Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Letter 2013

As the year draws to its close, I take the opportunity, as I do every year, to look back on the creative adventures I was fortunate to enjoy, and look ahead toward the year to come.

2013 was a year of new creative connections and partnerships, and a return to a few of my favorite theatre companies for more fulfilling endeavors.  The year started in Norfolk, VA, where I had the good fortune of playing the role of King Frederic in the world premiere production of the smart and sassy new musical, Frog Kiss.
This fresh new show by Charlie Leipart and Eric Schorr swept the awards at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2010, and was no less rapturously received in our glittering production at Virginia Stage Company in January and February.  I was blessed to play opposite the extraordinary Aisha DeHaas, and to share the stage with talents like Curtis Holbrook, Stephanie Rothenberg, Preston Truman Boyd, and Katie Lee Hill, under the direction of Broadway veteran Kenny Roberson; and all of us were blessed to work for a truly visionary producer, Tamara Tunie.  While I don't know what lies ahead for Frog Kiss, I do know that it is a joyful, irreverent and entertaining new musical, NOT based on a movie, and deserves a Broadway production.  Hopefully with me in it! Click here for the show's official website, with production photos and video.

Come spring, I was welcomed back to my home town of Beverly, MA and North Shore Music Theatre, to play one of my 'bucket list' roles--the charming opportunist Max Detweiler in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, The Sound of Music.  There are certain roles that I am passionate about playing before my time on the planet is over, and Max was one such.
 The real gift was to play him in a production of such taste, beauty and brilliance as the one I did at NSMT under the direction of gentle genius James Brennan.  Everything about the show was top notch, and that included a cast of true stars: from the beguiling Maria of Lisa O'Hare, to the elegant Von Trapp of David Andrew MacDonald, to the thoroughly lovely Elsa of Jacquelynne Fontaine and the majestic Mother Abbess of Suzanne Ishee. I very much expect to play Max again in future, but those future productions will have much to live up to!  See video glimpses of the show here.

In August, it was time for the annual Bootleg Shakespeare production by Taffety Punk Theatre Company at the Folger Theatre.  This was my fifth time performing in this theatrical event, and this year's play was Love's Labour's Lost, in which I was given the rakish and witty Boyet to play.
 As with every other Bootleg production, we actors were assigned our roles weeks in advance, did all our text work and memorization, and arrived at the Folger at 10AM on the day of the one public performance for a dizzyingly fast day of rehearsal and staging.  The SRO crowd was treated to a fresh, spontaneous and electric rendition of this classic battle of the sexes, performed by T-Punk company members supported by artists from the talented DC theatre community and a few out of towners like me.  As always, it was a fulfilling, joyful and satisfying affirmation of the power of the Bard and the collaboration possible between theatre artists.

Right after I returned from DC, I auditioned for the wonderful DJ Salisbury for a production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.  DJ had helmed a record-breaking production of this jukebox musical for Ogunquit Playhouse the season before, and the theatre was bringing it back, in a co-production with Gateway Playhouse on Long Island.

I was cast in the dual role of 'Hi-Pockets' Duncan, Buddy Holly's mentor, and the Clear Lake Emcee, an over the top queen who hosts the final concert wearing a red pompadour and a plaid tux jacket.  We ran the show first in lovely Bellport, L.I. at the Gateway, an old school summer theatre that even resembles a red barn.  I immediately fell in love with my fellow castmates, all of them incredibly talented actor/singer/musicians and we had a great time playing to sold out houses in between barbecues, beach trips and bowling tournaments (click here for a video feature on the Gateway production).  At Ogunquit, we enjoyed the same rapturous audience response and watched the seasons gloriously change in that magical part of southern Maine.

In the midst of all this performing activity, I also had the pleasure of directing a cabaret act for talented singer Lianne Marie Dobbs, which had great runs at the Metropolitan Room throughout the season.
The show, "Everything Old Is New Again," features fresh takes on the American Songbook by this polished singer/actress who channels the spunk and smolder of the great ladies of yesteryear.  I am very proud of the collaboration with Lianne and her musical director, Bill Zeffiro, and I am thrilled to announce that Lianne is completing work on her debut album of songs from our show! Visit Lianne's website for reviews and to download preview tracks from the new album.

Ever on the search for a better way to bring in the bucks during the downtimes between shows, I have been building a business as coach for performing artists.  My coaching work runs the gamut from helping actors build a repertoire of audition pieces, to coaching audition sides and songs, to assisting college hopefuls with their audition presentations.  I have also had the pleasure of working with actors on the shows I do out of town, coaching their audition videos and helping them prepare for callbacks on their days off.  I am so excited to contribute to other artists this way, and to bring together the many strands of experience and training I have gathered over the last 25 years.  Many of my actors have booked roles, achieved admission to conservatory training programs, and been invited to callbacks on Broadway productions.  I have become one of a stable of top notch coaches on the new web resource for performers, Coach Me NYC.  There, performers can view profiles of coaches, read reviews from satisfied clients, and book sessions.  Watch this space for the launch of my new website exclusively for my work as coach and director!

As of now, 2014 is a blank.  Some might view this uncertain future as scary;  I prefer to think of it as rife with possibility.  Having dedicated the past several years to building a strong career as a stage actor, I am pursuing ways of breaking into film, TV and web series.  With the help of some wonderful mentors within the college theatre community and with resources from the Actor's Work Program at the Actor's Fund, I am gathering my credentials as a theatre educator while coaching performers and gaining valuable experience.  And along with this activity, I am doing re-writes on my feature length screenplay, and shopping around a musical which I have high hopes of directing in the near future.  Expanding my creative outlets and job opportunities is priority one for the new year, and I look forward to the possibilities!  For now, may I wish you and yours a warm and joyous holiday season, and an abundant and exciting 2014!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Rave On! "Buddy" Rocks The Gateway!

I never really knew anything about this show until I began working on it a couple weeks ago, but what I have learned is that audiences LOVE "Buddy!"  The story is one of a true American original and music pioneer, and the show is chock full of classic rock and roll performances, brought to the stage by actors who are also superb musicians.  It's no wonder the piece breaks box office records wherever it plays, like in Ogunquit, where we will be performing in October, and where the show exceeded sales for every production in the theatre's 80-year history last season.

As 'Hi-Pockets' Duncan, with Kurt Jenkins as Buddy Holly

I am delighting in my dual roles of good ol' boy country DJ 'Hi-Pockets' Duncan, and the MC for the climactic Clear Lake concert at the end of the show.  The MC is a mashup of Charles Nelson Reilly and Paul Lynde, a snarky queen with a red pompadour and a repertoire of groaner jokes.  To have such contrasts to play in one evening is such fun, and these multi-character 'tracks' are something I have become a bit of an expert at executing.

We have two more weeks of shows here at Gateway, in lovely Bellport, NY.  For more information, visit the Gateway website.  After a two week hiatus, we will open October 2 at Ogunquit Playhouse, where I have not performed since starring in "La Cage Aux Folles" in 2007.  To return to this fabulous theatre in beautiful Maine in a production that has already had such a huge success there is something I eagerly look forward to!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Oh Boy!

Well, the theatre is an unpredictable animal and sometimes things change on a dime!  Just as I was announcing my participation in "Bless You All!" with Unsung Musicals Co., I received an offer to come in as a last minute replacement in the role of 'Hi-Pockets' Duncan in "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story."  This will be a joint production between Gateway Playhouse in Bellport, NY and Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine, and will be directed by DJ Salisbury.

'Hi-Pockets' was Buddy Holly's first manager, a Texas D.J. who discovered Buddy and helped him find his first record deal with Decca.  "Buddy" is one of the most successful shows in West End theatre history and has proven enormously popular in the U.S.  It was so successful at Ogunquit the last time it was presented there, this will be an encore engagement.  I am delighted to return to Ogunquit, having starred in the exceptionally wonderful "La Cage Aux Folles" there in 2007 for the theatre's Diamond Jubilee.

I will post news and reviews from "Buddy"over the next couple months!  As of this writing, I have three days to pack up my luggage, tra la la, and get ready to dive into a new part.  That's show biz.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bootleg Shakespeare a Triumph! Next up: an Unsung Musical!

On August 5th, an SRO audience crowded into the Folger Theatre to experience the electricity and power of this year's Bootleg Shakespeare presented by Taffety Punk Theatre Company.  "Love's Labours Lost" began rehearsal that morning at 10AM.  The dedicated and impeccably prepared actors came together in a spirit of creativity (and alacrity) and by 7PM the show was sketched in just enough for the off the cuff performance to take wing.  And take wing, it did, bursting with life and joy and eliciting laughter and excitement in the audience.

I played the French Princess's right hand man, Boyet, as a rumpled, wise and dapper gent who still has a yen for the ladies.  It was bliss working with these great talents again, and I am proud to say this was my fifth in the Bootleg Series.  For more on Taffety Punk and the amazing work they are doing in DC,  click here.

I was delighted to have been asked to join the company of a revival of a forgotten musical revue from 1950 called "Bless You All!".  Ben West, the producer and director of Unsung Musicals Co., has resurrected this lost gem, penned by Harold Rome and Arnold Auerbach.  I will be playing one of the two 'Top Bananas,' sketch comedians in the tradition of Phil Silvers and Sid Caesar.  The production will play the Connelly Theatre in NYC September 19 through October 5.  For more on Unsung Musicals and to purchase tickets for "Bless You All!" click here.

In Recent News...

The cabaret act I directed, "Everything Old is New Again," starring the vivacious singer Lianne Marie Dobbs, was asked back to the Metropolitan Room for an encore performance in July.  The show has garnered fantastic reviews and Lianne is now at work on a CD of songs from the act.  Please visit Lianne's website for future dates, reviews, video and to find out how to purchase her CD!

One last bit of news to share: I am building my work as a teacher and acting coach here in the city, and I am pleased to say that I will be working with a new website called CoachMeNYC, which will be a clearing house for performing arts coaches of all kinds.  I am looking forward to the site going public shortly, and to working with talented actors and singers on everything from college auditions to solo performance.  Keep an eye on this space for more on this new venture, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Success with "The Sound of Music" and Shakespeare in a Day

"James Beaman plays family friend Max Detweiler with a sophisticated touch."
-- Wicked Local

"James Beaman raises the bar with his outstanding dramatic performance as exploitive Nazi sympathizer and Von Trapp's erstwhile friend-festival planner Max Detweiler, especially in the song "No Way To Stop It.'" --Chelsea Record

"Beverly's native James Beaman's impeccable timing & tone offered comic relief at just the right moments, playing the Captain's good friend Max Detweiler."--NoBo Magazine
Pictured here with Jacquelynne Fontaine as Elsa.

There's nothing I can say about "The Sound of Music" at North Shore Music Theatre but sublime. Wonderful, convivial cast, sensitive gentleman of a director, amazing orchestra, and sold out houses.  Performances had to be added to the run.  It was an unqualified success and I loved playing Max.  For a look at the B-roll video footage of the show, click here.


It's that time again!  The annual marathon that is Taffety Punk Theatre Company's Bootleg Shakespeare at the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C.  This will be my fifth Bootleg experience; in previous years I played Posthumus in "Cymbeline", Theseus in "The Two Noble Kinsmen," Hubert in "King John," and last year I was The Ghost/First Player in "Hamlet: The Bad-Ass Quarto."

This year it's "Love's Labour's Lost," that delightful war of words, that battle of the sexes, full of wonderful Elizabethan wordplay and poetry.  I played Don Armado in my graduate thesis production at The Academy for Classical Acting, but this time I get to do Boyet, the right hand man to the Princess of France.  Boyet is wry, funny, and wise, and I have some of the best comedic Shakespeare set speeches in the canon.  I am working on learning the 180 lines of the role, and will head down to D.C. on Monday, August 5, where in one afternoon we will sketchily rehearse the play, working out entrances and exits, learning whatever choreography needs to be learned, and we are just wrapping up our work when the SRO audience is stretching around the Folger Library and then: it's off we go.  An almost entirely improvised production of Shakespeare, one performance only.  It's a terrifying and incredibly thrilling experience.  For more info, visit Taffety Punk here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Prodigal Son Returns!!


For my next role, I get to play the deliciously charming Max Detweiler in the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, "The Sound of Music."  And I get to return to North Shore Music Theatre and my hometown of Beverly, MA.  'Uncle Max' is one of the classic character roles in the musical theatre repertoire and one I always hoped to play.  So excited to have the opportunity now, and back home where my family can see me in it! Stay tuned for posts from this exciting production, along with photos and reviews as they appear.

In other news, I continue to build my teaching and coaching work, holding private coaching groups here in New York, and working individually with actors on everything from Shakespeare verse speaking to audition preparation.  If you or a performer friend need a stimulating, inspiring and supportive coach, contact me.  You can email me directly at  You may also connect with me at LinkedIn, and follow me on Twitter: @JamieBeaman.  I have also gotten in on the ground floor with a brand new web resource, CoachMeNyc.  The site is still in development, but it will soon be the go-to clearing house for coaches in all areas of the performing arts.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

2013 Off To a Great Start!!

As King Frederic in "Frog Kiss" with Aisha De Haas

"King Frederic (James Beaman) and Queen Margot (Aisha dHaas) provide a sweet portrait of enduring love and mutual respect (and tolerant parenting) in a long lived marriage."  ~Veer Magazine

The new year started with the unexpected and thoroughly joyous opportunity to create a role in the World Premiere of the new musical, "Frog Kiss."  From beginning to end, this was a labor of love, and I worked with an extraordinary cast under the leadership of director Kenny Roberson, choreographer Lorna Ventura, and music supervisor Zane Mark; and all of us were guided by the expert hand of our amazing lead producer, Tamara Tunie.  Virginia Stage Company pulled out all the stops and produced a gorgeous show, which was rapturously received.  We are all hopeful that the Broadway dreams for this show come true for all.  Visit the website link above for more news, photos and reviews!

Auditions are heating up for summer work and I am right in there, duking it out with the rest of 'em!  I have had some great opportunities and am hopeful of some exciting roles ahead.  Meantime, I have been gaining momentum with my teaching and coaching work.  At the end of this month, I will have the pleasure of teaching a select group of promising young performers who will be making a special trip to New York from the Punahou School in Hawaii.  During the week, they will receive dance and voice classes, as well as my acting classes and coaching, and will attend Broadway shows and meet successful graduates who have gone on to successful show business careers.  I am very excited to work with these talented kids and establish a new teaching relationship with Punahou.

I also am planning to teach the Goodspeed Musicals Audition Intensive for the fourth year this summer.  Co-creating and leading this workshop, which prepares high schoolers to audition for college theatre programs has been a great joy for me and I am incredibly proud of our graduates who have gained admission to some of the finest training programs in the country and abroad.  This year we are moving the workshop from December to August, affording our students the chance to be even more ahead of the curve and prepared for the busy audition season in early 2014.  If you know a talented teen who is interested in pursuing a performing career, I encourage you to enroll them in this one of a kind intensive.  For more information, visit Goodspeed Musicals.

Stay tuned for more news as I start booking roles for the upcoming season!