James Clow is currently playing Bob Wallace in the national tour of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas which is playing at Kennedy Center in The Opera House through Sunday. In NYC James has been seen on Broadway in White Christmas, Assassins, Wonderful Town, Company, She Loves Me, and Blood Brothers. Other NYC credits include Madison Square Garden: Peter Pan as Captain Hook opposite Cathy Rigby, City Center’s Encores! productions of Pipe Dream and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Vineyard Theatre’s production of Marc Blitzstein’s Juno. James has toured the country with Les Misérables, Jekyll & Hyde, Oklahoma!, Sunset Boulevard, Jesus Christ Superstar, and, Into the Woods. TV credits include “The Good Wife,” PBS’s “Great Performances – Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall” and “Live from Lincoln Center – Passion.” James holds a BFA from Syracuse University, has attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and Groundlings Improv. I first saw James as Edward Rutledge, in a wonderful production of 1776 at Williamstown Theatre Festival way back in 1991 in which a good friend of mine Don Perkins was playing John Adams. When Don did Brigadoon at Westchester Broadway Theatre a few years later James was the lead in that production as well. I was lucky enough to catch that production also. I love to hear James sing and you will too. If you have not seen Irving Berlin’s White Christmas yet and you want a little more holiday cheer, you have until Sunday to see James and the rest of the fantastic cast in The Opera House at the Kennedy Center.
What was your first professional performing job?
My first equity job was playing Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at Syracuse Stage. I was attending Syracuse University at the time and auditioned for a walk on ……after many auditions I was cast as Romeo (opposite a wonderful actress named J Smith- Cameron and directed by Arthur Storch). Arthur gave me my first break and I’ll always be grateful to him.
You are currently on tour with Irving Berlin’s White Christmas which you played in on Broadway a few years back. How does it feel to return to the show?
It feels wonderful to return to Irving Berlin’s White Christmas for so many reasons. I’m getting to work with lots of old friends, singing great songs, and I made my Broadway debut (almost 20 years ago) in Irving Berlin’s Broadway theater – The Music Box.
I saw you early in your career at Williamstown Theatre Festival as Edward Rutledge in 1776. It starred Don Perkins as John Adams and Rex Everhardt reprising his role from Broadway of Benjamin Franklin and was staged by the original production team. What are your memories of working on that production?
Wow – I’m so glad you saw that production of 1776. I have such fond memories of that entire experience! There were a few of the original Broadway cast members: Rex Everhardt and Ralston Hill, etc. I was 26 at the time playing Rutledge (who was 26 at the signing of the Declaration of Independence) and even more extraordinarily – I’m related to Edward Rutledge. I fell in love with the entire cast which included so many wonderful actors. To this day I think it’s the best book of a musical…It is a cast of all men except for Abigail Adams (Cass Morgan) and Martha Jefferson (Jane Krakowski). It felt like a cross between a colonial locker room, a pub, and an incredible acting class. It was one of those golden experiences, where all the p’s lined up: the part, the people, the play, and the place. Oh, one of my absolute favorite experiences!
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas utilizes the Irving Berlin song catalogue. What is your favorite Irving Berlin song?
It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I love the joy of “Blue Skies,” the heartbreak of “Suppertime,” the simplicity of “What’ll I Do?” and the entire score of Annie Get Your Gun….and Call Me Madam. Oh, and “Russian Lullaby” is great too! I didn’t come close to picking one – did I?
After this tour finishes where can we see you next?
After the tour I’m going someplace sunny… Then I’m going to sing with Lorna Luft at Birdland on February 11th.