Brian Stokes Mitchell dishes about 'Glee' at his Broad concert
In addition to being known as one of Broadway’s top leading men, Brian Stokes Mitchell is fast becoming familiar to television audiences as one of Rachel Berry’s dads on Fox's “Glee.” So it came as no surprise during his concert Friday on the Broad Stage in Santa Monica when he took a moment to ask if there were any “Gleeks" -- that is, followers of the TV phenomenon -- in the house. While there was applause in response to the question, it seemed Mitchell's fans are not the hooting and hollering kind.
He then talked of his history with Lea Michele, who plays Rachel. The two first shared the stage in the original Broadway cast of “Ragtime” when Michele was 8. They have since appeared together in the 2008 Hollywood Bowl production of “Les Misérables,” he as Javert, she as Eponine.
“I watched her grow up,” he told the audience.
At a post-concert reception in the Broad lobby, in answer to questions about “Glee,” Mitchell said: “I’m having a ball on ‘Glee.’ It’s a joy to be working there -- the whole cast is so talented.” He said he was hired for three shows and hopes he will have the chance to sing with Michele in a future episode. So far two of the episodes have aired with Mitchell and Rachel's other TV dad, Jeff Goldblum.
Mitchell earned his first Tony nomination for “Ragtime” and additional nominations for “Man of La Mancha” and “King Hedley II.” He won the best actor Tony for the musical “Kiss Me, Kate.”
In a special highlight, he sang “This Nearly Was Mine” from “South Pacific” without a microphone, in deference to theatrical traditions that existed during the original 1949 production.
The audience gave him a well-deserved standing ovation.
-- Ellen Olivier
Photo: Brian Stokes Mitchell signs autographs for fans after his Broad Stage concert. Credit: Ben Gibbs.