Patricia Brooks was born in Manhattan in 1933. Her father, Jerome, was an author (The Mighty Leaf - A History of Tobacco; The 30,000,000 Cup) as well as a rare book columnist for the New York Herald Tribune, and a book reviewer for The New York Times. Her mother, Eda, was an actress and singer who had been a vaudeville performer on the Keith and Pantages circuits and on Broadway. She was Patricia's first vocal coach. At age ninety she was still teaching voice and charging $15 an hour.
In grade school Patricia was an accomplished pianist, winning the WNYC Piano Competition at the age of ten; she was also a champion roller skater. She attended the High School of Music and Arts and sang with The Weavers.
She was a member of Martha Graham's Company as well as The New Dance Group.
Patricia studied acting with Uta Hagen and appeared at Circle in the Square Theatre in Truman Capote's The Grass Harp and as Pearl in the highly acclaimed production of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, directed by Jose Quintero.
In 1963, she won the John Golden Award for "the most promising young performer" for her performance of "Glitter & Be Gay" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide. The following year, Julius Rudel, artistic director of The New York City Opera, invited her to perform her first opera, the world premier of Lee Hoiby's Natalia Petrovna. In 1969 she sang the role of Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata opposite Placido Domingo, in the ladmark New York City Opera production directed by Frank Corsaro. Known for her success in discovering the emotional truth of her roles, her performance of Violetta was hailed by the public and the critics. Harold Schonberg of The New York Times wrote that Brooks "moved with assurance, acting with delicacy and detail rare in opera, singing with a big, free voice." And according to Winthrop Sargeant of The New Yorker, Brooks was "a real Violetta - a superb actress and a woman with a large voice that can express passion and despair while singing the requisite fioratura with accuracy." She also performed the leading roles for The New York City Opera in productions of Lucia di Lammermoor, Manon, Pelleas et Melisande, Rigoletto, La Boheme (Mimi and Musetta), The Barber of Seville, Cosi fan tutte, Don Giovanni, Faust, Tales Of Hoffman, The Servant of Two Masters, The Ballad of Baby Doe and The Crucible, as well as London's Covent Garden, where she sang Rimsky-Korasakov's The Golden Cockerel. Her last performance for the New York City Opera was in Mozart's The Impresario.
In 1953, Brooks married Theodore Mann, Circle in the Square's Artistic Director, and gave birth to Andrew in 1958 and Jonathan in 1961.
After She retired from opera performing, she taught voice and performance at The Circle in the Square Theatre School. She then became an Associate Professor at SUNY Purchase, NY where she directed Brecht/Weill's Little Mahagonny and also The Marriage of Figaro, in which she incorporated the talents of the film department into her production. She co-adapted and co-directed Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne with her husband for the Circle in the Square Workshop program.
In later years she became absorbed with painting and collages, and spent half of the year at her home in Carmel Valley, California. Occasionally Mr. Mann would induce her to sing parts of an aria and "a magic box opened - the voice was still there!"