James Barbour Produces Frank Wildhorn’s Dracula in Concert to Kick-Off Series Presenting Entire Catalog
Photographer Hugette Leduc
James Barbour’s Twitter handle @jamesbarbourNOW
James Barbour’s website: www.jamesbarbour.com
James Barbour’s Christmas Album on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/a-gift-of-christmas/id345210257
Written by JH
November 27, 2014
It was the day before Halloween in Hollywood, California when the audience turned out to see Broadway Stars James Barbour, Darren Ritchie, Brandi Burkhardt, Tracy Schell, RF Daley and Danny Stiles sing the music of Frank Wildhorn’s Dracula in concert. Dracula is the first in a series of concerts that James Barbour and his Laughing Dog Media group will be producing from Wildhorn’s vast catalog, with the intent of reaching millions of people who may have never heard many of his Broadway hits before.
James Barbour just recently won Los Angeles’ coveted Ovation Award for outstanding performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. He has been nominated for the Outer Critics Award and Drama Desk Award for portraying Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities on Broadway. Audiences are very familiar with James as he played the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in the Los Angeles production as well as on Broadway opposite acclaimed pop singer Toni Braxton. He has starred on Broadway in such Tony-Award winning shows as Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, Carousel as Billy Bigelow, Urinetown as Officer Lockstock and as Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre (Drama League Award nomination). He also appeared in the Broadway production of Cyrano and the national tour of The Secret Garden. James was fortunate to star opposite Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons in two separate productions of Camelot the last on Broadway at the Shubert Thetare.
Frank Wildhorn is a Tony nominated writer of music for Broadway with Jekyll & Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Civil War, Dracula, the Musical, Victor/Victoria, Wonderland and Bonnie and Clyde. Other works include Camille Claudel, Waiting for the Moon, Cyrano de Bergerac, the Musical, Rudolf – The Last Kiss, Never Say Goodbye, Carmen, The Count of Monte Cristo, Tears of Heaven, Mitsuko, Excalibur and Havana.
While still performing regularly, James is now wearing the producer hat because he wants to share amazing music with others. As a performer he has had a long relationship with composer Frank Wildhorn. So when he asked Frank if he could perform his catalog in concert, Frank did not even hesitate and gave James the thumbs up. So James began with Dracula, the Musical on October 30, 3014 in Holloywood. He called some of his Broadway friends to join him on stage and the series is now underway.
When I asked James why he chose Frank Wildhorn’s catalog he responded with this: “Frank is a prolific composer not only of great Broadway music but of pop music as well. For example, Frank wrote the song Where Do Broken Hearts Go for Whitney Houston. His music spans both the Broadway and Pop genres which makes it easily accessible for the public. And the shows which he writes have timeless themes with which we are all familiar. Plus…I just really like to sing his music. To me, it was a no brainer.” Other songs from Frank’s Broadway cannon include This is the Moment from Jekyll & Hyde about a man trying to shed the demons that haunt him. It is a very powerful song and uplifting. Bring Me Giants from Cyrano is another uplifting song that has been a favorite among James’ fans when he performs a live show. At Last from Dracula is a song about two soul mates coming together after being apart for hundreds of years.
In the Dracula concert James plays Dracula perfectly with his tall build and dark demeanor. Brandi Burkhardt as Mina, Dracula’s long lost love, has the purity needed in a role where she falls in love with one of the darkest characters in literature creating a dichotomy where her purity can transform even the evilest of men to good. Darren Ritchie reprises his Broadway role of Jonathan Harker Mina’s husband. Tracy Schell, who was also in the Broadway production, plays Lucy, Dracula’s first victim. And with Broadway veterans RF Daley and Danny Stiles as Van Helsing and Renfield the cast filled out very nicely.
Stay tuned to future announcements as this series roles out for your chance to see Frank Wildhorn’s music performed live by top performers.