James D. Beeks, a stage actor who has appeared on Broadway in Kinky Boots, Aida, Ragtime, and Smokey Joe’s Cafe and most recently starred as Judas in a major touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar, was arrested yesterday in Milwaukee on charges stemming from the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol.
Beeks, who performs in Superstar under the stage name James T. Justis, is charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia with obstruction of Congress, a felony, as well as a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds. He made his initial appearance in the Eastern District of Wisconsin after being arrested Tuesday, and was released pending further court proceedings.
Read the FBI’s criminal complaint here.
The actor, who also performs as a Michael Jackson impersonator, was identified by law enforcement officials in part by the Michael Jackson Bad Tour jacket he can be seen wearing in photographs of the Capitol siege. The Justice Department describes Beeks, 49, as “an affiliate of the Oath Keepers.”
According to the FBI’s court complaint, Beeks, a resident of Orlando, Florida, was in Milwaukee for a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. He had been observed by law enforcement officials at Superstar performances in San Francisco and Los Angeles earlier this month.
In court documents cited by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Beeks and other members and “affiliates” of the Oath Keepers “marched in ‘stack’ formation into the Capitol grounds and then up the east steps of the Capitol to the area outside of the Rotunda doors.”
“Beeks was part of a mob of people, including some who attacked law enforcement,” the Office said in a statement. “At 2:38 pm., the doors were breached, and the group stormed into the Capitol. Once inside the Capitol, the group split up. Half of them, including Beeks, tried to push their way through a line of law enforcement officers guarding a hallway that led to the Senate chamber. Law enforcement forcibly repelled their advance. Beeks and others with him regrouped in the Rotunda and then left the building at approximately 3:04 p.m.”
“Unlike the camouflage-combat attire of many individuals in the group,” the statement continues, “he was wearing a Michael Jackson ‘BAD’ world tour jacket and a black helmet, and he was carrying what appeared to be a homemade black shield.”
The case against Beeks is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Tampa Field Office, with assistance from the FBI’s Milwaukee Field Office and the U.S. Capitol Police.
Beeks’ most recent Broadway appearance, credited under the name James Delisco Beeks, was as Angel in the 2018 replacement cast of Kinky Boots. He had previously appeared in the replacement casts of Aida, which ran from 2000-2004; Ragtime, which ran from 1998-2000; and Smokey Joe’s Cafe (1995-2000). He has played Judas since the start of the 2019 50th Anniversary North American tour of Jesus Christ Superstar – a production that began life in a 2017 Olivier Award-winning staging at London’s Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, directed by Timothy Sheader.
Earlier this morning, the Jesus Christ Superstar website still listed Beeks (as James T. Justis) as Judas, though his photo and bio were subsequently scrubbed, with no replacement named other than a standby actor listed in the role.