Mitchell impressed the outdoor audience with his lush rendition of Stephen Sondheim's "Another Hundred People," which was preceded by a snippet of the Billy Strayhorn classic "Take the 'A' Train." Earlier in the program, the award-winning singer-actor also offered a few lines from Man of La Mancha's "The Impossible Dream" as a birthday present to "Today Show" co-host Natalie Morales, an admitted Mitchell fan.
The Tony winner also spoke about his love for recording and an upcoming concert tour that will feature many of the songs from his Playbill Records release. Mitchell's wife, Broadway actress Allyson Tucker, and their young son Ellington were also on hand to cheer him on.
The "Brian Stokes Mitchell" CD thrillingly blends the sounds of musical theatre and jazz, the two worlds that have had the most impact on the singing actor. About his new recording, Mitchell recently told Playbill.com he chose songs that reflect "my life and who I am - not only my musical journey but my journey through life, while also still giving [my] musical theatre [fans] what they were hoping for but being true to the sounds that I hear and my musical influences. What I ended up doing was taking mostly theatre songs and giving them arrangements that weren't Broadway-style arrangements but were my unique way of arranging music."
The complete track listing for "Brian Stokes Mitchell," which was mixed by Grammy winner Al Schmitt, follows.
"Something's Coming" (L. Bernstein/S. Sondheim)
"The Best Is Yet to Come" (C. Coleman/C. Leigh)
"Pretty Women" (S. Sondheim)
"Just in Time" (J. Styne/A. Green/B. Comden)
"Lazy Afternoon" (J. Moross/J. Latouche)
"Another Hundred People"/"Take the 'A' Train" (S. Sondheim)/(B. Strayhorn)
"How Long Has This Been Going On?" (G. Gershwin/I. Gershwin)
"Life Is Sweet" (M. Tavara/L. Feather)
"Losing My Mind" (S. Sondheim)
"Being Alive" (S. Sondheim)
"How Glory Goes" (A. Guettel)
"Grateful" (J. Bucchino) Brian Stokes Mitchell, who recently starred in the City Center Encores! presentation of Kismet, earned a Tony nomination for his performance in the title role of Man of La Mancha. He won the 2000 Tony, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards for his performance as Fred Graham/Petruchio in Kiss Me, Kate, and 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! mountings of Do Re Mi and Carnival. Television audiences will be familiar with Mitchell's work from his roles on "Trapper John, M.D.," "Roots" and "Frasier." Mitchell was elected the twelfth president of the Actors' Fund of America, and he has performed in concert halls and cabarets around the country.