New Glee Dad Brian Stokes Mitchell
From onstage at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, the Tony-winning Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell asked if there were any “Gleeks,” a.k.a. fans of the television show, “Glee,” in the audience.
Having recently been cast as LeRoy Berry, one of character Rachel Berry’s TV dads, Mitchell pointed out that he and Lea Michele – who plays Rachel Berry – first appeared together in the Broadway show, “Ragtime,” when she was ten years old. “I watched her grow up,” he said.
Mitchell gave performances Mar. 9 and Mar. 11 and then joined patrons for receptions after each, the first in the lobby; the second at the nearby restaurant, Zengo. Following the first show, as well-wishers gathered to meet the handsome leading man, he said, “I’m having a ball on ‘Glee.’ It’s a joy to be working there – the whole cast is so talented.”
Mitchell said he and Michele performed in both the original Broadway production and the pre-Broadway Canadian run of “Ragtime” and he’s seen her in other shows in the years since. In 2008, they reunited onstage in the Hollywood Bowl’s “Les Miserables.”
Considering their history together, Mitchell said he hopes the two will sing together in a future episode of “Glee.” He said he’s been hired for three shows — so far, he and Michele’s other TV dad, Jeff Goldblum as Hiram Berry, have been in two of them.
Grammy-Award nominee Monica Mancini, in the after-party crowd opening night, said she sang with Mitchell at Symphony Hall in Boston and the Hollywood Bowl. The daughter of Henry Mancini, she and Mitchell sang what else, but her legendary father’s iconic tune, “Moon River.”
Mancini said that although the song wasn’t written as a duet, she has sung the song with others on occasion. Of her experience with Mitchell, she said, “It was magical.”
Often playing leading men onstage, Mitchell earned his first Tony nomination for “Ragtime.” Since then, he won the best actor Tony for “Kiss Me Kate” and additional nominations for “Man of La Mancha” and “King Hedley II.”
His varied program at the Broad Stage featured Gershwin tunes, a few classics and songs from his musicals, including a haunting rendition of “This Nearly Was Mine” from “South Pacific.” He performed the song without a microphone – in deference to traditions at the time show opened in 1949 -and got a well-deserved standing ovation.
After noting that he and Jeff Goldblum play gay dads on “Glee,” he sang “Hello Young Lovers” from “The King & I.” He pointed out that states – other than California – have passed laws allowing same-sex marriage, and that the song was targeted to all lovers.
There were also some lovely surprises, such as “The Waters of March,” which he said was Brazil’s most popular song by a wide margin, according to a recent poll. Another of the night’s tunes, “I Was Here,” came from a children’s book, “Lights On Broadway,” which includes a CD of the song.
Later sold to benefit The Actors Fund, which he chairs, the books disappeared within minutes after guests adjourned to the lobby. On Mar. 9, guests also found a cheese buffet, candied nuts, veggies and desserts, courtesy of Along Came Mary with Los Angeles Magazine providing additional support.
Top photo: Tony Winner and New Glee Dad Brian Stokes Mitchell at the reception after his first performance on The Broad Stage
Second photo: Dale Franzen, left, artistic director at The Broad Stage, with Grammy Award nominee Monica Mancini, right, at the after-party
Third photo: Dale Olson, left, trustee of The Actors Fund, with David Rambo, right, writer/producer of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “V.”
Bottom photo: Brian Stokes Mitchell signs autographs and greets well-wishers
All photos on this page by Ben Gibbs, Ben Gibbs Photography
IN OTHER SOCIETY NEWS LOS ANGELES:
Tony Winner and New Glee Dad Brian Stokes Mitchell at the Broad Stage
Published Mar. 12, 2012 – Society News LA