Tituss Burgess is a force to be reckoned with. Though the Georgia native is most well-known for his breakout role as Titus Andromedon on Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Burgess is also a seasoned Broadway star with credits in Guys and Dolls, Jersey Boys, and Good Vibrations. In 2008, he originated the role of Sebastian in The Little Mermaid.
And now, with Broadway shut down until at least January 2021 due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Burgess is bringing his talents into homes across America with his very own Broadway Online Experience, in partnership with Airbnb. In “Storytelling Through Song With Tituss,” guests will “get to know each other and share… stories through song.” Participants will workshop 45 seconds to one minute of a song, practice vocal warmups, and leave feeling “more confident about sharing [their] story and personality through song.”
Travel + Leisure got the chance to chat with the Central Park voice actor about his first-ever Online Airbnb Experience, what he’s been up to during quarantine, and what the future holds for the TV and Broadway star who will play opposite Jennifer Hudson in the forthcoming Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect.”
Travel + Leisure: How have you been holding up over the last few months?
Burgess: “I realized very quickly that most people were looking to artists to help figure out a way for them to create a space where they don't have to — for two minutes, three minutes, four minutes — think about what's going on. They need a detour — and this is the time artists go to work — to help create spaces of healing, to help create spaces of activism, and to help create spaces to escape, to lift your spirit from one place emotionally to another.”
How have you personally “gone to work?”
"In many ways, I feel like I've been busier during this time than I ever was. There are so many projects that are coming that I am just now finishing and reading and writing. So, I'm quite busy — and thankfully so because it keeps my mind from going down that rabbit hole of gloom and doom, misery everywhere, but there is still great beauty in the world. "
Why did you decide to have your own Airbnb Experience?
"What I loved is that they were still able to, even though we couldn't necessarily travel, create virtual experiences. Here's a way to create certain experiences for the mind, for our emotions, for our mental health — experiences for the creative part of that. And theater has always been about walking into happiness, sitting down, and having an experience you would not normally have."
What should we expect from your Airbnb Experience?
"Doing musical theater, the incorporation of song into theatricality, has always been something I've been passionate about. You can expect to learn how to better refine your ability to find the scene inside yourself…maximize the satisfaction for the consumer, and optimize your ability to tell a story. "
Looking forward, do you have plans to return to Broadway?
"I absolutely have plans to return to Broadway. I think perhaps something I've written might get there before I'm on stage, but for me, that is equally satiating."
Once it’s safe to travel again, where do you hope to go?
"Oh, I'm staying home, and I'm going to let the world figure itself out before I make the leap into complete immersion into life as we knew it. I will create the safest, most relaxing space I possibly can in my house and continue to give these virtual experiences, like the ones I partnered with Airbnb [on], and figure out how to be as happy as I can be while we work out our kinks on a global level."
More information about booking “Storytelling Through Song With Tituss” can be found on Airbnb.
Editor's Note: This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
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