On the couch this week is someone you’ve probably seen bring his special finesse and sparkle to some of your favorite Broadway shows of all time (Beautiful, Chicago, Guys & Dolls, The Color Purple, and Aida to name a few…), but Ain’t Too Proud actually marks his (long overdue) principal debut. James Harkness brings his smooth dancing and crooning voice to the production as “The Classic Five Temptation’s” group choreographer, “Paul Williams.” Want to learn more about this Broadway vet? Take it away, James!
What do you consider to be your best asset?
What was your proudest moment?
Being in a place in my life where I can take my mom to places she has dreamt about going.
What is your favorite drink?
Half ginger beer/half pineapple juice. Bartenders & waiters often look at me a bit odd when I order it but I tell them to try it. If they do, their look changes to understanding.
What is your favorite food?
Food. Period. Haha! But since I have to choose for this – many know I’m a breakfast person. So pancakes & waffles reign supreme in that area.
What is your favorite condiment?
Olive oil/salt & pepper. It can be used in so many foods both savory & sweet. One favorite use is on red grapes cut in half. Drizzle, shake or stir & eat.
What is your current obsession?
Ain’t Too Proud & anything by Janet Jackson.
If you could give up one of your vices, what would it be?
That’s a bit personal. Also, I only have a couple, and none are the common ones, and I have no desire to give them up. At least not at this point in time.
What is the one professional accomplishment you long for most?
I’m a songwriter. I want to experience hearing and seeing my music whether sung by myself or other artists I will write for – everywhere. I’m getting better at writing and pushing in that direction.
What is the one thing you waste too much money on?
Waste is a strong word don’t you think? Lol. I love shoes, particularly athletic shoes. So I have a lot of ’em. And I wear them all.
What is the one activity you waste too much time doing?
Easy answer – internet.
What do you consider to be the single greatest threat to your health?
Interesting question. I had to continue with the other questions and come back to this one. The greatest threat is always going to be myself. I can’t control outside forces – those are going to exist, wax and wan as long as life itself. It’s up to me to take the best care of myself as I am able, and within that sometimes I fail but mostly succeed. Hey, I’m still standing & able to do what I love.
What is the single best trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
Treating others well. That viewpoint may be different depending on who you talk to but I do the best I know how in any given moment. Sometimes those moments have to be revisited but that provides growth so it’s not always a bad thing.
What is the single worst trait you inherited or learned from your parents?
Honestly, I can’t say there is one. My mom is pretty amazing & while I haven’t always agreed with her, she has always strived to teach me what she knew to be best.
What in the world most thrills you?
Creativity. It’s all around us in life in so many ways. So many that we take for granted the sparks of ideas that brought everything material that we have around us into being.
What current trend in popular culture most irritates you?
Mimicking someone else’s sound/style to the point you can’t tell one artist from another. And I’m not talking about inspiration. We are all inspired. I wish artists were encouraged & given time to truly find their own sound & self.
What was the single most embarrassing moment you’ve ever experienced on the job?
I don’t know if there’s a single most moment but there are some that rise to the top. While doing Chicago on Broadway playing Fred Casely, I got applause after my act two courtroom entrance (the first & only time lol) and I was taken aback & excited. My exit was immediately after and as I went to jump over the light rail my back foot clipped it and in the silence you heard this loud metallic thwang! And I was like “wah waaaaah!” That’s what they are going to remember lol!
What is your favorite place in the world?
Anywhere I’m happy.
What is the most important trait you seek in a romantic partner?
Also a hard question because, for me, one trait in a person does not define them or make them right or wrong or better for me or worse. It’s a combination of things & then how my combination hopefully works with theirs.
Do you prefer the company of dogs or cats?
Both. And when the time comes I will have one of each.
What would have to happen to make today the best day of your life?
No way to answer that. In my past I might have had a definitive answer to that – getting to work for Janet, winning certain awards, or other things of the ilk. But as I’m older I have had so many moments that I thought were the best until I had another and another. There are so many things that can happen that feel like & in that moment are the best. But don’t limit yourself to just one. So in writing that I guess my answer is – that I wake up to live another day to see what I will bring.
What is your personal motto?
I don’t have one. I just keep going. Sometimes I stumble, at times I fall, many times I hurt, I almost always heal, and I definitely keep moving.