Tituss Burgess, the breakout star of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, shares at least one thing in common with Titus Andromedon, the breakout character of Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: an abiding respect for musical theater.
Burgess, 36, has tread the Broadway boards in roles like Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls and Sebastian in The Little Mermaid. (Forget “Pinot Noir;” he belted “Under the Sea” eight times a week.) Recently, Burgess cast a gender-swapping spell on Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, playing the Witch in a Florida regional production—with the approval of Sondheim himself.
In honor of Sondheim’s 85th birthday on March 22, the theater community gathered in New York for an all-star concert that paid tribute to the Broadway legend and celebrated the Blu-Ray and HD Digital release of Disney’s Into the Woods on March 24. Naturally, Burgess reprised his performance as the Witch, honoring Sondheim with a powerhouse rendition of the Act One ballad “Stay With Me.”
“I don’t have the relationship with the Sondheim anthology that some people have, which is that it’s so difficult to do and sing,” Burgess tells EW. “I understand it—at least I think I do—and the music speaks to me… That score is like a close friend, and it has become so comforting in so many different moments in my life.”
Watch Burgess’ performance exclusively here: