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Tituss Burgess and Bevy Smith hosted Middle Collegiate Church’s “March to Rise” benefit concert from Bloomingdale’s Studio 59 set on Thursday.
The “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” star and the “Bevelations” author helped to raise over $300,000 for the church’s rebuilding efforts after it burned down in a tragic fire last December.
“There are very few places left that I feel personally, you can enter the sanctuary sans any judgment. To say that [Middle] is welcoming would be an understatement. It fully supports and even demands that you be 100-percent who you are, flaws and all,” Burgess, who has attended the church for 15 years, told Page Six.
He also told us that the fundraiser was “born out of a conversation” with senior minister Rev. Jacqui Lewis. “I asked her what we needed, called in some favors from some big names, and off we went,” he said.
One of Burgess’ favors was bringing in pal and co-star Ellie Kemper, who spoke about how the church brought her a “sense of renewal” when she visited.
Meanwhile, Lewis also called in some of her own VIPs, including Marianne Williamson and Chelsea Clinton, who said, “I’ve been inspired as a New Yorker, and as a person, by Middle Church for so many years… it’s especially important for a place like Middle to exist in 2021 after a year of extreme trauma and dislocation for so many during COVID.”
The evening also included performances by Norah Jones, Ana DiFranco, Branch Woodman, and Burgess with the church’s choir.
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