On Sunday night during the Tony Awards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Tituss Burgess had fun doing a hammy performance of his show’s character, Titus Andromedon, doing an audition for the smash Broadway hit, Hamilton. Yesterday, Burgess was in a more somber but uplifting mood when he appeared at the Stonewall Inn vigil to honor the Orlando shooting victims.
On Monday evening, June 13, Burgess was one of the many speakers at the Stonewall Inn vigil in New York City, which was assembled to honor the victims of Sunday’s mass Orlando shooting at the Pulse LGTB nightclub in central Florida. Singer Nick Jonas was also in attendance, along with NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Burgess, an openly gay actor, appeared before the podium that had a sign in front that read “We Are Orlando.” The Broadway veteran said a small speech to address the crowd of thousands, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“I have to tell you, being here and seeing all of your faces has comforted me in a way that I did not expect coming down here. I am indeed Orlando, and in times like this, I find myself at a loss for what to do.”
Burgess claimed that he is not one for big speeches, but he did share that whenever he wanted to cheer someone up, he would break out into a song.
“You feel helpless. I’m going to give you the one thing I always have readily available.”
The actor, who has a high tenor voice, sang a rendition of “Somewhere,” which comes from West Side Story, a musical hit on Broadway and the silver screen. A short clip of Burgess singing the ballad was uploaded on Twitter.
The crowd loved Burgess’ version of “Somewhere” and went crazy with shouts and applause as Burgess hit the high notes in the song.
Mayor De Blasio also spoke to the crowd, stating that love, acceptance, and inclusion are the way to a peaceful civilization.
Nick Jonas did not sing at the rally but talked about his feelings on the Orlando Pulse tragedy, which killed over 50 people and injured 53 more.
“I just want to speak from the heart and say I woke up yesterday to the news, like all of you, and my heart broke. I grew up here in New York City and New Jersey, performing on Broadway shows, surrounded by some of my closest friends from the LGBT community.”
Bravo TV’s Andy Cohen was in attendance and posted images on his Instagram that showed the large crowd at the Stonewall rally as a way to show solidarity with the LGBT community.
Broadway actor and dancer Ryan Steele shared images on his Twitter, including one that showed a bright orange sign that had the slogan “Love is love is love is love is love” that was held by one vigil supporter.
The Stonewall Inn, which was the backdrop for Monday night’s rally, is a significant NYC landmark in the LGBT community. The gay bar and tavern was where the Stonewall riots started in 1969, which was the starting point for the gay liberation movement that turned into the fight for lesbian and gay rights throughout the country.
The original Stonewall Inn, located on Christopher Street in lower Manhattan, closed down shortly after the 1969 riots. Different types of businesses occupied the space until the 1990s when another bar called Stonewall opened up on the western side of the original Stonewall Inn.
Eventually, renovations were made to the new bar and the owners renamed it back to the Stonewall Inn name in 2007. The historic gay bar received its official landmark status due to its involvement in the gay rights movement in June 2015.
[Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]