Billy Porter (entertainer)

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Billy Porter
Born (1969-09-21) September 21, 1969 (age 47)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater Carnegie-Mellon University
Occupation Pop singer, actor
Spouse(s) Adam Smith
Awards 2013 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical
2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical

Billy Porter (born September 21, 1969, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a stage performer, pop singer, film and television actor and vocal coach. He attended the Musical Theatre Program at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School's[1] School of Drama and achieved fame performing on Broadway before starting a solo career as a singer.

Porter won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots at the 67th Tony Awards. 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.


He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts with a B.F.A in Drama as well as a certification from The Professional Program In Screenwriting[2] at UCLA. During the summers of 1985, 1986 and 1987, Porter was a member of an entertainment group called "Flash" which performed daily at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, Pa.[3]

He played the Teen Angel in the 1994 revival of Grease!. Other shows he has been in include Topdog/Underdog at City Theatre (2004),[4] Jesus Christ Superstar and Dreamgirls at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (2004)[5] and the song cycles "Myths and Hymns" and "Songs for a New World" (Off-Broadway, 1995).[6]

Porter wrote and performed in his one-man autobiographical show, Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am) at Joe's Pub in New York City in February and March 2005.[7][8] Porter was nominated for "Outstanding New York Theater: Broadway & Off Broadway Award" at the 17th GLAAD Media Awards.[9]

In September 2010, Porter appeared as Belize in Signature Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America.[10]

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.[11][12]

Porter has also appeared in a number of 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.[13] He has also appeared on an episode of 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 as 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.[14] He sings on Adam Guettel's 1999 album Myths and Hymns studio cast album on Nonesuch Records.[15] 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 on September 24, 2014 in previews, officially on October 12. In addition to Porter, the cast included Lillias White and S. Epatha Merkerson.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Porter and Adam Smith were married on January 14, 2017.[17]




  • 1997: "Show Me"/"What Iz Time"
  • 2005: "Awaiting You"/"Time" (Live) (Sh-K-Boom Records)
  • 2017: "Edelweiss"
Other songs
Appears in


Porter has performed at various venues in New York City, including Lincoln Center, which was broadcast on PBS in 2015 [22] and Joe's Pub in New York City.[23]




Sources:Playbill Vault;[33] Off-Broadway Database[34]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "Family Celebrates Billy Porter’s Tony Award Win « CBS Pittsburgh". 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  2. ^ "UCLA Professional Programs". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  3. ^ Gordon, David. "My First Tony Award Nomination", May 27, 2013
  4. ^ Rawson, Christopher. "Rooting for the Underdog: Homewood native Billy Porter finds his focus in a career with many facets" Pittsburgh Pos-Gazette, March 5, 2004
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Norm Lewis and Billy Porter Woo 'Dreamgirls', Including Frenchie Davis, in Pittsburgh Aug. 10-22" Playbill, August 4, 2004
  6. ^ "'Songs for a New World' Listing" Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed August 7, 2015
  7. ^ Sandman, Jenny. "Review. 'Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am)' ", March 15, 2005
  8. ^ Murray, Matthew. "Off-Broadway Review. 'Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am)', March 6, 2005
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew. "GLAAD Media Awards Nominees Include 'I Am My Own Wife', 'Color Purple' and 'Ghetto Superstar' " Playbill, January 24, 2006
  10. ^ "Signature Theatre Company - Announcing the Cast of ''Angels in America''". 2010-06-22. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  11. ^ Purcell, Carey. " 'Kinky Boots', 'Vanya and Sonia', 'Pippin' and 'Virginia Woolf?' Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards", June 10, 2013
  12. ^ Hetrick, Adam and Gans, Andrew. "Billy Porter, Andrea Martin, 'Pippin', 'Matilda', 'Vanya and Sonia' Win Drama Desk Awards", May 20, 2013
  13. ^ Thomas, Kevin. "A 'Twisted' Tale of Souls Rising Above Corruption" Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1997
  14. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth. "John Bucchino's Revue 'It's Only Life' Will Be Preserved on CD" Playbill, January 19, 2006
  15. ^ " 'Myths and Hymns' Studio Cast", accessed August 7, 2015
  16. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Billy Porter's While I Yet Live, with Lillias White and S. Epatha Merkerson, Premieres Off-Broadway", September 24, 2014
  17. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie. "Billy Porter Is a Married Man!" Playbill, January 17, 2017
  18. ^ a b c Hetrick, Adam. " 'Kinky Boots' Star Billy Porter Releases "Billy's Back on Broadway" April 15" Playbill, April 15, 2014
  19. ^ " 'At the Corner of Broadway + Soul' Listing", accessed June 24, 2016
  20. ^ Suskin, Steven. "On The Record: 'Little Me', 'Charlie Brown', and especially Adam Guettel" Playbill, March 21, 1999
  21. ^ "David Raleigh THE FRIENDS PROJECT - "That's What Friends Are For" Official Video (HD)". YouTube. 2010-11-11. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  22. ^ 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
  23. ^ "Billy Porter Returns to Joe's Pub December 7 and 8", November 12, 2008
  24. ^ "So You Think You Can Dance - 2014 Casting Guide with Call Dates". Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Mariah Carey, Prince Royce, Darius Rucker & The Rockettes Added to NBC's "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" Special Airing Wednesday, Dec. 3", December 1, 2014
  26. ^ "Program Notes. Sinatra: Voice for a Century", accessed June 24, 2016
  27. ^ Twisted, accessed June 25, 2016
  28. ^ Intern, accessed June 25, 2016
  29. ^ Felperin, Leslie. "Review: 'Fabulous!: The Story of Queer Cinema' " Variety, February 23, 2006
  30. ^ The Broken Hearts Club, accessed August 7, 2015
  31. ^ Noel, accessed August 7, 2015
  32. ^ "The Humbling". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  33. ^ a b "Billy Porter Broadway" Playbill, accessed June 24, 2016
  34. ^ "Billy Porter Off-Broadway", accessed June 24, 2016
  35. ^ Klein, Alvin. "Theater. 'Jesus Christ Superstar' In Revisionist Staging" The New York Times, December 20, 1998
  36. ^ Lefkowitz, David. "Dreamy Night for Dreamgirls' Actors' Fund Benefit, Which Reaps $1.1 Million" Playbill, September 28, 2001
  37. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Pittsburgh 'Topdog' Has Ray Anthony Thomas and Native Son Billy Porter, March 4-April 4" Playbill, February 23, 2004
  38. ^ Gilbert, Ryan. " 'Kinky Boots' Billy Porter on His 'Amaaaazing' Audience Choice Award Win for Favorite Actor in a Musical", May 6, 2013
  39. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy. "The 58th Annual Drama Desk Award Winners Are Announced!", May 19, 2013
  40. ^ Tacopino, Joe. " 'Kinky Boots' Wins Tony Award for Best Musical Cyndi Lauper Nabs Best Score Honors" New York Post, June 10, 2013
  41. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy. " 'Pippin', 'Kinky Boots', 'Here Lies Love' Are Broadway and Off-Broadway's 2013 Outer Critics Circle Award Winners", May 13, 2013

External Links[edit]