The U.S. touring production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” has suspended James D. Beeks from its ensemble after the musical theater performer was arrested on charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Beeks, whose stage name is James T. Justis, portrayed Judas in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
When not crossing the boards, Beeks was also apparently an affiliate of the Oath Keepers, the far-right anti-government militia organization that participated in the Jan. 6 riots. Beeks paid dues to the group in December 2020. According to a statement from the “Jesus Christ Superstar” producers, Beeks is “…suspended from the company indefinitely pending the outcome of the hearing. The production is giving its full cooperation to the authorities while the investigation is ongoing.”
Beeks is also a Michael Jackson impersonator with Broadway credits that include “Kinky Boots,” “Aida,” and “Ragtime.” He has been charged with obstruction of Congress, which is a felony, as well charged with a misdemeanor for unlawfully entering a restricted building.
Beeks was arrested in Milwaukee this week, where “Jesus Christ Superstar” was performing. According to his arrest warrant, Beeks participated in the attack on the Capitol while wearing a “BAD” world tour jacket. The criminal filing includes pictures that purport to show Beeks — whose face is covered by a neck gaiter — as part of a “stack” formation of Oath Keepers outside the Capitol. He also carried a homemade shield and was part of a group of rioters who tried to breach the Senate chamber, according to the FBI’s criminal complaint.
Law enforcement was able to establish that Beeks was in the D.C. area on Jan. 6 because he used his ATM card in Northern Virginia and in a parking lot in Washington. In addition, authorities linked social media posts featuring Beeks in the BAD jacket with surveillance photos of a rioter wearing the same coat. Beeks was observed by agents in early November 2021 at performances of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Beeks was listed as a cast member of “Jesus Christ Superstar” on Tuesday, but his bio has now been taken down from the show’s site and a new actor is listed as playing Judas.
In an October interview with Equality365, Beeks said that he was working on a book called HisStory about his experiences growing up as a foster child. He also described the influence that Jackson had on his career.
“I went to a Michael Jackson concert and saw him live when I was younger,” Beeks said. “I remember thinking: ‘I want to do something like this,’ but didn’t know how or when.”
Beeks made an initial appearance in federal court in Milwaukee and was released pending further proceedings.