 6, 2012.[21] He did not return to the show as a series regular for its second and final season.[22][23] James starred in Torstein Blixfjord's 2012 short film Bird In A Box.[24]

He co-hosted the 57th Drama Desk Awards with Brooke Shields on June 3, 2012.[25] He performed at the 29th birthday celebration of The New York Pops, titled "Journey On", celebrating the work of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens; he performed "Wheels of a Dream" from Ragtime.[26] James starred as Bick in the musical Giant which ran at the Public Theater from October 26 to December 16, 2012.[27][28] For this role James received nominations for the Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Musical and for the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance.[29][30]

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 Theater in November 2013.[31] He starred as the original King George III in the Off-Broadway production of the 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.[32]

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,[33] 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,[34] but his role was recast after the show went through some retooling.[35] 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.[36][37]

In 2017, James played Andy Baker in the Netflix drama series 13 Reasons Why,[38] 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.[39] In May 2018, it was announced that he would star in the upcoming Fox series Proven Innocent.[40] The following month, however, it was announced that Kelsey Grammer had been cast to replace James in the role of Gore Bellows (previously Cole Bellows).[41]

James starred in the Broadway play The Ferryman at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre as Quinn Carney beginning on February 19, 2019, replacing Paddy Considine, who originated the role.[42] In December 2020, it was announced he would appear in the Disney+ miniseries Hawkeye.[43]

In May 2022, it was announced that James would star as the Baker in a Broadway revival of Into the Woods at the St. James Theatre.[44] He remained with the show through September 4, 2022.[45] James returned to the production on October 25, 2022.[46] He played his final performance on January 1, 2023, when Sebastian Arcelus returned to the show for its final week of performances.[47] For his performance, James received his third Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical, his fourth nomination overall.[48]

James originated the role of Joe Clay in the premiere production of Days of Wine and Roses at the Off-Broadway Linda Gross Theater in summer 2023. In September of the same year, it was announced that the production would transfer to Studio 54 on Broadway, with James reprising his role.[49]

Personal life[edit]

James is married to Jennifer Prescott; the two met when they both performed at Lincoln Center. They have one daughter.[2]

Theater credits[edit]

Year Show Role Notes
1988-89 Les Misérables Courfeyrac / Chain Gang / Ensemble 3rd National Tour
1993 Blood Brothers Ensemble Broadway
1994 Carousel Captain / Principal / Hudson Livermore
u/s David Bascombe
u/s Jigger Craigin
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 Freddie Trumper NY Concert
Kelly Kelly Off-Off-Broadway
1999 Chess Anatoly Sergievsky Alliance Theatre
2000 The Wild Party Burrs Off-Broadway
Into the Woods The Baker Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
2001 The Good Thief Man Off-Broadway
Chess Freddie Trumper
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
Flight Reporter Off-Broadway
Annie Get Your Gun Frank E. Butler The Muny
White Christmas Bob Wallace Boston
The Apple Tree Adam / Sanjar / Flip Off-Broadway
2006 The Lieutenant of Inishmore Brendan
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
2008 Shrek the Musical Shrek Pre-Broadway
2008-09 Broadway
2010 Next to Normal Dan Goodman
2010–11 Time Stands Still James Dodd
2012 Giant Bick Off-Broadway
2013 Finding Neverland J. M. Barrie Workshop[50]
2013–14 Macbeth Banquo Broadway
2014 Hamilton King George III Workshop
2015 Off-Broadway
2015–16 Something Rotten! Nick Bottom Broadway
2017 Hamilton King George III
2019 The Ferryman Quinn Carney
2022 Into the Woods The Baker
2023 Days of Wine and Roses Joe Clay Off-Broadway
Gutenberg! The Musical! Producer
(One night only)
2024 Days of Wine and Roses Joe Clay


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
Beneath the Blue Suburban Skies
Bombshell Brian Wilson Uncredited
2021 The Cathedral Richard Damrosch
West Side Story Police Sergeant Krupke
2023 She Came to Me Trey
Devil's Peak Bo
Pain Hustlers Dr. Nathan Lydell Main Role


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 & 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 Recurring (season 1); main (season 2)
2017 Manhunt: Unabomber Henry Murray Episode: "Ted"
2019 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver HBO's Lawyer Episode: "SLAPP Suits"
2020 Devs Anton Episode #1.2
The Comey Rule Mark Giuliano Miniseries
2021 Hawkeye Derek Bishop Episode: "Never Meet Your Heroes"
Centaurworld The General (voice) 3 episodes
2021–22 Evil Victor LeConte 6 episodes
2023 Dear Edward Mr. Adler Recurring role
Love & Death Fred Fason Miniseries

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
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
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
Lucille Lortel Award Best Featured Actor in a Musical Hamilton Nominated
Gotham Award Best Ensemble Performance Spotlight Won
Independent Spirit Award Robert Altman Award Won
Satellite Award Best Cast in a Motion Picture Won
Boston Online Film Critics Association Award 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
2023 Into the Woods Won
Tony Award Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
Independent Spirit Award Best Supporting Performance The Cathedral Nominated


  1. ^ Brian d'Arcy James [@briandarcyjames] (November 11, 2014). "Today I'm thinking of my grandfather Harry F. Kelly" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b Harris, Richard (Fall 2015). "The Life of Brian". Northwestern Magazine. Northwestern University. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  3. ^ Shirley, Don (January 21, 2003). "Soloing, but not in song". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 6, 2021.
  4. ^ "Photos: 'Next to Normal'". BroadwayWorld. February 11, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  5. ^ Next to Normal [@n2nbroadway] (November 4, 2010). "Breaking casting news! Brian d'Arcy James who originated the role of Dan off-Bway will be joining the Bway production of N2N on 5/17" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  6. ^ Gans, Andrew; Jones, Kenneth (March 20, 2008). "James, Gregory II and Tartaglia Set for Broadway's Shrek". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 11, 2009). "Billy Elliot, Carnage, Ruined and Avenger Are Outer Critics Circle Award Winners". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  8. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 18, 2009). "Ruined and Billy Elliot Win Top Honors at Drama Desk Awards". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew; Jones, Kenneth (May 5, 2009). "Nominations for 2009 Tony Awards Announced; Billy Elliot Earns 15 Nominations". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew (August 14, 2009). "Crawford Will Be Shrek This Fall on Broadway; Tix on Sale Through May 2010". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  11. ^ Jones, Kenneth (August 10, 2009). "James Joins Linney and Silverstone in Broadway's Time Stands Still". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  12. ^ "TIME STANDS STILL Closes March 27 at MTC". BroadwayWorld. March 27, 2010.
  13. ^ " Audience Choice Awards - 2010".
  14. ^ "It's Time for Brian d'Arcy James to Thank Fans for His 2010 Audience Award". June 18, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  15. ^ Gans, Andrew (April 22, 2010). "Brian d'Arcy James Will Rejoin Normal Cast in May". Playbill.
  16. ^ "Married Couple Mazzie & Danieley Take Over in NEXT TO NORMAL 7/19". BroadwayWorld. June 3, 2010.
  17. ^ "Nathan Lane, Idina Menzel, Brian d'Arcy James and More to Perform Broadway Celebration at White House". July 14, 2010.
  18. ^ [1] The Washington Post, 2010[dead link]
  19. ^ Peter, Thomas (March 9, 2011). "Brian d'Arcy James Joins Cast of 'Smash' Musical Pilot". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  20. ^ "Breaking News: NBC Picks Up Broadway-themed SMASH!". BroadwayWorld. May 11, 2011.
  21. ^ Jones, Kenneth (February 6, 2012). "A Show Just for Us: 'Smash,' Starry New Drama Series About the Making of a Musical, Debuts on NBC". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  22. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 22, 2012). "'Smash' Shakeup: Four Stars Axed From Second Season". The Hollywood Reporter.
  23. ^ "UPDATED: Brian d'Arcy James, Will Chase, Jaime Cepero and Raza Jaffrey Not Returning as Regulars on SMASH". BroadwayWorld. May 22, 2012.
  24. ^ "Current Work". Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  25. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 17, 2012). "Brooke Shields and Brian D'Arcy James Will Host Drama Desk Awards". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  26. ^ "29TH BIRTHDAY GALA". Archived from the original on October 17, 2013.
  27. ^ "Brian d'Arcy James, Kate Baldwin, Bobby Steggert, Michele Pawk to Lead Public Theater's GIANT- Full Cast Announced!". BroadwayWorld. September 10, 2012.
  28. ^ Hetrick, Adam (November 19, 2012). "Giant, Starring Kate Baldwin, Brian D'Arcy James and P.J. Griffith, Gets Extension at Public Theater". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  29. ^ Gans, Andrew (April 29, 2013). "Nominations Announced for 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards; Giant and Hands on a Hardbody Lead the Pack". Playbill. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  30. ^ "2013 Drama League Nominations Announced -- KINKY BOOTS, PIPPIN & More Lead with 3!". BroadwayWorld. April 23, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  31. ^ "Brian d'Arcy James, Malcolm Gets and More to Join Ethan Hawke in LCT's MACBETH; Cast Announced!". BroadwayWorld. September 3, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  32. ^ Hetrick, Adam (February 25, 2015). "Spring Awakening Star Is New King of Broadway-Bound Hamilton". Playbill.
  33. ^ Hetrick, Adam (March 23, 2015). "Something Rotten! Puts a Shakespearean Twist On Broadway Musical Comedy, Starting Tonight". Playbill.
  34. ^ Robinson, Will (March 1, 2016). "'Spotlight' star Brian d'Arcy James cast in CBS' 'Superior Donuts'".
  35. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 25, 2016). "'Superior Donuts': CBS Orders New Pilot For Jermaine Fowler Comedy". Deadline.
  36. ^ "Official: Long May He Reign! Brian d'Arcy James Will Rejoin HAMILTON in April". BroadwayWorld. March 9, 2017.
  37. ^ "Euan Morton to be Crowned King George III in HAMILTON on Broadway". BroadwayWorld. July 12, 2017.
  38. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 16, 2016). "'Spotlight's Brian d'Arcy James Cast In Netflix Series '13 Reasons Why', Joins TNT Pilot 'Civil'". Deadline.
  39. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 29, 2017). "Brian d'Arcy James Steps Into Damien Chazelle's Moon Mission Pic 'First Man'". Deadline.
  40. ^ Otterson, Joe (May 10, 2018). "Fox Orders 'Proven Innocent,' 'The Cool Kids' to Series". Variety.
  41. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 1, 2018). "Kelsey Grammer Joins New Fox Drama Series 'Proven Innocent' In Recasting". Deadline. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  42. ^ 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 January 9, 2019.
  43. ^ Boone, John (December 10, 2020). "Marvel Debuts New Trailers for 'Loki' and 'Falcon and Winter Soldier,' Announces 'Fantastic Four' Movie | Entertainment Tonight". Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  44. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 26, 2022). "Encores! Into the Woods Sets Broadway Transfer With Patina Miller, Brian D'Arcy James, Phillipa Soo, Joshua Henry, Sara Bareilles, More". Playbill. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  45. ^ Hall, Margaret (August 12, 2022). "Stephanie J. Block, Sebastian Arcelus, Krysta Rodriguez, Montego Glover, More to Join Broadway's Into the Woods". Playbill.
  46. ^ Harms, Talaura (September 22, 2022). "Brian D'Arcy James and Andy Karl Will Return to Broadway's Into the Woods". Playbill.
  47. ^ Rabinowitz, Chloe (December 15, 2022). "Sebastian Arcelus to Return INTO THE WOODS; Diane Phelan to Take Over as Cinderella". Broadway World. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  48. ^ Culwell-Block, Logan (May 2, 2023). "2023 Tony Awards: Some Like It Hot Leads Nominations; See the Full List". Playbill. Retrieved May 2, 2023.
  49. ^ Wild, Stephi. "Kelli O'Hara and Brian d'Arcy James Will Lead DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES on Broadway Next Year". Retrieved September 13, 2023.
  50. ^ Healy, Patrick. "Weinstein Lands a Big-Name Executive Producer for ‘Finding Neverland’ " The New York Times (artsbeat.blogs), 4 September 2013
  51. ^ Rabinowtiz, Chloe. "A LITTLE MORE ALIVE Album Featuring Brian D'Arcy James, Hunter Parrish & More is Now Available on Apple Music". Broadway World.

External links[edit]