Tituss Burgess wants you to know one thing about Titus Andromedon: They are not the same person.
Sure, Burgess plays the irrepressible Andromedon on the hit Netflix comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” only one ‘s’ separates them, and Tina Fey created the character with Burgess in mind but…
“I don’t think we’re very much alike at all,” Burgess said in a phone call from New York this week. “I’m very much an introvert. and I actually do not enjoy being the center of attention.”
Like it not, Burgess will be center stage when he sings four songs with the Seattle Men’s Chorus during the group’s first two performances of its holiday shows in Seattle on Saturday and Sunday.
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On “Unbreakable,” Burgess frequently breaks into song — either in short bursts or the occasional full melody.
Until Burgess was cast in a recurring role as a hairdresser on Fey’s “30 Rock” he had only a few small roles on episodic TV. Up to then his career was on the stage, where he performed in “Jersey Boys,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Good Vibrations” and “The Little Mermaid.”
In Seattle, Burgess will be singing “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” “Simple Gifts”, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” and “King of the World,” which Burgess said is always in his repertoire.
Following his Emmy-nominated role on “Unbreakable,” Burgess has a new fan base who know him as an actor who can sing.
But Burgess doesn’t separate his career into acting parts and singing parts.
“It’s always been one in the same. It’s all communication. I feel like I use the same muscle to do both,” he said.
Though Fey wrote the character of Titus — Kimmy Schmidt’s self-absorbed but loyal roommate — with Burgess in mind, he still had to audition for the role.
“The network made me audition for it,” he corrected.
In the irreverent comedy, Burgess plays a gay man struggling to make it on the stage. It’s not unlike the singer-actor’s first decade in New York, but that’s where the similarities end, he said.
His character, who guerrilla-films a music video called, “Peeno Noir,” walks the streets of New York dressed as a werewolf and prostrates himself before a Broadway producer, never shuns the limelight.
“Titus is the exact opposite and would seize any opportunity to be the center of attention, and we love him for living his truth,” Burgess said.
As much as Burgess puts into Titus the character gives back to him, he said.
“I’ve learned a great deal from Titus and getting what you want and how not to go about certain situations,” he said.
Fey has taken some heat from critics who say Titus Andromedon is a stereotype. Burgess rejects the criticism.
“I’m curious as to what these people, whoever they are, are talking about,” Burgess said.
“Is he effeminate? Or likes musical theater? Well guess what? That’s half the population of New York City. Were he overloaded with testosterone and happened to be gay would he suddenly be non-stereotypical because he’s passing? Even the proposition of that question, ‘Why would you write something so stereotypically gay?’ suggests that there’s something not normal or not prevailing about a large sect of the gay population.”
“Unbreakable” returns for its second season in March, Burgess said.
In the meantime, Burgess is looking forward to his Seattle visit and the Christmas season.
“It feels like for once the world can rest and be what I wish we could be all year round long,” he said.
What he’s not looking forward to is getting to Seattle.
“I despise (traveling.) I hate it. I’ll heavily medicate myself when I get on the plane, and hopefully when I wake up I’ll be there.”
Home for the Holidays
Who: Seattle Men’s Chorus with Tituss Burgess.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Benaroya Hall, 200 University Street, Seattle.