31 Oct 2013

Q & A with Brian Stokes Mitchell

Brian Stokes Mitchell performs with the Utah Symphony

Broadway’s Brian Stokes Mitchell with Utah Symphony PR Director Renee Huang.

Brian Stokes Mitchell is no stranger to Utah. He’s performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Conference Center during their holiday show, and has skied at the majority of resorts here in search of the perfect snow. This weekend, November 1 and 2 at Abravanel Hall, he presents the first pops concert of Utah Symphony’s season with Principal Pops Conductor Jerry Steichen, and he sat down to talk with us about kids, food and life.
Your birthday falls on Halloween – did you love it or hate it as a child?
“As a child, I loved having my birthday fall on Halloween. It was the best day ever. I used to call it “the perfect day to be born” because it was the one day adults would dress up like and act like kids.”
When did you first know you wanted to be a performer?
It wasn’t until I was 14 years old and playing a role in Bye Bye Birdie with San Diego Junior Theater that something clicked. It was my first time performing as an actor because I had previously been the pianist in the family. The reaction was very unusual and powerful – I remember people coming up to me and saying, “This is something you should pursue.”
What do you love most about performing?
“I get to do what I love, and it’s a very positive thing. Making people happy through music is very rewarding. I couldn’t choose my favorite role or song to perform because there are so many subtle ways that make them perfect in different settings. I have enough material to do 50 different performances. But I love what I do because these pops concerts allow me to select the best of the best and share my absolute favorites with the audience.”
What is your favorite food?
“I eat a lot of seafood. It’s what I love. I also love restaurants that serve sustainably sourced food. One of the best meals of my life was at a place called Fork in Boise, ID of all places.”
What interests do you have off stage?
“I spend a lot of time with my family, but I keep very busy with recording, song writing, producing. For the past decade, I’ve also been the chairman of the board for a non-profit charity called Actors Fund that serves performing arts and entertainment professionals.”