Press Room

For Press Inquiries, contact Camille Cintrón Devlin, Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at 703-993-8794 or cdevlin6@gmu.edu

BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL WITH THE AMERICAN FESTIVAL POPS ORCHESTRA IN ITS DEBUT PERFORMANCE

August 18, 2009
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

For general information about tickets, seating, parking, etc., for performances and events happening at the Center for the Arts, please contact the ticket office directly at 703-993-2787.


GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR THE ARTS

PRESENTS

BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL

WITH DEBUT OF THE AMERICAN FESTIVAL POPS ORCHESTRA

UNDER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND CONDUCTOR ANTHONY MAIELLO

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 at 8 p.m.

Featuring a new overture arranged by Mason Graduate Student Vincent Oppido 

FAIRFAX, Va., Aug. 18, 2009 George Mason University’s Center for the Arts is proud to announce the return of Tony Award-winning Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell, appearing at the fourth annual ARTS by George! benefit event in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. Mitchell shares the stage with the American Festival Pops Orchestra (AFPO) in its national debut performance, under the baton of Artistic Director and Conductor Anthony Maiello.

The evening begins with an original overture, arranged by Mason graduate student Vincent Oppido, featuring songs from beloved Broadway musicals in which Mitchell has starred. The program also includes a collection of timeless show tunes, ballads and classic love songs from Mitchell’s repertoire, including, “Embraceable You,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and his showstopper “The Impossible Dream,” performed with the AFPO.

Dubbed Broadway’s “last leading man by The New York Times,” Mitchell has enjoyed a rich career on Broadway, television and film. Known for his musical versatility, charisma, matinee idol good looks and a “chameleonic” ability to evoke any emotion, this tremendous baritone is in a class by himself.  His dynamic repertoire and thrilling voice – an instrument The New York Times says “rumbles out of him like thunder underlined by drum rolls” – has kept him in demand by some of the country’s finest conductors and orchestras, performing Broadway show tunes, jazz standards and contemporary pieces under the batons of Leonard Slatkin, Marvin Hamlisch, John Williams and Paul Gemignani. He has had a flourishing career on Broadway, earning him numerous awards and nominations. His credits include playing dual roles of Cervantes and Don Quixote in “Man of La Mancha” (Tony nomination and Helen Hayes Award), the roles of Fred Graham and Petruchio in “Kiss Me, Kate” (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award), Coalhouse Walker Jr. in “Ragtime” (Tony nomination) and the title character in August Wilson’s “King Hedley II” (Tony nomination). His other Broadway outings include “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Jelly’s Last Jam,” David Merrick’s “Oh, Kay!” and “Mail,” which earned him a Theatre World Award for outstanding Broadway Debut. In 1998, he joined the likes of Helen Hayes, Sir John Gielgud, Alec Guinness and James Earl Jones when he became the sole recipient of that year’s Distinguished Performance Award from the Drama League, the nation’s oldest theatrical honor, for his performance in “Ragtime.” Mitchell has also had an extensive career in television, beginning with seven-year stint on “Trapper John, M.D.” Numerous film and television appearances have followed, including “One Last Thing,” Dreamworks’ “The Prince of Egypt” and recurring roles on “Crossing Jordan” and “Frasier.”  Most recently Mitchell starred in a Christmas concert with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in a 24,000-seat auditorium, playing to four sold-out houses.

Through lively programming and repertoire, the AFPO treats audiences to a festive pops experience that pays tribute to the celebrated music genre that is American pop culture. The orchestra presents beloved Broadway hits, legendary film scores and light classics, and will strike a nostalgic chord with fans both young and old. The AFPO is composed of more than 60 professional musicians from the Washington, D.C. area, including George Mason University faculty, musicians from across the United States military ensembles and regional orchestra. The AFPO is also proud to include a select group of talented young artists from George Mason University’s School of Music.

Maiello makes professional appearances both nationally and abroad conducting music festivals, adjudicating ensembles and presenting clinics, lectures and workshops. He conducted musical activities for the Gold Medal Ceremonies at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y.; served as musical director for Music Festivals International; was selected as President of International Association of Jazz Educators – N.Y. State Chapter; and is a guest clinician for Yamaha Corporation and Warner Bros. Publications. Maiello has served as associate conductor of the McLean Orchestra, McLean, Va.; has been appointed an honorary conductor of the United States Navy Band, Washington, D.C.; and was a participant in the National Conducting Institute with Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., to which he lends his services as a cover conductor. Presently director of instrumental studies and a professor of music at George Mason University, Maiello teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting, jazz theory and arranging and advanced sight-singing.  From 1996 to 2009, he conducted the George Mason University Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra. 

A native of Long Island, N.Y., Oppido is a graduate student at George Mason University, studying conducting and composition. His music has been performed by the George Mason University Symphony Orchestra, George Mason University Wind Ensemble, 4-A Texas All-State Band, the MENC All-Northwest Honor Band and various other all-state and regional ensembles. His fanfare “Skysplitter!” was premiered in February 2006 by the Texas All-State Band. Oppido is co-author of Maiello’s book, “Conducting Nuances: Little Things Mean a Lot” having composed the music examples that accompany the text. In summer 2009, Oppido was one of five composition students selected to participate in the Susan and Ford Schumann Film Scoring Program to receive an intensive film scoring training at the esteemed Aspen Music Festival and School. He is a member of MENC, NBA and ASCAP, and his music is published by TRN Music Publishers and Neil A. Kjos Music Company.

Tickets for BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL with THE AMERICAN FESTIVAL POPS ORCHESTRA are $60, $52, $30. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit www.tickets.com. The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K.  Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa

About Great Performances at Mason

Great Performances at Mason is a program of George Mason University's Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA provides an academic environment in which the arts are explored as individual disciplines and interdisciplinary forms that strengthen one another. The college prepares students for careers as creators, performers, teachers, scholars, arts leaders and arts entrepreneurs. Understanding that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the Center for the Arts, the professional presentation and production arm of the college, welcomes a variety of professional and world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Students have the opportunity to perform, create and exhibit their work in a wide variety of public venues including a 2,000-seat Concert Hall. CVPA is home to the Schools of Music, Dance and Art, the Department of Theater, as well as the Computer Game Design, Arts Management and Film and Video Studies programs.

About George Mason University

Named the #1 national university to watch by U.S. News & World Report, George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country.  Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university.