Brian Stokes Mitchell sings praises for the stage with ‘Simply Broadway’

Stage and TV actor Brian Stokes Mitchell will bring his one-man show “Simply Broadway” to Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium.
Stage and TV actor Brian Stokes Mitchell will bring his one-man show “Simply Broadway” to Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium. Photo provided

Tony Award winner and three-time nominee Brian Stokes Mitchell is no stranger to television and film. His unmistakable, booming baritone voice is one of the best instruments that Broadway has ever had the pleasure of hearing. Mitchell also happens to be one of the warmest, most insightful, down-to-Earth people in the industry.

In a recent phone interview, Mitchell expressed the passion he has for performing and discussed what went into creating his latest album and performance, “Simply Broadway.”

“I chose songs from about 75 years of classic musical theater, some characters I’ve played and some that I haven’t,” Mitchell said of the process of choosing what songs to include. “That allowed me to become the character sonically on the album, but also I knew when I was doing a concert that I would be able to become these characters physically as well. So that is really what the concert is, and that is why it is called ‘Simply Broadway’ because it is done very simple, but I get to play a lot of different characters.”

The concert will be simple — just Mitchell and pianist Tedd Firth, and with an instrument as golden as his voice, there is no need for a full-fledged orchestra. The stripped-down performance style will allow for a unique experience for Mitchell. What he hopes the audience will say is this: “ ‘Look what he’s doing on stage, he’s creating this character and the lighting and the costumes and the sound effects and everything else without them being there.’ And I think people get really excited about that when they see show. Then they realize something magical is going on in a very unusual way on the stage.”

The concert will include all of the songs from “Simply Broadway,” including “If I Were a Rich Man” from “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Stars” from “Les Miserables“ and “The Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha.”

Mitchell said “Simply Broadway” will be a concert to see.

“It’s never the same thing twice. I’m literally doing totally different songs every day,” he said. “I’m saying something totally different, you know, depending on the audience, the concert, what I’m feeling like. There’s all these different permutations of me in a concert form. ... It’s never the same thing twice and that’s what I love about that.”