Added "Stokes" to his name because there were too many Brian Mitchells running around. Stokes is his mother's maiden name.
Born in Seattle, he grew up the youngest of four children in Navy bases in Guam and the Philippines. His father George, a former Tuskegee airman during WWII, was an electronics engineer; mother Lillian Stokes a policewoman and school administrator.
It has been announced that he will play Cervantes and Don Quixote in an all-new staging of "Man of La Mancha", opposite Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Aldonza/Dulcinea.
Trained and first acted at the San Diego Junior Theater, making his debut in a production of "Godspell" in 1974 at the Old Globe.
Won Broadway's 2000 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for a revival of Cole Porter's "Kiss Me, Kate." He has been Tony-nominated three other times: twice as Best Actor (Musical), in 1998 for portraying Colehouse Walker in "Ragtime" and in 2003 for playing the Cervantes/Don Quixote character in a revival of "Man of La Mancha;" and once as Best Actor (Play), in 2001 for August Wilson's "King Hedley II."