Hilty & Stokes Mitchell “Smashing Broadway”
Albert-George Schram, conductor
[Note: Megan Hilty and Brian Stokes Mitchell replace the previously announced Jason Alexander who was forced to cancel due to an unforeseeable scheduling conflict.]
With stunning voices and booming Broadway careers, award-winning Broadway superstars Megan Hilty and Brian Stokes Mitchell bring fresh insight to a program of Broadway hits and unforgettable melodies that have become timeless standards — including music from Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and George Gershwin! When Megan Hilty and Brian Stokes Mitchell headlined the LA Philharmonic’s opening night gala this season with a similar program, they received rave reviews.
Drawn to music at a young age, Megan Hilty explored a career in opera before deciding to pursue musical theatre at Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating with a degree in theatre, Megan joined the Broadway company of Wicked as the “Glinda” standby. She made her Broadway debut in the fall of 2004 opposite Tony Award winner Idina Menzel, and assumed the role full-time in May 2005. After a year on Broadway, she continued with Wicked on tour and in the 2007-2009 Los Angeles production. While in Los Angeles, Megan made guest appearances on many television shows, including Bones, The Closer, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty, while also providing the singing voice for “Snow White” in Shrek the Third.
In 2009, Megan starred on Broadway as “Doralee” in 9 to 5: The Musical, Dolly Parton’s adaptation of the popular film. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Actress in a Musical, a Drama League Award, and an Ovation Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
Megan next joined the cast of NBC’s Smash as “Ivy Lynn,” an actress who is desperate to land the lead in a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker said of her work: “Hilty has built a character who feels like a real Broadway diva: sexy, funny, ambitious, insecure, at once selfish and giving.” The show aired from 2012-2013 and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Musical or Comedy Series.
2013 brought the release of Megan’s first solo album, It Happens All the Time, as well as her Carnegie Hall debut. Later that year, she joined the cast of NBC’s Sean Saves the World, starring Sean Hayes. She also provided the voice of the “China Doll Princess” in the animated feature Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return and the voice of “Rosetta” in the Disney Fairies series.
In 2015, Megan starred in a one night only performance of Bombshell and a two night presentation of Annie Get Your Gun at New York City Center. She also returned to the Broadway stage as “Brooke Ashton” in Noises Off. For her performance, she received a 2016 Tony Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, as well as Drama Desk and Drama League Award nominations. Since Noises Off ended its run in March 2016, Megan has released two albums: Megan Hilty Live at the Café Carlyle and A Merry Little Christmas. She maintains an active concert schedule, both with symphony orchestras throughout the United States and in solo concert at smaller venues.
Brian Stokes Mitchell
Dubbed “the last leading man” by The New York Times, Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a career that spans Broadway, television, film and concert appearances with the country’s finest conductors and orchestras. He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his star turn in Kiss Me, Kate. He also gave Tony-nominated performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II and Ragtime. Other notable Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
An extremely versatile and in-demand singer, Stokes has performed at venues spanning jazz, opera, pops, country, and musical theater worlds. He has worked with John Williams, Marvin Hamlisch, Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Big Band, The Mormon Tabernacle choir and the Muppets. Stokes has made multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall beginning with his debut with the San Francisco Symphony through his televised performance in South Pacific opposite Reba McEntire to his sold-out solo concert, which he continues to perform throughout the U.S. He has been invited twice to perform at the White House and has performed for Presidents Clinton and Obama.
Stokes’ latest recording Simply Broadway is an album of classic Broadway tunes that have been musically reimagined but still retains the spirit of the original. It features the Tony-winning singer accompanied by a solo piano and was released in 2012. The song selection includes works from Camelot, Porgy and Bess, Company, Sunday in the Park with George, Les Miserables and other classics. Stokes has appeared on more than 20 albums. His extensive screen credits began with a 7-year stint on Trapper John, MD and have continued with memorable appearances on everything from PBS’ Great Performances to Frasier, Glee, Jumping the Broom and his most recent recurring roles on Madam Secretary, Mr. Robot and the Hulu series, The Path.