Current Projects

  • I Joined Actors’ Equity Association!

    I Joined Actors’ Equity Association!

    This is something I have been mulling over for some time. In 2019 I became a member of the Equity Membership Candidate Program, earning points towards full Equity membership, after understudying at Bristol Riverside Theatre’s production of On Golden Pond. Shortly after that, I attended grad school at Villanova and then the pandemic happened. I sort of cast aside my notions of being an Actors’ Equity member, at first thinking it was too risky to be out there performing, but then I was contacted by a friend who put me in touch with Delaware Theatre Company where I got an opportunity to understudy for Peter and the Starcatcher at Delaware Theatre Company. From there, I ended up in Crazy for You at Villanova University, and, to my surprise, right back to DTC for The Flatlanders. I essentially worked in Theatre the entire Winter into the Spring. I tried my best to keep the momentum going.

    Over the pandemic, the Equity Membership Candidate program ended and AEA instituted Open Enrollment, however, I never became a union member and I no longer have EMC status which helped a little to get union auditions as a non-union member. So, at this point, I can only apply for non-union jobs. I had three auditions lined up that would have booked me for the summer into the fall, and I got callbacks for 2 of them, but in the end, zero jobs. All the while, I see tons of opportunities for Equity members. One Equity audition even had some time slots for non-union folks and when I applied for one, I was denied.

    So, after some coaching from a former teacher, I decided that it made sense to join the union in order to simply get access to auditions. Once I join the union however, I won’t be able to do non-union work. I think that’s ok. After years of training and experience, I think it’s time to work in a professional environments with access to the benefits therein. Thus begins a new journey and I’ve already got my first union audition scheduled. Turns out, it’s at Bristol Riverside Theatre, the very same theatre where I got my first points towards union membership.

  • The Flatlanders

    I was extremely fortunate to be invited back to Delaware Theatre Company for their production of The Flatlanders in association with 1812 Productions. The Flatlanders is a 2 person show about a couple who are in a car crash during a snow storm in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania and have to break into a strangers house to stay warm. It starred real life married couple Jen Childs and Scott Greer of 1812 Productions. Below is a picture from the first day of tech. We open on 4/20.

  • Crazy for You at Villanova University

    Crazy for You at Villanova University

    I just finished playing the role of Eugene Fodor as an alumni in Villanova Theatre’s production of “Crazy for You.” Fodor, was a real life travel writer who also happened to be a spy for what would eventually become the CIA. In “Crazy for You” he is a Brit who travels to Deadrock, Nevada with his wife to write a travel book, “hoping to do a series of them,” which he eventually did in real life.

    This musical features the song “Stiff Upper Lip” which inspired me to write this article about “Sayings Songs.”

    This was an amazing opportunity to be a part of a huge production full of spectacle and excitement. Many heartfelt thanks to the numerous folks making up the cast and crew! We couldn’t have done it without you! Below are some of the photos by Paola Nogueras!

  • Sayings Songs

    This is a term that I hope to coin having done extremely limited research. While many songs and lyrics generate common sayings, like, “You can’t always get what you want” or “See you later alligator,” to name a couple well known sayings, “Sayings Songs” are songs where the lyrics come from common sayings.

    The most famous and expertly crafted example I can think of is from the Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta, “Iolanthe.” “If You Go In You’re Sure to Win” looks like any song with a verse chorus structure with the third verse sung by the Lord Chancellor taking on a different melody, both to set him aside as the one who is making the big decision during this song, but the “verse” is actually the bridge in the classic AAB structure. Also, each chorus, starts with the same first two lines and followed by 4 unique lines each round, repeating the final stanza. By doing so, W. S. Gilbert has crammed in 4 unique sayings per chorus, forcing our performers to learn different lyrics for each chorus, in three part harmony, no less. Here’s a recording, featuring my favorite Gilbert and Sullivan singer, John Reed!

    A contemporary example of a sayings song that immediately comes to mind is Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson. It contains many wise sayings such as, “still waters run deep” and “live and let live.” It’s a catchy tune, that may sound familiar. It was also sampled in the 90’s by Kon Kan in the song, “I Beg Your Pardon.” Give the original Lynn Anderson song a listen below!

    Returning to musical theatre, I was just in a production of Kander and Ebb’s “Curtains” a couple years ago and there was a song called, “In the Same Boat,” while not a great example of a “Sayings Song” since it’s really only one or two sayings, extrapolated, to some extent. It’s also a quodlibet, taking several songs and layering them together to create one big song as explained at the beginning of this track. Take a quick listen below.

    My final example comes from the show I am currently working on, “Stiff Upper Lip” from “Crazy for You.” I play the role of Eugene Fodor who actually introduces the song with the line, “But in our part of the world, we have a few sayings about this sort of thing. Stiff upper lip!” literally setting us up for a list song of sayings, simply, this time, they are all British! If you want to know how this song goes, you’ll have to come out and see me in Crazy for You at Villanova Theatre or look it up on your own.

    However, what’s interesting about these examples of “Sayings Songs” from musical theatre and operetta, in a story telling capacity, is that they come at a time of ponderance or decision making. In “Iolanthe,” the Lord Chancellor is trying to make a decision about the fate of his ward, Phyllis, and if he should allow her to marry or simply marry her himself. In “Curtains,” the locked-in cast of a show, subjected to a murder investigation, attempt to recreate the conditions of a murder, while workshopping a troublesome number. Lastly, “Stiff Upper” lip comes at a time when the cast of another “show within a show” are deciding if their show should go on given a nonexistent audience and pending foreclosure of the theater. In all instances a moment of clarity comes shortly after this song with the characters making decisions that ultimately determine their fates. Even thinking about “Rose Garden” by Lynn Anderson, these sayings are all advice of some sort, often given at times of reflection.

    As I continue working in musical theatre, I will be keeping a keen eye out for other examples of what I hope to coin as “sayings songs” and add to the list and examine their similarities and differences, perhaps updating here as I go. Reach out to me if you have any thoughts on this or have any other songs to add to the list.

  • Hidden meanings

    Hidden meanings

    In grad school I did research about potential hidden meanings in 17th century British plays using an old secret circus, traveler, and merchant language utilized by LGBTQ people across Europe called Polari. Since then, I’ve been working on revising that paper in preparation for submission to a peer reviewed theatre journal. More to come as I prepare my research. The features picture on this post is Fabuloso by Paul Baker which is a wonderful resource for Polari. Grab yourself a copy today by going here.

  • Accents and Dialects…

    Accents and Dialects…

    I’ve always loved making funny voices, so when I started acting, accents and dialects seemed like a skill I should try. I recently got this book, “Accents and Dialects for Stage and Screen” by Paul Meier, to really cement my skills in the hope of becoming a dialect coach someday. Come see me in Crazy For You at Villanova University where I will be doing a British accent playing the role of Eugene Fodor.

    Over the years, I have worked with coaches in various productions to do British, Irish, and Maine accents, while also learning IPA. With those two skills, this book makes it easy to pick up a new accent or dialect with ease. I highly recommend it. These skills really do increase your marketability as an actor. To pick up a copy of “Accents and Dialects for Stage and Screen” by Paul Meier, go here!

Click here to download an 8×10 jpeg

This is how it all started…

DAVID BURGESS is a 2021 MA Theatre graduate from Villanova University who has experience in all aspects of theatre. He has studied sketch writing and improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC as well as completing the Improv program and Philly Improv Theatre. He also worked as an Audio-Visual Technician and IT helpdesk Technician at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 2004-2013, often providing sound for bands and running events. While at the PMA, David performed in a comedic drag troupe, The Dumpsta Players as his drag persona, Amanda Playwythe, where he made many wacky costumes and wore dozens of wigs. David now makes clothes under the same name, which can be found on Etsy or by going to

Recent Acting Credits include: Madame in “The Maids” presented by Automatic Arts and The Kammerspiel, Leonard Astor u/s and Captain Scott u/s in “Peter and the Starcatcher” at Delaware Theatre Company, and Christopher Belling in “Curtains” presented by Villanova University. David returned to the Villanova Stage this past winter in “Crazy for You” from Feb 14-25. This spring, he understudied for the 1812 Productions staging of The Flatlanders at Delaware Theatre Company. Lastly, David joined Actors’ Equity Association in June of 2024.

To see additional experience go here!

David M Burgess

Actor, Singer, Dialect Coach, Designer, Drag Queen

Proud member of Actor’s Equity Association

Click here for my full Resume!