James is a founding member of Penumbra Theatre Company, He has been regular on Twin Cities Stages for over 3 decades. Regionally, he’s performed at Arena Stage, Center Stage, The Goodman Theater, The Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Rep, Syracuse Stage and Yale Repertory Theater. He’s appeared Off Broadway in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson and My Children! My Africa! He originated the role of Roosevelt Hicks on Broadway in August Wilson’s Radio Golf for which he received a NAACP Image Award nomination. He is a 2 time Ivey Awardee in 2008 for his portrayal of Troy Maxson in “Fences” & 2015 for ensemble work in “Marcus or The Secret of Sweet” He was also named 2008 “Artist of the Year” by the Minneapolis StarTribune. James is a 2015 McKnight Fellow at the Playwright’s Center and a 2015 TCG Fox Resident Acting Fellow.
James’s extensive performing history includes: Originating the role of Roosevelt Hicks on Broadway in August Wilson’s Radio Golf. He performed multiple roles in the Kennedy Center’s August Wilson’s Century Cycle & Off-Broadway Credits: August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, Athol Fugard’s MY CHILDREN!, MY AFRICA!, August Wilson’s Jitney and Marion McClinton’s Walkers. He has appeared nationally at CenterStage, The Goodman, The Huntington, Seattle Rep, and Syracuse Stage in works by Edward Albee, Carlyle Brown, Lorraine Hansbury and William Shakespeare. Locally, he is a founding member of Penumbra Theatre, appearing in over 30 productions there including Fences, The African Company Presents Richard the Third, The Little Tommy Parker Celebrated Colored Minstrel Show, Les Blancs, Fool for Love and The Odd Couple. A member of the Guthrie Theater Repertory Company for 4 seasons appeared in such shows as A Winter’s Tale, Marat/Sade, Death of a Salesman and Christmas Carol.
Over the past 30 years he has performed in a wide variety of venues including Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Illusion Theatre, Mixed Blood, Park Square and Ten Thousand Things Theatre. Currently James is a proud artistic associate at PH&T where he serves as Artistic Director for the Hennepin County Home School Theatre Project for incarcerated youth and Director of Teen Programming including the Power of Our Voices, a teen social justice program. He has led performance workshops at University of Minnesota, Brown University, Macalester College and the International School of Kenya.. For his work with youth, James was recently presented with The Distinguished Citizen Award from Macalester College for his work with youth, James is a 2005 NAACP Image Award Nominee, he was named 2008 Artist of the Year by the Minneapolis StarTribune., and other awards include the 2008 Ivey for performance excellence.