BWW Interviews: Brian Stokes Mitchell Celebrates Holidays with New York Philharmonic

BWW Interviews: Brian Stokes Mitchell Celebrates Holidays with New York Philharmonic

This weekend, Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell will make his debut with the New York Philharmonic, performing a selection of traditional and contemporary holiday songs--all with a decidedly Broadway vibe.

Along with conductor Ted Sperling, Stokes chose his song selections to create a certain vibe. "The order of songs decide what the concert's going to be about," he said. "I gave a lot of thought to what I want the audience to experience." As early as nine months ago, Stokes had an idea of what he wanted this concert to be. "Because it's a Holiday concert, I want everyone leaving the theater feeling 10 times better than when they walked in. In the course of that, they'll also get to laugh, maybe cry a bit."

For himself, Stokes feels that the holidays are a "spiritual" time of year. "It's that time when we reflect and go inside a bit and [think about] how we see the world and how we see the spiritual aspects of our lives," he said. To that end, he wanted his concert to have a certain structure: The first half is fun and playful, but the second evokes a child's sense of the holiday season, and is meant to be somewhat more reflective. " I have a 10-year-old," the singer notes, "and having a kid, you see Christmas and the holidays through new eyes--or old eyes that you used to see from. It's about revisiting that, as well."

As a bona fide Broadway star (and since the concert is, after all, called A Broadway Christmas), Stokes felt obligated to begin with Jerry Herman's "We Need a Little Christmas" from Mame. He also performs Stephen Schwartz's Hanukkah song "We Are Light" and the ever-popular "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" from How The Grinch Stole Christmas. "I like that one because it's such a part of our culture and psyche," Stokes said. "It's something kids love and adults love, and it always gets a big laugh."


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Jena Tesse Fox Jena Tesse Fox is a lifelong theatre addict who has worked as an actress, a singer, a playwright, a director, a lyricist, a librettist, and a stage manager. While a student at Wells College, she also wrote for and edited the student newspaper, reviewing books, movies, and local theatre. By the time she graduated, Tesse knew that she was destined to be a theatre journalist, and so she is very excited to join the team of