Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League Award nominee James Barbour just released his new CD "Bring Me Giants" and is about to embark on a multi-city holiday concert tour and gearing up for his Broadway return in the spring of 2012 in "Rebecca." He most recently starred in the world premiere of "Nightmare Alley" at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. His other theatrical credits include Broadway's "A Tale Of Two Cities" for which he was nominated for Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Awards for Best Actor, "Carousel," "Jane Eyre" (Drama League Award Nomination), "Beauty And The Beast," "Urinetown," "Assassins," and "Cyrano The Musical." James was part of the original National tour of "The Secret Garden" and starred as ʻLancelotʼ in "Camelot" opposite Jeremy Irons (Hollywood Bowl) and Michael York (National Tour). He co-starred in "Lewis And Clark Reach The Euphrates" (Mark Taper Forum), the world premiere of "20th Century" (Signature Theatre) and has appeared in many other regional and Off-Broadway productions including "A Tale Of Two Cities" at the Asolo Theatre for which he won the Sarasota Magazine Award for Best Actor, "Back From Broadway" (which he also co-produced and for which he received an LA Weekly Garland Award) and he was nominated for an LA Ovation Award for "The Ghost And Mrs. Muir" at the NOHO Arts Center in Los Angeles.
In addition to theatre, James has lit up the creen in such television shows and films as "Alchemy," Adam Sandlerʼs "Eight Crazy Nights," "Ed," "Sex In The City," "Just Shoot Me," "The District," "Thatʼs Life," "The Game," "Some Enchanted Evening," and "The American Experience: John And Abigail Adams." His voice can be heard on the recordings of "A Gift Of Christmas," "Jane Eyre," "Assassins," "A Tale Of Two Cities," "Broadway In Concert," "The Gift," and the upcoming release of Frank Wildhornʼs "Dracula."
James' 4th Annual Holiday Tour will play from December 4-17. On December 4, James will be at The Spanish Hills Country Club (999 Crestview Avenue, Camarillo, CA, 805-388-5000), December 8-11 at Sardi's in New York City (234 West 44th Street), and December 16-17 at The Coterie at The Renaissance Hollywood Hotel (1775 North Highland Avenue, CA). Don't forget to grab James' latest CD "Bring Me Giants!"
1. Who or what inspired to become a performer? Laurence Olivier.
2. Who is one person or more than one person you haven't worked with that you would like to? Laurence Olivier :)
3. What made you want to start doing a Holiday Concert Tour? What do the holidays mean to you? The holidays have always been special to me. They are a time when all bias is set aside, people smile at one another, open doors for each other...ya know are basically nice to each other despite the toils and troubles of life and that's how I wish the world was all the time. Idealistic...perhaps but it's something I've wished and hoped for. Family is very important to me so No matter where I was in the world I always, always made it home for Christmas and the Holidays. I want to bring that feeling, that warmth to people and this concert has been an effort to do just that. Create a warm home environment every year and share it with others.
4. What excites you about your upcoming "Holiday Concert Tour"? How will this year's concert differ from previous installments? How did you decide to make your NY stop at Sardi's? What does it mean to you to be able to perform at the legendary venue? Well the entire thing excites me. I love the music and the fun. Each year I put new songs into the mix. There's just so much of it. Of course I'll have my tried and true 12 Days Of Christmas interactive. That's a blast.
In terms of Sardi's that idea actually came from Hershey Felder. He suggested that I do my concerts in a venue that was both prominent and intimate. Sardi's fit the bill and I am very happy to be returning there again this year.
5. You just released your new CD "Bring Me Giants," in which you recorded a duet on the album, "I Will Be There" with Morgan James, who I interviewed for "Adaumbelle's Quest" a few months ago. How did you come up with the title on song selection for "Bring Me Giants"? How did you decide to record with Morgan and what did you enjoy most about recording with her? Bring Me Giants is a quote from Cyrano. Each of the songs comes from a piece of music based on a classic literary character and since I've played so many of them it just sort of fit. Plus each of these characters has had to face and overcome adversity of some sort and I like that lesson. No matter who we are we all face some sort of struggle whether big or small. It's how we deal with it, how we rise above the tide and keep moving that makes he difference. So Bring Me Giants.
Morgan I met a few years ago when I was looking for special guests on my Love Songs show at Sardi's. Her manager is an good friend and he suggested her. He sent me some tracks of her singing and needless to say it was a no brainer. She's been part of the family ever since and I'm incredibly happy for all of her much deserved success.
6. You are returning to Broadway in the Spring of 2012 in "Rebecca." What attracted you to "Rebecca" and what do you hope audiences will come away with after seeing the show? What are you looking forward to about your return to Broadway? What's fun about Rebecca is that when I would tell people I was doing the show they all assumed I was playing the Maxim DeWinter role (Laurence Olivier in the film I might add) I guess they thought that because thats the kind of character I always tend to play. The DBG as I call it or Dark Brooding Guy and they were surprised to hear that I was playing Favel. I wanted to do something different, like when I did Urinetown. Favel is funny (I hope) in a slick sort of way. He's a charactery leading man and a departure from what some might say is the "norm" for me. I'm really looking forward to it and I'm ecstatic to share the stage with Sierra Bogess. I have to say one of THE most professional people I've ever worked with and just as cool as a cucumber. Simply the best.
In terms of the audience, I can say for sure that they're going to hear some of the best voices out there and this music is just to die for. Wait until you hear Sierra tear into some of it. Plus the story is just classic. It rides the edge of controversy and in its time the novel opened the door to new things especially when it comes to The Mrs. Danvers character. It was ahead of its time in some ways.
For me...I joke sometimes that I'm a Broadway outsider. I live in Los Angeles with my wife and two kids, love to hang with my dogs (ride my motorcycle in the canyons) and sing Musicals. So coming back to the friends I miss and love, the city that pushed me hard to achieve my goals and the Broadway stage...heck I pinch myself every time. I always say to myself I am fortunate, so very fortunate I am doing what thousands of people only dream of doing and for that I am blessed. I'm very excited to be back on the boards. That truly is home.
8. What is your favorite part of the creative process in putting your holiday concert tour together as well as recording a CD? What is your favorite part of the rehearsal/preview period in a show? Where do you like to rehearse/practice on your own? Picking the material is the fun part. The CD is a bit more difficult because it's a "one off" the songs are not changeable once they're on the CD. The show I change every year. Jeremy Roberts who produced the CD for me is incredible. His skills as a musician are paralleled by his skills as a producer. He makes the process go incredibly smooth. Plus I've been working with him for years on all of Frank Wildhorn's demos, including the recent DRACULA and TEARS FROM HEAVEN releases that again it's like family.
I put the Holiday Concerts together in my car. I listen to music all the time and that's the best place for me to do it. I just listen, pick the songs I want to sing and learn them. I've been doing it for so long now that my musical directors and I are pretty much in tune so it's a fun and easy process. Just for the record we don't rehearse in my car. :)
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Keep walking eventually you'll come out the other end." - Faith Prince 2001 (great advice, great lady).
10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? I once had a dream about Dali...it was surreal.
11. Favorite way to spend your day off? Spending it with my wife and kids. Nothing beats it.
12. Boxers or Briefs? Both.
13. Favorite website? I'm a parent of two kids and have a full time production company. Don't really have time to surf the web...although I am a Mac freak so the Apple site is pretty cool.
14. Superman or Wonder Woman? Silver Surfer.