Family & Companions
Endowed with a lung capacity of a champion free driver, graced with a thunderous baritone that makes him a natural for Broadway, and gifted with a versatile handsomeness that only grow more distinguished with age, three-time Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell began lighting up stage and screen early in his career. The son of a Navy engineer who taught radio code to the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, Mitchell was born in Seattle on October 31, 1957. He started singing practically before he started talking, and by age six he was training on the piano. His father's job took the family to military bases around the globe, making for a somewhat nomadic childhood before the Mitchells decided to plant roots in San Diego. By then, the burgeoning actor had begun to discover his love of the stage. Mitchell was in junior high when he made his acting debut in "The Taming of the Shrew," and it was around that time that he began to realize his unique racial blend gave him a distinct advantage in landing roles. Part African-American, part American-Indian, part Scottish, and part German, Mitchell's protean combination of physical features allow him the chameleon-like ability to disappear into almost any role. By high school, Mitchell was already a professional performer. A self-professed autodidact, the emerging talent didn't need to be in a classroom to be learning, instead opting to teach himself musical arrangement, composition, and orchestration. Private acting and vocal lessons added a few more wings to his expanding wheelhouse, so when opportunity knocked in the form of a role in 1979's "Roots: The Next Generations" (ABC 1979), Mitchell was well prepared to answer. Mitchell joined the cast of "M*A*S*H" (CBS 1972-83) spinoff "Trapper John, M.D." (CBS 1979-1986) as young doctor Justin "Jackpot" Jackson. Though he appeared regularly in guest roles after the show's end, he began to focus primarily on stage work in New York. In 1998, he earned a Drama Desk award and a Tony nomination for his performance as Coalhouse Walker in the 1987 musical adaptation of E.L. Doctorow's "Ragtime." Two years later Mitchell took home both awards for his performance in "Kiss Me Kate," with additional roles in "Man of La Mancha" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman," earning him the distinction of "the last leading man" by none other than the New York Times. He returned to series TV with a supporting role on the sitcom "Fam" (CBS 2019- ) in 2019.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Special)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Studied piano from age six (date approximate)
First professional role as a disciple in an Old Globe Theatre production of "Godspell" (date approximate)
Moved to Los Angeles (date approximate)
TV acting debut, as John Dolan in the ABC miniseries "Roots: The Next Generation", credited as Brian Mitchell
Co-starred on "Trapper John MD"
Broadway debut in "Mail"; had originated the role in Southern California
Starred in short-lived all-black revival of the Gershwin musical "Oh, Kay!"
Feature acting debut in "Ghost Dad"
Played recurring role on the NBC sitcom "Fresh Prince of Bel Air"
Succeeded Gregory Hines as Jelly Roll Morton in the Broadway musical "Jelly's Last Jam"
Co-starred opposite Melba Moore in a production of the Duke Ellington musical "Queenie Pie" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
Replaced Anthony Crivello as Valentin in the Broadway musical "Kiss of the Spider Woman"
Cast in the role of Coalhouse Walker Jr in the staged reading of "Ragtime"; also appeared in the workshop and on the concept album recording; changed billing to Brian Stokes Mitchell
Played Coalhouse Walker Jr in the Toronto premiere of "Ragtime"
Moved with "Ragtime" to Los Angeles
Provided singing voice of Moses' father-in-law for the DreamWorks animated film "The Prince of Egypt"
Opened on Broadway in "Ragtime"; received Tony nomination as Actor in a Musical
Returned to Broadway as the star of August Wilson's "King Hedley II"; garnered Tony nomination
Played Paul Berthalet in the Encores! staging of "Carnival"
Cast in title role of the Kennedy Center production of "Sweeney Todd"
Performed on stage in the "Encores!" concert staging of "Kismet," at the City Center in New York