Billy Porter (actor)
Porter in 2017
|Born||September 21, 1969|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Billy Porter (born September 21, 1969) is an American actor and singer. He attended Taylor Allderdice, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, and achieved fame performing on Broadway before starting a solo career as a singer and actor.
Porter won the 2013 Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots at the 67th Tony Awards. He credits the part for "cracking open" his feminine side to confront toxic masculinity. For the role, Porter also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. In 2014 Porter won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for Kinky Boots. He currently stars in the television series Pose for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, becoming the first openly gay black man to be nominated and win in any lead acting category at the Primetime Emmys.
Porter was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to William E. Porter and Cloerinda Jean Johnson Porter Ford. His sister is Mary Martha Ford-Dieng. After attending Reizenstein Middle School, Porter went to Taylor Allderdice High School, where he graduated in 1987. He graduated from the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University with a B.F.A. in Drama and earned a certification from the graduate-level Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA.
Porter played Teen Angel in the 1994 Broadway revival of Grease. Other shows he has been in include Topdog/Underdog at City Theatre (2004), Jesus Christ Superstar and Dreamgirls at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (2004), and the song cycles Myths and Hymns and Songs for a New World (Off-Broadway, 1995).
Porter wrote and performed in his one-person autobiographical show, Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am) at Joe's Pub in New York City in February and March 2005. He was nominated for "Outstanding New York Theater: Broadway & Off Broadway Award" at the 17th GLAAD Media Awards.
Porter originated the role of "Lola" in Kinky Boots on Broadway in 2013, with songs by Cyndi Lauper, book by Harvey Fierstein and directed/choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. Porter won both the 2013 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical and Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for this role.
Porter has also appeared in many films. He played a major role as Shiniqua, a drag queen who befriends Angel (David Norona) and Lee (Keivyn McNeill Graves) in Seth Michael Donsky's Twisted (1997), an adaptation of Oliver Twist. He has also appeared on The RuPaul Show.
He has had a musical career with three solo albums released, Billy Porter on DV8/A&M Records in 1997, At the Corner of Broadway + Soul in 2005 on Sh-K-Boom Records and Billy's Back on Broadway (Concord Music Group) in 2014. He featured in a number of songs in the tribute album; It's Only Life: The Songs of John Bucchino in 2006 released on PS Classics. He sings on Adam Guettel's 1999 album Myths and Hymns studio cast album on Nonesuch Records. He also covered "Only One Road" that was included on the Human Rights Campaign compilation album Love Rocks.
Porter wrote the play While I Yet Live, which premiered Off-Broadway at Primary Stages in September 2014 in previews, officially on October 12. In addition to Porter, the cast included Lillias White and S. Epatha Merkerson.
Porter released Billy Porter Presents the Soul of Richard Rodgers in April 2017. The album, which features new, soulful takes on classic Richard Rodgers songs, includes solos and duets from the following artists (in addition to Porter himself): Tony and Grammy Award winners Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) and Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton), Tony Award-winner Patina Miller (Pippin), Grammy Award winners Pentatonix and India Arie, Tony Award nominees Brandon Victor Dixon (Shuffle Along), Joshua Henry (Violet), and Christopher Jackson (Hamilton), alongside YouTube and Kinky Boots star Todrick Hall and multiple Grammy Award nominees Deborah Cox and Ledisi.
Porter reprised the role of Lola in Kinky Boots in September 2017 on Broadway, where he did a 15-week run.
In 2018, Porter starred in the FX show Pose in the role of Pray Tell. In 2019, Pose earned its renewal for a third season after airing just one episode from the second season. In August 2018, Porter confirmed via Instagram that he was joining the cast of American Horror Story for its eighth season, subtitled Apocalypse. Porter duetted with Pose co-star Dyllón Burnside and sang from his album in a benefit concert emceed by Burnside on July 23, 2018, to celebrate the season 1 finale and to raise money for GLSEN. In June 2019, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, sparking the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, Queerty named him one of the Pride50 "trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance, and dignity for all queer people." Also in June 2019 he presented the Excellence in Theatre Education Award at the 73rd Tonys at Radio City Music Hall. However, he earned media coverage for his haute couture red and pink gown, upcycled from Kinky Boots' stage curtains, in a uterine shape, and his impromptu performance of "Everything's Coming up Roses" from Gypsy, for host James Corden's "Broadway karaoke." In September 2019, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Pose, becoming the first openly gay black man to be nominated and win in any lead acting category at the Primetime Emmys.
At the 2019 Golden Globes, Porter gained attention for wearing an embroidered suit and pink cape designed by Randi Rahm. He continued to make fashion waves that year when he wore a fitted tuxedo jacket and a velvet gown by Christian Siriano with 6" Rick Owens boots to the 91st Academy Awards. In February 2019, he was an Official Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Ambassador for New York Fashion Week: Mens. Porter attended the 2019 Met Gala and embraced the Camp: Notes on Fashion theme by being carried on a litter by six shirtless men while sporting a "Sun God" ensemble. The Blonds designed Porter's outfit, and it included a bejeweled catsuit outfitted with 10-foot wings, a 24-karat gold headpiece, as well as custom gold-leaf Giuseppe Zanotti shoes and fine jewels by Andreoli, John Hardy, and Oscar Heyman.
Porter shared his racial views in a 2020 interview with Vanity Fair, "The reason why our country is in the mess we're in is simply because of whiteness. White supremacy. White people choke-holding power and sucking the life out of humanity".
Awards and nominations
- 1997: Billy Porter (DV8/A&M Records)
- 2005: At the Corner of Broadway + Soul (Sh-K-Boom Records)
- 2014: Billy's Back on Broadway (Concord Music Group)
- 2017: Billy Porter Presents the Soul of Richard Rodgers (Masterworks Broadway)
- 1997: "Show Me"/"What Iz Time"
- 2005: "Awaiting You"/"Time" (Live) (Sh-K-Boom Records)
- 2017: "Edelweiss"
- 2019: "Love Yourself"
- 2020: "For What It's Worth"
- 2020: The Shapeshifters feat. Billy Porter "Finally Ready" 
- "Only One Road" on Love Rocks compilation album
- "Love Is on the Way" on The First Wives Club album
- "Destiny" with Jordan Hill on Jim Brickman's Greatest Hits album
- "Where Is Love?" with Liz Callaway
- Featured on a number of songs on tribute album It's Only Life: The Songs of John Bucchino
- Adam Guettel's album Myths and Hymns in 1999
- He is featured with Alan Cumming, David Raleigh and Ari Gold in a cover of "That's What Friends Are For", of 'The Friends Project' in support of the Ali Forney Center, a NYC shelter for homeless LGBT youth. The song was arranged and produced by Nathan Leigh Jones and directed by Michael Akers.
Porter performed "For What It's Worth" with Stephen Stills at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
|1996||The First Wives Club||Singer|
|1997||Anastasia||Ensemble and character voices||Voice role|
|2000||The Intern||Sebastian Niederfarb|||
|2000||The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy||Taylor|||
|2020||Like a Boss||Barrett|
|1998||Another World||Billy Rush||Unknown episodes|
|1999||Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story||Little Richard||Television movie|
|2004||Law & Order||Greg Ellison||Episode: "Cry Wolf"|
|2007–12||So You Think You Can Dance||Performer||4 episodes|
|2012||The Big C||Eric||Episode: "Thin Ice"|
|2013||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Jackie Walker||Episode: "Dissonant Voices"|
|2013||Land of Lola: Backstage at Kinky Boots||Host||8 episodes|
|2014||Christmas at Rockefeller Plaza||Performer||Television special|
|2015||Billy Porter: Broad & Soul||Performer||Television special|
|2016||The Get Down||DJ Malibu||Episode: "Where There Is Ruin, There Is Hope for a Treasure"|
|2018–present||Pose||Pray Tell||17 episodes|
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2019)
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series (2019–2020)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2019–2020)
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (2020)
Nominated—Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama
|2018||American Horror Story: Apocalypse||Behold Chablis||5 episodes|
|2019||Saturday Night Live||Himself||Episode: "David Harbour/Camila Cabello"|
|2019-present||Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve||Himself||New Orleans correspondent (2019), Times Square correspondent (2020)|
|2020||The Simpsons||Desmond||Voice role; Episode: "Highway To Well"|
|2020||The Twilight Zone||Keith||Episode: "The Who of You"|
|2020||Saturday Night Seder||Himself||Television special|
- Miss Saigon, Ensemble/John (u/s), Broadway (1991)
- Grease, Teen Angel, Broadway (1994)
- The Merchant of Venice, Solanio, Off-Broadway (1995)
- Songs for a New World, performer, Off-Broadway (1995)
- Smokey Joe's Cafe, performer, Broadway (1995–97)
- Miss Saigon, John (replacement), Broadway (1998–99)
- Jesus Christ Superstar, Jesus of Nazareth, Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center, Nyack, NY (1998)
- Dreamgirls, James Thunder Early, New York Actors Fund concert (September 2001)
- Radiant Baby, Various, Off-Broadway (2003)
- Topdog/Underdog, City Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA (2004)
- Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey ll (replacement), Broadway (2004)
- Chef's Theater: A Musical Feast, Performer, Off-Broadway (2004)
- Ghetto Superstar, Performer, Off-Broadway (2005) – also playwright
- Birdie Blue, Bam/Little Pimp/Sook/Minerva, Off-Broadway (2005)
- Putting It Together, performer, New York (2009)
- Angels in America, Belize, Off-Broadway (2010)
- Kinky Boots, Lola, Broadway (2013–2015)
- Kinky Boots, Lola (replacement), Tour (2014)
- HAM: A Musical Memoir, Off-Broadway (2015) – director
- Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, Aubrey Lyles, Broadway (2016)
- White Rabbit Red Rabbit, Off-Broadway (2016)
- Kinky Boots, Lola (replacement), Broadway (2017)
- "Family Celebrates Billy Porter's Tony Award Win". Pittsburgh.cbslocal.com. June 10, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- "'Like A Boss' star Billy Porter on the influence of strong women in his life". Good Morning America. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
- "Billy Porter: The 100 Most Influential People of 2020". Time. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
- "Billy Porter". September 21, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- "Tony Awards Acceptance Speeches From Billy Porter, Patina Miller, Cyndi Lauper, Andrea Martin, Judith Light and More | Playbill". Playbill. May 23, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- "Celebrating Billy Porter". New Pittsburgh Courier. October 24, 2013. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- Petrarca, Emilia (May 1, 2019). "The Realness of Billy Porter". The Cut. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
- "'Pose' Star Billy Porter Reveals Past Sexual Abuse in Searing Op-Ed". out.com. October 31, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
- "Billy Porter's one-man show traces his life, onstage and off | TribLIVE.com". archive.triblive.com. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
- "UCLA Professional Programs". Filmprograms.ucla.edu. Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- Gordon, David. "My First Tony Award Nomination" theatermania.com, May 27, 2013
- Rawson, Christopher (March 5, 2004). "Rooting for the Underdog: Homewood native Billy Porter finds his focus in a career with many facets". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Jones, Kenneth (August 4, 2004). "Norm Lewis and Billy Porter Woo Dreamgirls, Including Frenchie Davis, in Pittsburgh Aug. 10–22". Playbill.
- Billy Porter at the Internet Off-Broadway Database. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
- Sandman, Jenny (March 15, 2005). "Review. Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am)". curtainup.com.
- Murray, Matthew (March 6, 2005). "Off-Broadway Review. Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am)". talkinbroadway.com.
- Gans, Andrew (January 24, 2006). "GLAAD Media Awards Nominees Include I Am My Own Wife, Color Purple and Ghetto Superstar". Playbill.
- "Announcing the Cast of Angels in America". Signature Theatre Company. June 22, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
- Purcell, Carey (June 10, 2013). "Kinky Boots, Vanya and Sonia, Pippin and Virginia Woolf? Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards". Playbill.
- Hetrick, Adam; Gans, Andrew (May 20, 2013). "Billy Porter, Andrea Martin, Pippin, Matilda, Vanya and Sonia Win Drama Desk Awards". Playbill.
- Thomas, Kevin (December 12, 1997). "A Twisted Tale of Souls Rising Above Corruption". Los Angeles Times.
- Jones, Kenneth (January 19, 2006). "John Bucchino's Revue It's Only Life Will Be Preserved on CD". Playbill.
- "Myths and Hymns Studio Cast". CastAlbums.org. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
- Hetrick, Adam (September 24, 2014). "Billy Porter's While I Yet Live, with Lillias White and S. Epatha Merkerson, Premieres Off-Broadway". Playbill.
- "Billy Porter Presents the Soul of Richard Rodgers". The Official Masterworks Broadway Site. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
- "Everybody Say Yeah! Original Kinky Boots Stars Billy Porter & Stark Sands Will Return to Hit Musical". Broadway.com. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
- King, Eric (August 2, 2018). "Tony Winner Billy Porter Will Appear in Season Eight of American Horror Story". Broadway.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
- Shoemaker, Allison (August 3, 2018). "Pose's Billy Porter joins the cast of American Horror Story: Apocalypse". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
- Feldman, Adam (July 17, 2018). "Dyllón Burnside: Up Close and Personal". Time Out New York. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- Hetrick, Adam (July 14, 2018). "FX's Pose Stars, Dyllón Burnside, Mj Rodriguez, and Ryan Jamaal Swain, Will Perform NYC Concert". Playbill. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- "To Be Real: The Cast Of Pose Gives Back — Already! — At NYC GLSEN Benefit". Boy Culture. July 24, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
- Galassi, Josh (May 23, 2019). "Red Carpet and 'Pose' star Billy Porter is telling the queer stories we've been waiting for". queerty.com. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
- "Billy Porter Wore a Uterus Motif to the Tonys to Make a Statement". Time. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
- "Billy Porter Took the Tonys Stage During a Commercial Break and Sang Gypsy". Vulture. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
- Rhodes, Malcolm (June 17, 2019). "Taylor Swift's new Pride music video is jam-packed with over 20 cameos from LGBTQ icons". queerty.com. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
- "Democrats Announce Highlights from Opening Night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention: Uniting America". 2020 Democratic National Convention. August 17, 2020. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
- Gonzales, Erica (January 7, 2019). "Billy Porter's Golden Globes Look Just Changed My Life". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
- "Why Billy Porter Wore a Gown to the 2019 Oscars". Time. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
- "CFDA". cfda.com. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
- "Billy Porter Just Made the Most Fabulous Entrance in Met Gala History". Vogue. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
- Fierberg, Ruthie. The two have been a sight for the naked eye. Their love filled with happiness."Billy Porter Is a Married Man!" Playbill, January 17, 2017
- Hennemuth, Britt (August 2020). "Billy Porter - Actor". Vanity Fair.
- "Kinky Boots' Billy Porter on His 'Amaaaazing' Audience Choice Award Win for Favorite Actor in a Musical". Broadway.com. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- "Vote Now! Kinky Boots and Matilda Top the 2013 Broadway.com Audience Choice Award Nominations". Broadway.com. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- "2013 Drama League Awards Nominees Announced". www.backstage.com. April 23, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Wilkinson, Alissa (September 22, 2019). "Pose's Billy Porter makes LGBTQ history with his Emmy win". Vox. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Skethway, Nathan (September 21, 2019). "Celebrate Billy Porter's Birthday With a Look Back at His Tony-Winning Turn in Kinky Boots". Playbill. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Knapp, J. D.; Knapp, J. D. (May 7, 2017). "28th GLAAD Media Awards: Complete List of Winners". Variety. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- "Critics' Choice Awards 2019: The Complete List of Nominations". E! Online. December 10, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- "Dorian Awards: 'The Favourite' Named Film of the Year". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Montgomery, Daniel (July 9, 2020). "'Pose' Emmy interviews: Billy Porter, Mj Rodriguez, Indya Moore and more discuss groundbreaking FX drama". GoldDerby. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
- Wloszczyna, Daniel Montgomery,Marcus James Dixon,Chris Beachum,Joyce Eng,Paul Sheehan,Susan; Montgomery, Daniel; Dixon, Marcus James; Beachum, Chris; Eng, Joyce; Sheehan, Paul; Wloszczyna, Susan (September 18, 2019). "Gold Derby TV Awards winners 2019: 'Game of Thrones' and 'Fleabag' rule, but voters spread the wealth". GoldDerby. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Wloszczyna, Daniel Montgomery, Joyce Eng, Chris Beachum,Marcus James Dixon, Paul Sheehan, Susan; Montgomery, Daniel; Eng, Joyce; Beachum, Chris; Dixon, Marcus James; Sheehan, Paul; Wloszczyna, Susan (November 4, 2019). "Gold Derby TV Decade Award winners: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Veep,' Ryan Murphy and more were the best from 2010-2019". GoldDerby. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- "Golden Globes rewards war drama, Tarantino; Billy Porter settles for red-carpet win". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- "'Pose,' 'Russian Doll,' HBO Lead 2019 TV Critic Awards Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- "Critics' Choice Awards 2020: The Complete List of Nominations". E! Online. December 8, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- "'Parasite' Tops Dorian Awards With 5 Wins". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Reddish, David (February 26, 2020). "And the winners of the 2020 Queerties are…". Queerty. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
- Hetrick, Adam. " 'Kinky Boots' Star Billy Porter Releases "Billy's Back on Broadway" April 15" Playbill, April 15, 2014
- " 'At the Corner of Broadway + Soul' Listing" AllMusic. Retrieved June 24, 2016
- Suskin, Steven. "On The Record: 'Little Me', 'Charlie Brown', and especially Adam Guettel" Playbill, March 21, 1999
- "David Raleigh THE FRIENDS PROJECT – "That's What Friends Are For" Official Video (HD)". November 11, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2013 – via YouTube.
- Gans, Andrew. "Live From Lincoln Center's 40th anniversary season on PBS will continue April 3 with a concert from Tony winner Billy Porter" Playbill, April 2, 2015
- "Billy Porter Returns to Joe's Pub December 7 and 8" broadwayworld.com, November 12, 2008
- Twisted tcm.com. Retrieved June 25, 2016
- Intern tcm.com. Retrieved June 25, 2016
- The Broken Hearts Club allmovie.com. Retrieved August 7, 2015
- Noel allmovie.com. Retrieved August 7, 2015
- "The Humbling". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
- Acevedo, Nicole. "Camila Cabello will bring 'Cinderella' to life in Sony's new film". NBC News. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
- "Billy Porter Broadway" Playbill. Retrieved June 24, 2016
- "Billy Porter Off-Broadway" lortel.org. Retrieved June 24, 2016
- Klein, Alvin. "Theater. 'Jesus Christ Superstar' In Revisionist Staging" The New York Times, December 20, 1998
- Lefkowitz, David. "Dreamy Night for Dreamgirls' Actors' Fund Benefit, Which Reaps $1.1 Million" Playbill, September 28, 2001
- Jones, Kenneth. "Pittsburgh 'Topdog' Has Ray Anthony Thomas and Native Son Billy Porter, March 4 – April 4" Playbill, February 23, 2004
- "Billy Porter, Justin Bartha and Stana Katic Set for September at WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT" Broadway World, August 9, 2016