Burgess is best known for his role as Titus Andromedon in the Netflix comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” for which he’s been nominated for an Emmy twice. The actor, singer and stage performer has also appeared in “The Angry Birds Movie” and on Broadway in productions of “Guys and Dolls,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Jersey Boys.”
“It’s an honor to be the first recipient of this award,” said Burgess. “What a lovely reminder to us all that being yourself gives others permission to stand proudly in their own individuality.“
The award will be presented by actress Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) on Oct. 20, the opening night of the festival, prior to the screening of the North American premiere of the “The Pass” starring Russell Tovey (“Looking”).
“I couldn’t be happier to have Tituss Burgess receive NewFest’s inaugural Voice & Visibility Award to kick off our 28th Annual festival,” said NewFest’s Executive Director Robert Kushner. “NewFest is all about LGBT storytelling, and as an immensely talented actor of both stage and screen, Tituss presents his characters and his own stories with insight, strength, and heart — echoing the power and passion of the LGBT community.”
NewFest also has added to its 2016 programming Toronto alum “Handsome Devil” and documentary “Paragraph 175.” The festival will run Oct. 20-25, in partnership with Outfest and sponsored by HBO.