Brian Stokes Mitchell Blew Us Away

Chairman Emeritus and major benefactor Milton Maltz, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Board Member and major benefactor Tamar Maltz and Producing Artistic Director Andrew Kato pose for photos at the post production performance of Mitchell in concert raising funds for the Maltz-Jupiter Theatre and the Actors Fund. (Photo: Donald Cavanaugh)

I saw Brian Stokes Mitchell in concert this weekend at the Maltz-Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter.  What a wonderful performer and what an incredible voice.  He did a non-stop medley of songs from Broadway shows including How to Handle a Woman (Camelot), If I Were a Rich Man (Fiddler on the Roof), Some Enchanted Evening (South Pacific), Finishing the Hat (Sunday in the Park with George), The Impossible Dream (Man of La Mancha), and more.

He didn't have a lot of introductory chatter and moved smoothly from one rendition to another, semi-acting each role, painting the lyrics in the air as he moved across the stage employing a few, simple props.

He praised and thanked his accompanist, pianist Tedd Firth, several times and with good reason having collaborated with Mitchell on arrangements he was a key part to the success of the program. Firth was almost as shy appearing, as Mitchell was out-going. An interesting contrast.

During one brief break Mitchell talked about good things that had happened in the year just passed and he mentioned legalization of gay marriage in a number of states.  Cast members from the Chorus Line, currently in rehearsal (Opens Jan 14, 2014), had a block of seats on one side of the auditorium and exploded enthusiastically in response to his mention of civil rights for all. In subsequent gender-important songs he switched pronouns when he sang toward the gay group and back for the general audience.

All-in-all, it was a splendid performance made even better by a reception dinner before the show and dessert and meet-and-greet with Mitchell afterward. Both events were held in the theater's new second floor space called "The Green Room.”

Mitchell has an incredible aura that surrounds him on stage and in person. His vocal range and expression are incomparable and he slides from full rich baritone to a clear, high tenor so smoothly it takes your breath away.

The concert was part of a series of productions that Mitchell will perform during 2014 that includes splitting funds raised between Mitchell's beloved charity, the Actors Fund and a local non-profit theater, like the Maltz. Mitchell encouraged generosity from the patrons and shared that 87 percent of funds raised by the Actors Fund go to the beneficiaries of the work of the agency.

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