There’s getting into character and then there’s getting into character. James D. Beeks gave us quite the example of the latter. The Broadway performer who had been playing Judas Iscariot in the U.S. tour of Jesus Christ Superstar has been charged “with obstruction of Congress and unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds,” according to the Daily Beast.
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Beeks has numerous Broadway roles under his belt, having performed in Broadway roles like Kinky Boots, Aida, Ragtime, and Smokey Joe’s Cafe. But in his off-Broadway hours, the 49-year-old was “an affiliate of the Oath Keepers” — the far right anti-government militia organization which had a large presence at the attempted insurrection of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and has since found itself on the business end of the FBI.
A federal investigation found that Beeks was part of the crowd that attacked law enforcement officers in January, apparently sporting one of Michael Jackson’s BAD tour jackets while he did so. According to his YouTube page, Beeks also worked as a Michael Jackson impersonator.
In an interview with Equality365 dug up by Politico, Beeks spoke on his unique take on Judas. “I don’t look at it as Judas being a bad guy. I think he is a hero,” he said. “I am honored to be the archetype of Judas and to give him a voice. Myself, being a person of color, I cherish that. I think that we’ve been told we have to question society. I want people to look at Judas in a different light and from different perspectives. He wasn’t a bad guy, and was only doing what he had to do.”