I greatly admire the simple.
The haiku poem
that smells of springtime
The scant lines on paper
that take you to Camelot
The music of the duo
that expresses the span of humanity.
The inspirations are many:
Basho, Hirschfeld, Bennett and Evans...
The goal is one:
To create the most with the least.
It helps if you have a collaborator
who shares a creative past-
A remarkable pianist like
A virtuoso friend and musician
of great versatility, sensitivity, and artistry.
We recorded in the same room at the same time,
one mic bleeding into the other
working without a net
playing in the vastness of the simple
- Brian Stokes Mitchell
About BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL
Dubbed "The Last Leading Man" by the New York Times, Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a rich and varied career of Broadway shows, television, film, recordings and appearances in the great American concert halls. A true renaissance man, his 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 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 L.A. Philharmonic under the batons of Leonard Slatkin and John Mauceri; Broadway tunes at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. under the baton of the late Marvin Hamlisch; Duke Ellington tunes with the Smithsonian Jazz masterworks Orchestra and jazz and standards with Maestro John Williams at Disney Hall and with the Boston Pops. He debuted Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici's Rip Van Winkle with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. Stokes reprised his Tanglewood performance in John Williams' jazz version of My Fair Lady in December of 2004 at Disney Hall, singing with Dianne Reeves. In 2005, he made his cabaret debut as both singer and musical arranger at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York City in his critically acclaimed one-man show Love/Life, which then moved to the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center. He received both the New York Bistro and Nightlife awards for his cabaret debut. He returned there in November of 2008 with another 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 of 2006 and was also released on DVD and CD. He reprised his role, along with Ms. McEntire, in July of 2007 at the Hollywood Bowl and returned to the Bowl in 2008 starring as Javert in Les Miserables and again in 2009 as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls.
Stokes' Broadway career includes performances in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, 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. For the New York City Center Encores! series, he has starred in Do, Re, Mi with Nathan Lane, Carnival with Anne Hathaway, and most recently in Kismet. In 1998 he joined the company of Helen Hayes. Sir John Gielgud. Alec Guinness. and James Earl Jones when he became 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.
After his screen debut as a guest star in Roots: The next Generations, Stokes' long television career took off with a seven-year stint on TrapperJohn, MD. Among his many other film and TV appearances, there were 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 most recently recurring on Glee as one of Rachel’s 2 dads, opposite Jeff Goldblum. As a voice-over artist he has played dozens of characters on animated TV episodes and last Memorial Day NPR aired his narration of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with the U.S. Marine Band. This coming December on PBS, Stokes narrates First Freedom, a documentary about the creation and evolution of religious freedom in America.
Televised concerts include several performances on PBS' Great Performances and as a recurring performer at both the July 4th and Memorial Day Concerts from the lawn of the Capitol Building. He made his "Presidential Debut" 10 years ago in The Singer and the Song from the White House (PBS). In the summer of 2009, he consoled both a family and a nation with his rendition of The Impossible Dream at the memorial service of Senator Ted Kennedy. During the Holiday season of 2009 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 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 liner notes were penned by John Williams.
This fall Brian Stokes Mitchell releases his second solo album “Simply Broadway”, a recording of Broadway classics. The songs are performed in the tone and spirit of the original versions but are uniquely creative due to the new arrangements and live interaction with Stokes and his remarkable pianist of past 5 years, Tedd Firth. Using the model of many recordings from the mid-20th century, “Simply Broadway” was captured without the benefit of overdubs, audio separation or digital tuning. What is heard on the recording is the spontaneous interaction of two artists playing off each other in the same room at the same time. Stokes also produced the album. The recording will be accompanied by a number of charitable concerts designed to promote a spirit of cooperation and philanthropy and also emphasize the importance of the arts in each of our lives.
As an author, Stokes wrote the forward to At This Theatre, contributed to Hirshfeld’s Harlem, and coauthored 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 donated his portion of the royalties to benefit The Actors Fund, a human services organization that helps anyone in crisis who has made a living in show business or the performing arts.
Brian Stokes Mitchell continues to perform weekly as both a soloist and a guest star at concerts all over the United States. 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. On October 15, 2012, Stokes will receive the "Outstanding Contributions to the Arts Award" from the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, Americans For The Arts. He lives in New York City with his wife, son, and adopted mutt, Diggidy.