Theatre Hall of Famer Brian Stokes Mitchell, most recently on Broadway in Shuffle Along, will make his solo Feinstein’s/54 Below debut June 13–24 in a concert of songs, mainly from his forthcoming album Playing With Music.
In his debut at the intimate New York theatre district venue, Mitchell will mainly highlight reimagined Broadway tunes from his nearly three-decade career. Mitchell told Playbill that he is working with his music director, Tedd Firth, putting unusual spins on familiar songs like “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “The Windmills of Your Mind” by arranging them with unusual time signatures and tempos. “I hear these songs in a different way,” he said. “I call it the radio that’s playing in my head.”
He’ll also be singing two numbers originally written for women, “The Man I Love” from Lady, Be Good, and “Hello, Young Lovers” from The King and I, and said he’ll also be taking requests from the audience.
One thing fans won’t hear in the concert is anything from Mitchell’s most recent Broadway show Shuffle Along. Shuffle Along, “I didn’t really have anything in that show to sing. The one song I had was a group choral number that doesn’t translate into an act so well.”
Mitchell said, “I just want a joyous evening of music. You know, there’s a lot of crap going on in the world. All you have to do is turn on the news for two minutes, and there’s trainwrecks everywhere. I recently went to Come from Away and [his wife] Allyson saw The Play That Goes Wrong. They are feel-good shows. You laugh and have a great time. That’s what we need now and that’s what this show is. It’s a show where people can come and reconnect with their joy.”
Mitchell won the 2000 Tony, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk awards for his performance as Fred Graham/Petruchio in Kiss Me, Kate. His other Broadway credits include lead roles in King Hedley II; Ragtime; Kiss of the Spider Woman; Jelly's Last Jam; Oh, Kay!; Mail; and the City Center Encores! presentations of Do Re Mi and Carnival. Television audiences are familiar with Mitchell's work from his roles on Trapper John, M.D., Roots, and Frasier. Mitchell is Chairman of the Board of the Actors Fund. In 2016 he was named winner of the Isabelle Stevenson Award from the Tony Awards, and was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
Mitchell has been a special guest performer on three of Playbill’s Broadway on the High Seas cruises. Playbill’s inaugural river cruise along the Rhône River May 21–28 is sold out, but cabins are available for the Rhine River cruise in August 2017, featuring Seth Rudetsky, Andréa Burns, Faith Prince, Terrence Mann, Charlotte d’Amboise, and Santino Fontana. Playbill Travel is now also booking Broadway on the Danube River for November 2017, with celebrity guests to be announced. Visit PlaybillTravel.com for booking and information.