May 11, 1998 12:00 PM

When Brian Stokes Mitchell takes the stage as tragic hero Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Broadway’s hit musical Ragtime, not even buttoned-up, turn of the-century attire can obscure his limber body. So it’s a shock when he reports, “I was a fat kid.” But fortunately, he adds, “I hit puberty and grew.”

Now 39, the 6’1″ Mitchell jogs, lifts weights and plays racquetball to stay in shape. Good thing too. His wife of three years, Ragtime ensemble member Allyson Tucker-Mitchell, reveals that he’s a perpetual snacker with a weakness for Pringles.

Born in Seattle, the youngest of four children of George, an electronics engineer, and Lillian, a school administrator who died 15 years ago, Mitchell spent seven years as Dr. Jackpot Jackson on Trapper John, M.D. and has taken over the leads in such Broad-way vehicles as Kiss of the Spider Woman and Jelly’s Last Jam. Ragtime, he says, is “the show I’ve been waiting for.” Maybe that’s why “his face is always lit,” as costar Audra McDonald puts it, adding, “Brian has great teeth and an incredible smile.”

Allyson also loves his “pretty little mouth,” as well as his “humongous laugh.” Her husband is “gorgeous to look at,” she declares. “I can’t believe I got lucky and married this one.”

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