According to deadline.com, James will play the husband of Julia, the musical's lyricist, who will be played by Emmy Award winner Debra Messing.
James received Tony Award nominations for Shrek the Musical and Sweet Smell of Success. Additional stage credits include Time Stands Still, Next to Normal, Port Authority, The Apple Tree, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Pavilion, Flight, The Good Thief, The Wild Party and Titanic.
"Smash" will also feature stage veterans Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher, Angels in America, Legally Blonde) and Megan Hilty (9 to 5, Wicked) as well as "American Idol" contestant Katherine McPhee in its cast.
The pilot was written by playwright Theresa Rebeck (Our House, The Scene, Mauritius) and will feature songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Catch Me If You Can, Hairspray).
The pilot was conceived by Academy Award-winning director Steven Spielberg ("Schindler's List," "Saving Private Ryan"), who will co-executive produce.