NBC’s upcoming Annie Live event has added a beloved Netflix actor to its musical cast. According to The Hollywood Reporter, six-time Emmy nominee Tituss Burgess is joining Taraji P. Henson (Miss Hannigan), Harry Connick Jr. (Daddy Warbucks), and Nicole Scherzinger (Grace) in the new production. Annie Live is currently set to air on Dec. 2, and will feature Burgess playing Rooster, the underhanded brother of the ruthless Miss Hannigan. “I’ve always wanted to be a villain,” Burgess said about his new role. At this time there has been no announcement regarding who will play the title role of Annie.
Burgess is often most well-known for his role as Titus Andromedon on the Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The series ran for four seasons, from 2015-2019, and then debuted an interactive special in May 2020. Burgess’ brilliant and hilarious performance as Titus led him to garner five Emmy nominations. In 2020, Burgess joined the animated Apple TV+ series central park, voicing the adolescent Cole Tillerman, a quirky kid with a big heart. He is currently nominated for a 2021 Emmy in the Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance category, for his work on the show.
In addition to his successful TV series work, Burgess has a lengthy Broadway and stage resume, including Jersey Boys, The Little Mermaid, and Into the Woods. He’s also been featured in a number of high-profile films, such as The Angry Birds Movie, The Addams Family (2019), and the Golden Globe-nominated Netflix film, Dolemite Is My Name. Currently, he can be seen as legendary Gospel singer James Cleveland in Respect, the Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul.
In June 2020, Burgess spoke with the Observer about his Kimmy Schmidt character and how he’s handled fans thinking they’re similar. “It is tricky, people watch me on Instagram Live, you can get my personality there, judge for yourself. I’ve had to let go of the frustration of people making me synonymous with the character.”
Burgess went on to say, “There are people open to wanting to get to know me. I’m not selective with who I show myself to, but some people see me only through the lens of a caricature. I care about people. I will let it undo itself.” Fans eager to see more of Burgess can check out his Netflix game show Sing On!, which premiered on the streaming service back in 2020.