I hope you're all safe and well!
I'm hosting a new livestreamed talk show called "Crossovers Live!" The show features icons who've made the jump from stage to film, television, or music. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Actors Fund.
The show kicks off with Vanessa Williams followed by Marc Shaiman on August 30th, Bernadette Peters on September 27th, Kristin Chenoweth on October 25th, David Hyde Pierce on November 22nd and a special star-studded Holiday Finale on December 20th (finale guests will be announced at a later date).
"With this exciting live format, I can't wait to dig in with these incredible guests to reveal stories and perspectives that will inspire, enlighten and entertain our viewers. The fact that it benefits The Actors Fund makes it doubly special for me."
Cheeky, thought-provoking, and wildly entertaining; iconic artists share stories and elaborate on their transition between different types of stardom. Candid discussions, rare footage and unexpected laughs are just further reasons why "Crossovers Live!" is can't miss entertainment. The six-part series will livestream from New York City and will also be available on video on demand. Buy tickets here.
I'm getting the Key to the City at Gracie Mansion Gala to celebrate the return of Broadway with its 2021 virtual gala. Original Dreamgirls star Sheryl Lee Ralph will host Raising the Curtain: Theater is Back! Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will present Stokes with the Key to the City for his work as chairman of The Actors Fund, which has raised over $22 million to support over 40,000 out-of-work theatre and entertainment professionals during the pandemic. The gala streams June 30 at 6 PM ET. All proceeds will benefit Gracie Mansion Conservancy and The Actors Fund. Tickets are available here.
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Billy Porter and More Form Black Theatre United Coalition. "As members of the Black theatre community, we stand together to help protect Black people, Black talent and Black lives of all shapes and orientations in theatre and communities across the country. Our voices are united to empower our community through activism in the pursuit of justice and equality for the betterment of all humanity. We will not be silent. We will be seen. We will be heard. We are here. Join us.”
Hollywood Bowl: Musicals and the Movies. Stokes and Sutton Foster perform selections from Leonard Bernstein’s love letter to New York City, "On the Town."
Watch online: United in Song: Celebrating the Resilience of America, which was filmed in front of a small, socially distanced audience at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Streaming through 1/31/21.
The talented jazz musician Tony DeSare has put together a wonderful version of "Pick Yourself Up," by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, arranged by himself and my long-time collaborator Tedd Firth. I'm just one of the many vocalists and instrumentalists, studio musicians, and top YouTube music creators singing raise funds for their fellow artists impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Listen and donate to the Actors Fund here.
Watch the nightly Actors Fund live show "Stars in the House," where Broadway Stars sing to you from their own homes and chat with Seth Rudetsky!
Please visit American for the Arts and use this page to send a message to your elected representative to tell them to stand up for the arts during this crisis!
In other news... I’m so excited that my new Album, Plays with Music my third solo album, finally exists outside of my head!
Featuring a wide variety of show tunes ranging from Irving Berlin to an unrecorded Stephen Sondheim song, I approached each song as its own mini-play.
It’s the finale of a really creative and fun process that began three years ago. I wanted to make a big-hearted, exciting, feel-good Broadway album that preserves the spirit of the original songs, while giving them a fresh new life and point of view. Backed by a big orchestra, each song has its own character, unique spin and musical surprises. I sometimes feel like the inside of my mind is like Santa’s toy factory—although the toys I make are musical. Now I get to share them with others! I hope everyone has as much fun listening to them as I’ve had making them.
Hear the first track, There's No Business Like Show Business in this exclusive Playbill feature.
Watch and listen to "I won't send Roses" on Broadway.com
Also, I love followers so please follow me on your favorite platform and be one of the up-to-date "Stokes Folks":
Crossovers Live Show
All profit from this album goes to the Actors Fund. www.actorsfund.com Please donate and help the entire entertainment community!
July 21–23 and August 12–14 at 8:00 pm. Out with the old, In with the New - Lincoln Center Restart Stages. Read more and enter the free ticket lottery at TodayTix.
July 21–23 and August 12–14 at 8:00 pm - Restart Stages - Lincoln Center, NY.
I return to Lincoln Center with an evening of song titled Out with the Old, In with the New. I'll perform a wide range of songs, contemporary as well as favorites from the American songbook and Broadway, to celebrate our finally moving forward from the shadows of this pandemic. Accompanied by a trio of musicians led by music director Tedd Firth. Read more, and enter the free TodayTix Lottery
ONLINE: Stokes reads an adult fairy tale called "Martin in the Mangroves," a new story, by Stoke's old Friend, Daniel Will-Harris. A man remembers his childhood through the lens of his favorite book about a boy and his best friend, a manatee.
Hollywood Bowl: Musicals and the Movies. Stokes and Sutton Foster perform selections from Leonard Bernstein’s love letter to New York City, "On the Town."Also featuring Kristin Chenoweth and Audra McDonald.
Dubbed “the last leading man” by The New York Times, Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a career that spans more than 40 years in Broadway, television, film, recordings and concert appearances with the country’s finest conductors and orchestras.
Mr. Mitchell received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his star turn in Kiss Me, Kate. He also gave Tony-nominated performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, and Ragtime. Other notable Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and most recently in Shuffle Along. Off Broadway includes Do Re Mi, Carnival, Kismet and The Bandwagon at City Center Encores and Much Ado About Nothing at the Delacorte Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park. Regional includes Sweeney Todd at the Sondheim Celebration at The Kennedy Center with Christine Baranski and The Light in the Piazza at the Los Angeles Opera with Renee Fleming. Stokes was four days from opening LOVE/LIFE at City Center Encores when all of Broadway, and most of the country shut down due to the pandemic. However, that didn’t stop him completely. Even while recovering from Covid in March of 2020, he received unexpected additional acclaim and attention for singing The Impossible Dream from his apartment window every night for a number of weeks during the pandemic in honor of the essential workers.
Stokes (as he prefers to be called) was born in Seattle, Washington on Halloween. His father, George Mitchell, was a civilian electronics engineer working for the Navy and later the chief Radio officer with both Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Exxon. His father was also one of the original “Tuskegee Airman” having taught radio and blinker code at Moton Field, Alabama. His mother, Lillian Mitchell was an educator. Stokes spent his childhood in Seattle, San Diego, Guam and the Philippines. He moved back to the United States at the age of 14 and began studying acting, singing and dancing at San Diego Jr. Theatre. Within two years he was performing on various San Diego stages including the Old Globe Theatre and San Diego’s Starlight Opera Company. A transfer to Los Angeles with the 12th Night Repertory Company while performing multi-cultural theatre for students gave him the opportunity to start a long career in Television and film.
His extensive screen credits began with a guest starring role on Roots: The Next Generations which led to a 7-year stint on Trapper John, MD. His 40-year long TV/Film run continued with memorable appearances on everything from PBS’ Great Performances to Frasier, The Prince of Egypt (singing “Through Heaven’s Eyes”), Glee, Jumping the Broom, Madam Secretary, The Blacklist, Bull, Elementary and Prodigal Son. He has had recurring roles on numerous series of late including Mr. Robot, The Path and this season on Evil. As a voice-over artist he has portrayed dozens of characters on hundreds of animated TV episodes. NPR aired his narration of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with the U.S. Marine Band. His second performance at the White House, “A celebration of American Creativity”, was aired on PBS. This season, Stokes begins a new segment of his career hosting a live-streamed talk show called Crossovers. The show will feature icons who’ve made the jump from stage to film, television or music. The six-part series will livestream from New York City and will also be available on video on demand at StellarTickets.com.
An extremely versatile singer, Stokes has performed at venues all over the country spanning jazz, opera, pops, country, and musical theater worlds. He has performed with John Williams, Gustavo Dudamel, Marvin Hamlisch, Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, Bobby McFerrin, Dianne Reeves, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Big Band, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Muppets. Stokes has made multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall beginning with his debut with the San Francisco Symphony through his televised performance in South Pacific opposite Reba McEntire to his sold-out solo concert, which he continues to perform throughout the U.S. Venues he has appeared at include Disney Hall, Tanglewood, Ravinia, The Hollywood Bowl, Radio City Music Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. He has twice been invited to perform at the White House and has sung for Presidents Clinton and Obama.
Stokes has delved deeply into various music disciplines. In addition to singing he began piano studies at the age of 6. His musical curiosity lead him to an interest in orchestration, arranging and film scoring which he first started studying on his own in his late teens. He later studied film scoring, orchestration, and conducting through UCLA and scored and conducted a number of “Trapper John, MD” episodes, a series on which he was also a regular cast member. His musical talent has extended to the present day as producer, arranger and orchestrator on his three solo albums including his newest release, Plays with music.
Plays with Music is an album of classic Broadway tunes that have been musically reimagined but still retain the spirit of the originals. It features the Tony-winning singer accompanied by a full orchestra. “I see each of my solo albums as a continuation of the same art work. My first eponymous album was my introduction, full of personal references to my musical influences and experiences, The second, Simply Broadway, celebrates my Broadway life - but pared down to piano and vocal. Plays with Music continues with the Broadway theme, but it’s really an album about joyful creativity.” The song selection includes works from Camelot, The Bandwagon, Mack and Mable, Company, and includes 2 premiers including Flag Song by Stephen Sondheim. Stokes has appeared on more than 20 albums, including a recording of “What The World Needs Now” with other members of the Broadway community to help those affected by the tragedy at The Pulse club in Orlando, Florida.
Stokes has received a number of other awards for both his charitable and artistic work including the New Dramatist’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the Actors Fund Julie Harris Award, Canada’s Dora Mavor Moore Award (The Canadian “Tony”), the Americans for the Arts Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award, The Actors Fund Medal of Honor, Chicago’s Sarah Siddons Award, and the Distinguished Performance Award from the Drama League. In November of 2016 he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
Stokes charitable work is extensive. Since his 20s has enjoyed working with multiple organizations beginning with tours for the USO and also The March of Dimes. He received his most recent Tony Award in 2016 for his work as Chairman of the Board of The Actor’s Fund, a position he has continuously held since 2004. He is also on the Board and Artist Committee of Americans for the Arts, and is a founding member of Black Theatre United. He is a tireless advocate for both artists and the importance of the Arts in a healthy society. This year the city of New York honored his contributions to charity and the arts by awarding him the Key to the City.
As a writer Stokes has contributed to the book Hirschfeld’s Harlem, wrote the preface to At This Theatre, and co-authored the children’s book Lights on Broadway.
For fun he has been known to fly planes and jump out of them (usually not at the same time), and he can ride a bicycle on a high wire. He resides in New York City with his wife and son.
For more information go to:
Facebook: Brian Stokes Mitchell
The Actors Fund: ActorsFund.org
Americans for the Arts: AmericansForTheArts.org
Black Theatre United: BlackTheatreUnited.com
Broadway is Stoked!
Stokes Reimagines Broadway favorites
It's like hearing them for the first time.
Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell's brings fresh new life into Broadway classics. Featuring a wide variety of show tunes ranging from Irving Berlin to an unrecorded Stephen Sondheim song, Stokes approaches each song as its own mini-play, leaving his indelible mark on such classics as:
There's No Business like Show Business
I Won't Send Roses
If Ever I Would Leave You
The Man I Love
Hello Young Lovers
Wizard Every Day
One Singer. One Piano.
Brian Stokes Mitchell's extraordinary new recording of classic Broadway standards. Listen and purchase here.
How to Handle a Woman
It Ain't Necessarily So
If I Were a Rich Man
Soliloquy (from "Carousel")
What Kind of Fool Am I?
Some Enchanted Evening
Finishing the Hat
The Impossible Dream
Some Other Time
'I’m singing for them’: Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell, recovering from coronavirus, now sings from his NYC apartment window to salute health care workers
Broadway legend Brian Stokes Mitchell, having come through his fight with coronavirus, is now performing nightly a little further uptown — from his Upper West Side apartment window. As in many parts of the city, Mitchell and his stuck-at-home neighbors have been applauding and cheering for healthcare workers every day, with the cheers rising up like clockwork at 7 p.m.
Now, as the clapping and air horn blasts recede each night, Mitchell takes to his window to serenade the street with a hopeful, defiant anthem. His rich baritone rings out even as pots and pans continue to clang. “This is my quest, to follow that star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far." Read the article and watch the video. Download the PDF.
BWW Album Review: PLAYS WITH MUSIC Is a Beautiful Intersection of Emotion, Storytelling, and Life Lessons
Two-time Tony Award-winner, Brian Stokes Mitchell, recently released his third solo album, PLAYS WITH MUSIC, that features a stunning orchestra, including his own arrangements and orchestrations. With a dynamic voice and elegant sound, Mitchell not only provides an enjoyable listening experience, but tells a vivid story with every song. Listeners will go on an emotional journey through longing, love, insecurity, human shortcomings, and more over the course of the album. Read the full review...
STOKES "Plays" at Feinstein's 54 Below
BROADWAYWORLD: Musical Theatre Royalty. We've still got a few... And when it comes to leading men, we've got Brian Stokes Mitchell. The elegant and dapper classical baritone who first burst on Broadway over three decades ago with a booming voice and richly realized performances (from tragic to comic) in such diverse offerings as RAGTIME, MAN OF LA MANCHA and a Tony Award winning turn in KISS ME KATE, has proven time and again (and unequivocally) that he is perhaps Broadway's finest singing actor. Read the full review...
STOKES SERIES REGULAR ON CBS Comedy SERIES
Brian Stokes Mitchell has signed on for series regular roles in CBS comedy pilot Fam, from writer Corinne Kingsbury (The Newsroom), Kapital Entertainment and CBS TV Studios. Mitchell will play Walt, Jay’s father. Sophisticated, intellectual, affluent, he comes from old money, but like his son, he’s unaffected, with a great sense of humor. He adores Clem (tbd), and vice versa, and is delighted when Clem and Jay announce their engagement. More...
The showmanship of Brian Stokes Mitchell
With this show titled “Simply Broadway,” Mitchell consistently put his heart out on the stage, giving the audience a show full of life and showcasing his passion for the thing he’s dedicated his life to: performance... His strong vocals flowed like a wave over the audience, captivating both life-long fans and newcomers alike. It was in this number where Mitchell’s charisma began to shine through, as he showed independence from his solitary spot at the mic stand. Although his voice remained steady, his showmanship took him across the stage multiple times as he not only sang the music he had chosen but acted along to the stories they told. Read More...
“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
― Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
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