(Composer) composed the score of the Off-Broadway musical The Spitfire Grill (Playwrights Horizons, 2001) which won the Richard Rodgers Production Award administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Stephen Sondheim, chair; Ned Rorem, president) and received Best Musical nominations from the Outer Critics Circle and Drama League as well as two Drama Desk nominations (cast album: Triangle Road Records). The show, written with collaborator Fred Alley, has been produced over 250 times across the United States, in Germany, and most recently in South Korea. In 2008, The Spitfire Grill will have its UK premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Also Off-Broadway, James was the composer/author of Zombies from The Beyond, which opened to critical acclaim in 1995 (cast album: Original Cast Records).
Other NYC credits include Fallout Follies at the York Theatre, Songs I Never Sang For My Father at the Village Theatre, and The Last Leaf, a collaboration with Tony-nominee Mary Bracken Phillips. Regionally, James has composed music for Love's Labours Lost at Idaho Shakespeare Festival and Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Twelfth Night at Door Shakespeare, Tomas and the Library Lady at Idaho Theatre for Youth, an adaptation of the classic children's book The Pancake King commissioned by Milwaukee's Next Act Theatre, and The Passage (another collaboration with Fred Alley) at American Folklore Theatre in Wisconsin.
Broadway credits as conductor and/or musician include Chicago, Flower Drum Song, Cabaret, Scarlet Pimpernel. Other conducting credits: Maurice Sendak's production of Really Rosie (national tour), Candide, Lady in the Dark, South Pacific (Skylight Opera Theatre), and She Loves Me (Indiana Rep). James holds an MFA from the Graduate Musical Theatre Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.