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Dubbed “The Last Leading Man” by The New York Times, BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway, television, film and recordings, along with appearances in the great American concert halls. He is a true renaissance man, whose credits include work as an actor, singer, dancer, voice-over artist, author, arranger, orchestrator, conductor, and record producer.
Stokes’ musical artistry has kept him in demand by some of the country’s finest conductors and orchestras. He has performed selections from Porgy and Bess with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall; works by Aaron Copland and various contemporary composers at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the batons of Leonard Slatkin and John Mauceri; Broadway tunes at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC under the baton of Marvin Hamlisch; and jazz and standards with John Williams at Walt Disney Concert Hall and with the Boston Pops. He premiered Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici’s Rip Van Winkle with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin.
He reprised his Tanglewood performance in John Williams’ jazz version of My Fair Lady in December 2004 at Walt Disney Concert Hall, singing with Dianne Reeves. In 2005 he made his cabaret debut as both singer and musical arranger in New York at Feinstein’s at the Regency in his critically acclaimed one-man show Love/Life which then moved to the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. He returned there in November 2008 with a critically acclaimed concert accompanied by his arrangements for guitar, bass, and percussion.
Stokes headlined the Carnegie Hall concert presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific with Reba McEntire, which aired on PBS in the spring 2006 and was also released on DVD and CD. He reprised his role along with Reba McEntire in July 2007 at the Hollywood Bowl and returned to the Bowl in 2008 starring as Javert in Les Misérables and in 2009 as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. This summer he will be starring as Frank Butler with Patti LuPone in Annie Get Your Gun at Ravinia.
Stokes’ Broadway career includes performances in Man of La Mancha (Tony nomination and Helen Hayes Award for Best Actor in a Musical), Kiss Me Kate (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Actor in a Musical), Ragtime (Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical), August Wilson’s King Hedley II (Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Play), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam (replacing Gregory Hines), David Merrick’s Oh, Kay!, and Mail, which earned him the Theatre World award for outstanding Broadway debut. In 1998 he was the sole recipient of that year’s Distinguished Performance Award from the Drama League, the nation’s oldest theatrical honor, for his performance in Ragtime.
His television career began to take off with a seven-year stint on Trapper John, MD. Numerous other film and TV appearances include memorable recurring roles as Hillary’s bungee-jumping newscaster boyfriend in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as Frasier’s obnoxious upstairs neighbor Cam Winston, and on Crossing Jordan. As a voice-over artist he has appeared on many animated TV shows.
Televised concerts include several performances on PBS’ “Great Performances” and as a recurring performer at the July 4th and Memorial Day concerts from the lawn of the Capitol building. He made his “Presidential Debut” ten years ago in “The Singer and the Song” from the White House (PBS). This past holiday season he starred in the PBS Christmas special “Ring Christmas Bells” with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, also released on CD and DVD.
Stokes has appeared on numerous cast albums and has guested with various artists from Michael Franks to his most recent collaboration with children’s recording sensation Dan Zanes. In 2007 he released his self-titled album as the inaugural artist on the Playbill Records label. In addition to singing, Stokes produced the album and also wrote many of the arrangements and orchestrations. The executive producer was Stokes’ frequent collaborator, Richard Jay-Alexander and it was mixed by 15-time Grammy winner Al Schmitt.
As an author, Stokes wrote the forward to At This Theatre, contributed to Hirshfeld’s Harlem, and co-authored the newly-published Lights on Broadway with Brian Stokes Mitchell – a colorful theatrical primer for young people that includes a special debut recording of the Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty song, “I Was Here,” rewritten especially for the book.
Stokes has enjoyed working with numerous charitable organizations from the March of Dimes to the USO, and has been President of The Actors Fund since 2004.
He lives in New York City with his wife, son, and adopted mutt, Diggidy.