FLASH FRIDAY: The Titanic Talent Of Brian D'Arcy James
In a correlative column to this weekend's extensive and exclusive InDepth InterView, tonight we are shining a special solo spotlight on the vast multitude of talents possessed by one of Broadway's brightest stars - known best to theatre fans for his tremendous turns in Maury Yeston's TITANIC, Andrew Lippa's THE WILD PARTY, the original musicals SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, SHREK and NEXT TO NORMAL, as well as original dramas such as TIME STANDS STILL - who now can now regularly be seen on NBC's hit music drama series SMASH, and, starting this Sunday in a three-episode arc on Showtime's THE BIG C co-starring with fellow Broadway notable Tammy Blanchard - the one and only Brian d'Arcy James. While you will have to wait until tomorrow for the entire career-spanning conversation that covers his experiences working on those thrilling original musicals as well as his reflections on collaborating with the starry array of cast members and creatives on the Steven Spielberg-produced SMASH and what lays ahead for Season Two, now is an absolutely ideal opportunuity to reacclimatize ourselves with the incredibly impressive resume Brian has amassed in just fifteen years on the Great White Way. With everything from originating slimy press agent Sindey Falso in the Marvin Hamlisch/Craig Carnelia/John Guare SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS to donning the green make-up of Shrek in SHREK to portraying a murderous clown in THE WILD PARTY and a lodger on The Titanic, he continues to surprise us with each and every new role - SMASH being no exception. The best question may very well be: just what can't Brian d'Arcy James do? As this spell-binding collection of clips prove, he can do everything - and then some.
At Every Age
Going back almost fifteen years to the day and starting at the very beginning of his Broadway career, here is Brian d'Arcy James with the original cast of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical TITANIC on THE ROSIE O'DONNELL SHOW on May 12, 1997, performing the unforgettable opening number.
A vocal proponent of the oft-derided show, Rosie O'Donnell welcomed Brian back to the show to perform "The Night Was Alive" with Martin Moran from the TITANIC cast as a part of her Broadway Week.
The next year, Brian made an appearance on THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN as a singing cop, captured here in this hilarious clip, delivering the Miranda Rights in a whole new way.
Brian joined Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, Julia Murney and a host of other up-and-coming talents in Andrew Lippa's Off-Broadway THE WILD PARTY. See him take part in the boozy and bawdy centerpiece, "The Juggernaut", here.
Next, see Brian's heartbreaking turn in "Make Me Happy" from Lippa's THE WILD PARTY.
Now, check out Brian d'Arcy James as Sidney Falco in this performance of "At The Fountain" from SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS on THE ROSIE O'DONNELL SHOW. As Brian told me in our chat, it's almost like four songs in one - hear and see why here.
Be sure to listen to this medley of songs from SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS and check out the complete cast album, as well - you won't regret it.
As a special curiosity, check out this unique composition - "The Search" by Peter Lerman - as only Brian can deliver it.
Now, sample selected scenes from Brian's work in the play TIME STANDS STILL, co-starring THE BIG C lead Laura Linney.
In the same year as TIME STANDS STILL Brian also managed to find time to do a month and a half in the Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical NEXT TO NORMAL - a show which he participated in when it was at Second Stage - and bring his characteristic compassion to the role of Dan with electrifying results. Witness Alice Ripley and Brian take on "You Don't Know" here in this live clip from GOOD MORNING AMERICA.
Now, see a performance capture from NEXT TO NORMAL Off-Broadway at Second Stage in this clip of "Just Another Day".
Alice Ripley's final performance was an especially exhilarating performance and you can see Brian, Alice and the creators onstage celebrating the event in this candid clip. Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey eloquently speak, as well.
Displaying much more of his stupefying range of talents, see Brian take on the green ogre named Shrek in this clip from SHREK: THE MUSICAL, sharing the stage with Sutton Foster on the winsome duet, "This Is How A Dream Comes True", here.
Next, see Brian's big balled from SHREK, "Who I'd Be".
Here is Brian and the cast of SHREK: THE MUSICAL on the 63rd TONY AWARDS show. Enjoy!
Now, see all the work that went into recreating the iconic cartoon look from the hit films in this behind-the-scenes clip of the extensive and complex makeup application procedure for SHREK.
Brian d'Arcy James discusses his role on NBC's SMASH with his hometown Michigan TV station in this charming interview.
Check out this montage from THE APPLE TREE in which Brian shared the stage with SMASH co-star Marc Kudisch, as well as GLEE and WICKED standout Kristin Chenoweth.
Finally, see and hear his affection for his home in this stunning self-penned Christmas song from his superlative holiday album, "Michigan Christmas".
As a special bonus, capping off this collection in the grandest of manners, here we have the entire cast of SMASH in the epic, enthralling "A Thousand And One Nights" Bollywood entertainment extravaganza.
So, what has been your personal favorite Brian d'Arcy James performance to date? Did he wow you most in SHREK or will you never forget your very first exposure to his huge talents in perhaps TITANIC and/or his first leading role, in SWEET SMELL? Are you enjoying him so far on SMASH? Furthermore, what would like to hear him sing on the show in Season Two? Will you be watching him alongside Broadway babies Laura Linney, John Benajmin Hickey and Tammy Blanchard on THE BIG C this Sunday? What about the SMASH season finale Monday night? Don't forget Brian will also be headlining a week at 54 Below at the end of June, too! He's an incredibly busy guy, but we can all be sure each and every one of the performances he gives will be of the gold standard we all know he is more than merely capable of achieving - always; now, as in every other one of his gilded ages.