Staller Center's 2013 Gala will feature Tony Award winners Brian Stokes Mitchell and Laura Benanti singing Broadway songs and standards at Stony Brook University's Staller Center. The Gala takes place on Main Stage on Saturday, March 2 at 8:00 pm.
Brian Stokes Mitchell, known for his rich baritone voice, has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway, television and film, along with appearances in the great American concert halls. In the 2000 Broadway revival of Kiss Me Kate, Stokes Mitchell won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, along with Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. For Man of La Mancha he received a Tony nomination and the Helen Hayes Award. He received Tony nominations for his role as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in the musical Ragtime and for King Hedley II. Among other credits are Kiss of the Spider Woman; Jelly's Last Jam, and the Lincoln Center Theatre's production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, which also starred Patti LuPone and Laura Benanti.
He has appeared everywhere from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to the Hollywood Bowl.
His long television career began with a seven-year stint on Trapper John, MD. He has had recurring roles on Crossing Jordan and Frasier, and performed on PBS' Great Performances, was a voice in DreamWorks' The Prince of Egypt, and has sung at the White House. In 2011 he appeared on the Fox TV show Glee. In 2011 he also appeared in the film Jumping The Broom playing opposite Angela Bassett.
His newest CD, released in 2012 is, Brian Stokes Mitchell Simply Broadway with Ted Firth on piano, includes "The Impossible Dream" as well as eleven more outstanding Broadway standards.
Brian Stokes Mitchell has been Chairman of the Actors Fund for eight years, a 130-year old social services initiative that helps entertainers, both onstage and behind the scenes.
Laura Benanti has brought her unique abilities to comedies, dramas and musicals since she took Broadway by storm at the age of 18. She received a Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle award for her starring role in the Broadway production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown for Lincoln Center, where she also starred in Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play. Ms. Benanti also demonstrated her comic flair in The Public Theater's production of Christopher Durang's Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them.
Ms. Benanti earned the 2008 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her revelatory portrayal of Gypsy Rose Lee in Gypsy opposite Patti LuPone and directed by Arthur Laurents.
Her other Broadway roles include her Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominated performance of Cinderella in Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods and her sultry Tony nominated turn in Swing! She also starred opposite Antonio Banderas as his muse in the celebrated revival of Nine. Benanti began her multifaceted career as Maria in The Sound of Music opposite Richard Chamberlain.
Ms. Benanti can currently be seen on NBC's Go On, in which she stars opposite Matthew Perry. Most recently she starred in the NBC series The Playboy Club. Other television roles include recurring roles on The Big C and Law & Order: SVU. Benanti made her leap to the silver screen in 2005 in the film Take the Lead opposite her Nine costar Antonio Banderas as his love interest.