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Tituss Burgess Talks ‘Kimmy Schmidt,’ Previews ‘Preacher’s Wife’ Musical

Though it was billed as an evening with “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” star Tituss Burgess on Saturday night at the Sayers Club, there was cause for double celebration when moderator Yvette Nicole Brown announced it was also her birthday. “I didn’t say that to get applause,” she noted. “But just to say there is nowhere else I would rather be than with this wonderful man.”

The cozy Hollywood club was decked out in velvet fuchsia walls with furs on the couches for guests, in an homage to Burgess’ lovable, flamboyant character Titus Andromedon on the hit Netflix show. Burgess talked about making the transition from theater (where he appeared in such musicals as “Guys and Dolls” with Oliver Platt and “The Little Mermaid”) to television. His first job was on “30 Rock,” and he was an hour late to his audition. He almost didn’t show up, but when he did, was shocked to realize they were running an hour and a half behind.

“30 Rock” was his first time in front of a camera, and he admitted to being confused. “When they called ‘cut,’ I thought they meant me,” he revealed with a laugh. “I thought I was cut.” Burgess also shared that after shooting a scene with “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin, Baldwin told Burgess he was a great scene partner, which greatly inspired the actor. The two are now nominated against each other for supporting actor in a comedy at next month’s Emmy Awards. While this is Burgess’ third consecutive nod, he also spoke about landing his first SAG Award nomination this year, and how it was special because “it’s from my peers.”

After the Q&A with Brown, Burgess took to the piano on stage to play two songs for the packed audience. The first was “All I Need,” a song he wrote for the musical based on the 1996 movie “The Preacher’s Wife,” which is Broadway bound. Explaining that he saw the film as a teenager and it had a huge impact, Burgess began writing the music and lyrics even before he had obtained the rights to the film — something he advised the audience to never do.

He then ended the evening with a rendition of “(One for My Baby) One More for the Road” before getting the audience to join him in singing “Happy Birthday” to Brown. Burgess also stuck around afterward to take selfies with everyone in attendance.

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