Back Again, for the First Time
Yesterday, I wrote about seeing Brian D'Arcy James perform "You'll Be Back" from Hamilton.at a Theater Department fundraiser at Northwestern University in 2018. He created the role in the original off-Broadway production before it went to Broadway and Jonathan Groff took over the role (repeating it in the film.) However, a couple of years into the show's Broadway run, he returned to the role he created.
That evening at Northwestern was called "A Starry Night," hosted by alum Stephen Colbert with several dozen famous alumni returning to perform, which I wrote about here. (I would be bereft for not mentioning that the evening was written by another fellow-alum, the Lady Shellington, my pal Shelly Goldstein, who I mention here periodically.).
Though there's no video of Brian D'Arcy James' performance off-Broadway (or at the Northwestern evening, unless in an archive somewhere), I was happily able to find audio of his stage performance. As I noted, his version is different from most. It's still funny -- hard not to be because it's a funny song -- but he doesn't play it for laughs. Rather, he takes it seriously, very majestic as a king -- and malevolent. The seriousness comes through in his voice, though the malevolence was more pronounced in his physicality and facial expressions. But you'll note that there aren't many laughs (or any) until near the end, whereas most other renditions have laughs throughout.
Brian D'Arcy James is an accomplished Broadway performer, with three Tony nominations, along with his TV work. He's probably best known for starring on Broadway in the musical Shrek, as well as Something Rotten, Next to Normal, along with the musicals Something Rotten and Next to Normal -- as well as playing 'Banquo' on on Broadway in Macbeth, and for playing Debra Messing's husband in the series Smash. Though I suspect most people might recognize him as the HBO lawyer in John Oliver's now-classic musical extravaganza "Eat Sh*t, Bob!" on Last Week Tonight, which I posted here.) However, he'll likely be getting a lot more attention in the upcoming Steven Spielberg remake of West Side Story, playing 'Officer Krupke.'
And with all of that as background, here's the audio of his original performance as 'King George III singing "You'll Be Back."
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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