The Show That Late He Led: Brian Stokes Mitchell Exits Kate Jan. 28

News   The Show That Late He Led: Brian Stokes Mitchell Exits Kate Jan. 28 Brian Stokes Mitchell, who took home a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for Broadway's Kiss Me, Kate, ends his run in the revival of the Cole Porter tuner Jan. 28.
Brian Stokes Mitchell in Kiss Me, Kate.
Brian Stokes Mitchell in Kiss Me, Kate. (Photo by Photo by Joan Marcus)

Brian Stokes Mitchell, who took home a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for Broadway's Kiss Me, Kate, ends his run in the revival of the Cole Porter tuner Jan. 28.

Mitchell leaves behind two characters in the hit backstage musical — arrogant producer-director Fred Graham and swaggering Petruchio. "Stokes," as the actor is known, moves into rehearsals for King Hedley II, August Wilson's new play, trying out at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC Feb. 25 before opening at the Virginia Theatre on Broadway April 29.

Mitchell hands his Kiss Me, Kate tights over to Burke Moses, who begins performances opposite Tony Award-nominee Marin Mazzie (who plays Lilli and Kate) Jan. 30.

Mitchell created the role(s) in the revival, which began performances in October 1999. Moses is remembered for his turn as the original Gaston in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast. Alfred Drake starred in the original Broadway production on Kate in 1948.

Moses made his Broadway debut as Sky Masterson in the Jerry Zaks revival of Guys and Dolls. He created the role of testosterone-pumped villain Gaston in the Broadway production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast and earned a Drama Desk nomination and a Theatre World Award. He also swaggered in the tuner in the Los Angeles and London productions . Moses appeared in the Encores! Staging of Lil Abner (title role) and Dubarry Was a Lady. In Kiss Me, Kate, he'll sing some of Porter's choicest material: "So in Love," "Where Is the Life That Late I Led?," "Wunderbar," "Were Thine That Special Face" and "I've Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua."

Mitchell will be seen in the upcoming Showtime film, "Ruby's Bucket of Blood" with Angela Bassett. His official website reported that he will play Fred/Petruchio in London in the future, although there has been no official word about a West End staging of the Broadway Kate.

Kiss Me, Kate, directed by Michael Blakemore, continues at the Martin Beck Theatre, 302 W. 45th St., in Manhattan. Call (212) 239-6200 or (800) 432-7250.

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Mitchell's departure breaks up a special Broadway pairing: He and Mazzie were stars of the original company of Ragtime, in Toronto in 1996, and its subsequent Broadway staging.