Broadway Dreams Foundation Announces Virtual Gala Honoring Tituss Burgess

Broadway Dreams Foundation Gala will be held at 7:00pm EST on December 5, 2020.

By: Oct. 14, 2020
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Broadway Dreams Foundation Announces Virtual Gala Honoring Tituss Burgess

President and Founder of the Broadway Dreams Foundation, Annette Tanner has announced that this year's annual Broadway Dreams Foundation Gala will be a virtual broadcast held at 7:00pm EST on December 5, 2020. This year's honorees include Five-Time Emmy Award nominee, Tituss Burgess alongside CEO of CQuence Health Group, Mike Cassling, who will be receiving the Annual Founder's Award. The evening will be hosted by actor and director, Christopher J. Hanke. Ryan Stana, CEO & Founder of RWS Entertainment Group serves as the chair for the organization's annual fundraising event.

"We are delighted to be celebrating Tituss and Mike, two individuals very dear to the Broadway
Dreams family, both of whom have made significant contributions to arts education and its future. While 2020 has been a challenging year for the arts as a whole, we continue to recreate what the future of arts education looks like. This year meant bringing our classes and offerings online, ensuring service to our mission while expanding our reach like never before. Broadway Dreams has always been a leader in ensuring pre-professional performing arts training across the nation and world, and we remain committed to this goal, even in this time of unprecedented challenges. We are proud to celebrate a year of passion, perseverance, and innovation, and show our gratitude to those who support our work," said Annette Tanner, President and Founder of the Broadway Dreams Foundation.

For tickets and more information, please visit:

Tituss Burgess (Honoree)

Emmy and SAG nominated actor, musician, and writer Tituss Burgess is quickly emerging as one of the entertainment industry's most versatile and dynamic performers, with his work in television and theater generating both critical and commercial acclaim.

Burgess was recently nominated for an Emmy® for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for reprising his iconic role as 'Titus Andromedon' in Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend interactive special, which featured the characters from the Emmy®-nominated comedy series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Burgess can currently be seen as the host of Quibi's hit new cooking competition, Dishmantled, which premiered on April 6th and has been picked up for a second season. He can also be seen in Central Park, an animated musical comedy series that follows the Tillermans, a family that lives in Central Park. Burgess voices the character Cole Tillerman alongside Josh Gad, Daveed Diggs, Stanley Tucci, Kathryn Hahn and Leslie Odom Jr. The animated comedy globally premiered on Apple TV+ on May 29th. Later this year, Burgess will appear as Reverend Dr. James Cleveland in MGM's Aretha Franklin biopic Respect. The film also stars Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Forest Whitaker, and Marc Maron, and will be released theatrically on January 15, 2021.

Previously, Burgess appeared in Netflix's Dolemite Is My Name, alongside Eddie Murphy, Keegan- Michael Key, Mike Epps, and Craig Robinson. The film tells the story of performer Rudy Ray Moore, who assumed the role of an iconic pimp named Dolemite during the 1970s and was released Fall 2019. Additionally, he appeared in the Netflix romantic comedy Set It Up alongside Taye Diggs, Lucy Liu, Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch, and lent his voice to two major studio films: The Angry Birds Movie and Smurfs: The Lost Village.

Most notably, Burgess starred as 'Titus Andromedon' in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Recognized for the actor's scene-stealing performance on the series' four seasons, Burgess was nominated for four Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series and two Critics' Choice TV Awards for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He was also awarded Best Actor at the 2015 Webby Awards and Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy at the 2015 Gold Derby TV Awards.

First introduced to television audiences in Tina Fey's Emmy®-winning NBC series 30 Rock, where he played the scene-stealing 'D'Fwan,' a vivacious hairdresser and the sidekick of Angie Jordan (Sherri Shepherd), Burgess quickly became a breakout star in the series' fifth and sixth seasons. His other television credits include A Gifted Man, Blue Bloods, and Royal Pains.

A veteran of the stage, Burgess made his Broadway debut in 2005 as Eddie in Good Vibrations. Since, he has held many memorable roles on the Broadway stage including Hal Miller in Jersey Boys, Sebastian the Crab in The Little Mermaid, and Nicely-Nicely Johnson in the 2009 revival of Guys and Dolls.

In 2019, Burgess acquired the rights to the beloved film The Preacher's Wife. The movie turned Broadway Musical will include an original score and lyrics by Burgess, book by Aziea??Dungey.

In music, Burgess debuted his third album, Saint Tituss, on July 26, 2019. In its opening week, it was No. 16 on the Billboard Top 100 album sales chart. Most recently, he released his first official dance track, "Dance M.F." that's a sultry sexy stomper with an attitude.

He currently resides in New Jersey.

Mike Cassling (Honoree and Recipient of the Annual Founder's Award)

Mike Cassling is CEO of CQuence Health Group, formed in 2011 to provide shared services and strategic direction for its partner companies: Cassling, a diagnostic medical equipment sales and service provider for more than 30 years, and Ensocare, a care coordination software company. Mike and CQuence Health Group also oversee a healthcare investment portfolio.

In addition to his role with CQuence, Mike provides primary leadership as Chairman and CEO of Cassling. He joined the team in 1985, working alongside his father and Company Founder, Bob Cassling. Mike worked in sales, serving as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing, before being appointed President of the company in 1996.

Under his leadership, CQuence and its partner organizations have earned multiple honors and awards, including: Modern Healthcare's #1 ranked Best Places to Work in Healthcare (2015-2016); Modern Healthcare's Best Places to Work in Healthcare (2013-2018); Gold Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association (2016); Employee Voice Award, Quantum Workplace (2015) and more.

Mike holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in general accounting and marketing. He completed the Graduate School of Sales and Marketing at Syracuse University in 1992.

Mike is active in the Omaha community as an Ak-Sar-Ben Governor and serving on the Board of Directors for The Salvation Army, Broadway Dreams Foundation, Nebraska Health Information Initiative, Omaha Community Foundation and Omaha Performing Arts.

Nationally, he serves on the Broadway Dreams Executive Committee and is the Chair for The Salvation Army's National Advisory Board executive committee. Mike is an Omaha "40 under 40" alumnus, was recognized in 2014 and 2010 with an Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a Westside High School Hall of Fame honoree. Mike has two daughters, Megan and Kaila; his wife, Elizabeth, has two sons, Gage and JT.

Christopher J. Hanke (Gala Host) is currently co-starring in the Amazon series After Forever, and just received an Indie Series Award nomination for his work on the show. He can be seen in the upcoming HBO series I Know This Much Is True from Director, Derek Cainfrance, and Writer, Gina Prince-Bythewood. Hanke also stars on John Cameron Mitchell's new podcast series Anthem: Homunulus with Patti LuPone, Cynthia Erivo, Glenn Close, and Marion Cotillard. Hanke has been seen recurring on CBS's Kevin Can Wait, Younger, and on Bravo's Odd Mom Out. Notably, Christopher starred in the hit one-man comedy Buyer & Cellar in New York and Toronto, to rave reviews. Before that he starred as Bud Frump in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed... opposite Daniel Radcliffe. Other Broadway credits include: Rent (Mark), Cry-Baby (Baldwin) and In My Life (JT). Additionally, Hanke played Tommy Boatwright in director George C. Wolfe's Tony® Award-winning production of The Normal Heart at Arena Stage in DC and starred as Claude in The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of Hair in NYC. Other Television: Christopher played Devon on the comedy series Odd Mom Out for 3 seasons; Fabian on the last season of ABC's Devious Maids, was series regular Ryan Abbot on the CBS drama Three Rivers; had a recurring role of Stuart on HBOs Big Love; and has guest starred on Nashville, Major Crimes, The Client List, and Brothers & Sisters. Hanke also studies & performs improv with the UCB Theatre in LA/NY. He was recently seen Off-Broadway in Primary Stage's Perfect Arrangement. Christopher also co-starred in the feature Clear Blue Tuesday. Next up, Christopher can be seen in the feature Breaking Fast from Writer/Director Mike Mosallam.

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