Billy Porter (entertainer)

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Billy Porter
Billy Porter.png
Porter in 2017
Born (1969-09-21) September 21, 1969 (age 49)
Education
OccupationPop singer, actor, performer, vocal coach
Spouse(s)
Adam Smith (m. 2017)
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) is an American stage performer, pop singer, and actor. 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.

Early life[edit]

Porter was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to William E. Porter and Clorinda Jean Johnson Ford.[2][3] His sister is Mary Martha Ford.[4] 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 graduate-level Professional Program In Screenwriting[5] at UCLA.

During the summers of 1985-1987, Porter was a member of an entertainment group called "Flash" which performed daily at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania.[6]

Career[edit]

He played the Teen Angel in the 1994 Broadway revival of Grease!. Other shows he has been in include Topdog/Underdog at City Theatre (2004),[7] Jesus Christ Superstar and Dreamgirls at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (2004)[8] and the song cycles "Myths and Hymns" and "Songs for a New World" (Off-Broadway, 1995).[9]

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.[9][10][11] Porter was nominated for "Outstanding New York Theater: Broadway & Off Broadway Award" at the 17th GLAAD Media Awards.[12]

In September 2010, Porter appeared as Belize in Signature Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary production of Tony Kushner's Angels in America.[9][13]

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.[14][15]

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.[16] 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.[17] He sings on Adam Guettel's 1999 album Myths and Hymns studio cast album on Nonesuch Records.[18] 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.[9][19]

Billy 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 sensation and Kinky Boots star Todrick Hall and multiple Grammy Award nominees Deborah Cox and Ledisi.[20]

Porter reprised the role of Lola in Kinky Boots on September 26, 2017, on Broadway, where he did a 15-week run.[21]

In 2018, Porter starred in the FX show, Pose in the role of Pray Tell. Pose has been picked up for a second season to be aired in 2019. In August 2018, Porter confirmed via Instagram that he was joining the cast of American Horror Story for its eight season, subtitled Apocalypse.[22][23] 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 raising money for GLSEN.[24][25][26]

Personal life[edit]

He and Adam Smith were married on January 14, 2017.[27]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

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

Other songs[edit]

Appears in[edit]

Concerts[edit]

Porter has performed at various venues in New York City, including Lincoln Center, which was broadcast on PBS in 2015 [32] and Joe's Pub in New York City.[33]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1996 Twisted Siniqua [34]
1996 The First Wives Club Singer
1997 Anastasia Ensemble and character voices Voice role
2000 Intern Sebastian Niederfarb [35]
2000 The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy Taylor [36]
2004 Noel Randy [37]
2014 The Humbling Prince [38]
2019 Limited Partners N/A Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
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 8 episodes
Pending—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series
Pending—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
2018 American Horror Story: Apocalypse Behold Chablis 5 episodes

Theatre[edit]

Sources:Playbill Vault;[39] Off-Broadway Database[40]

Awards and nominations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Family Celebrates Billy Porter's Tony Award Win". Pittsburgh.cbslocal.com. 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  2. ^ "Billy Porter". 2017-09-21. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  3. ^ "Tony Awards Acceptance Speeches From Billy Porter, Patina Miller, Cyndi Lauper, Andrea Martin, Judith Light and More | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  4. ^ "Celebrating Billy Porter". New Pittsburgh Courier. 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  5. ^ "UCLA Professional Programs". Filmprograms.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  6. ^ Gordon, David. "My First Tony Award Nomination" theatermania.com, May 27, 2013
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Jones, Kenneth (August 4, 2004). "Norm Lewis and Billy Porter Woo Dreamgirls, Including Frenchie Davis, in Pittsburgh Aug. 10–22". Playbill.
  9. ^ a b c d Billy Porter at the Internet Off-Broadway Database. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  10. ^ Sandman, Jenny (March 15, 2005). "Review. Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am)". curtainup.com.
  11. ^ Murray, Matthew (March 6, 2005). "Off-Broadway Review. Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am)". talkinbroadway.com.
  12. ^ Gans, Andrew (January 24, 2006). "GLAAD Media Awards Nominees Include I Am My Own Wife, Color Purple and Ghetto Superstar". Playbill.
  13. ^ "Announcing the Cast of Angels in America". Signature Theatre Company. June 22, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  14. ^ Purcell, Carey (June 10, 2013). "Kinky Boots, Vanya and Sonia, Pippin and Virginia Woolf? Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards". Playbill.
  15. ^ Hetrick, Adam; Gans, Andrew (May 20, 2013). "Billy Porter, Andrea Martin, Pippin, Matilda, Vanya and Sonia Win Drama Desk Awards". Playbill.
  16. ^ Thomas, Kevin (December 12, 1997). "A Twisted Tale of Souls Rising Above Corruption". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth (January 19, 2006). "John Bucchino's Revue It's Only Life Will Be Preserved on CD". Playbill.
  18. ^ "Myths and Hymns Studio Cast". CastAlbums.org. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  19. ^ Hetrick, Adam (September 24, 2014). "Billy Porter's While I Yet Live, with Lillias White and S. Epatha Merkerson, Premieres Off-Broadway". Playbill.
  20. ^ a b "Billy Porter Presents the Soul of Richard Rodgers". The Official Masterworks Broadway Site. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  21. ^ "Everybody Say Yeah! Original Kinky Boots Stars Billy Porter & Stark Sands Will Return to Hit Musical". Broadway.com. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  22. ^ King, Eric (August 2, 2018). "Tony Winner Billy Porter Will Appear in Season Eight of American Horror Story". Broadway.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  23. ^ Shoemaker, Allison (August 3, 2018). "Pose's Billy Porter joins the cast of American Horror Story: Apocalypse". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  24. ^ Feldman, Adam (July 17, 2018). "Dyllón Burnside: Up Close and Personal". Time Out New York. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ "To Be Real: The Cast Of Pose Gives Back — Already! — At NYC GLSEN Benefit". Boy Culture. July 24, 2018. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  27. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie. "Billy Porter Is a Married Man!" Playbill, January 17, 2017
  28. ^ a b c Hetrick, Adam. " 'Kinky Boots' Star Billy Porter Releases "Billy's Back on Broadway" April 15" Playbill, April 15, 2014
  29. ^ " 'At the Corner of Broadway + Soul' Listing" allmusic.com, accessed June 24, 2016
  30. ^ Suskin, Steven. "On The Record: 'Little Me', 'Charlie Brown', and especially Adam Guettel" Playbill, March 21, 1999
  31. ^ "David Raleigh THE FRIENDS PROJECT - "That's What Friends Are For" Official Video (HD)". YouTube. 2010-11-11. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  32. ^ 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
  33. ^ "Billy Porter Returns to Joe's Pub December 7 and 8" broadwayworld.com, November 12, 2008
  34. ^ Twisted tcm.com, accessed June 25, 2016
  35. ^ Intern tcm.com, accessed June 25, 2016
  36. ^ The Broken Hearts Club allmovie.com, accessed August 7, 2015
  37. ^ Noel allmovie.com, accessed August 7, 2015
  38. ^ "The Humbling". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
  39. ^ a b "Billy Porter Broadway" Playbill, accessed June 24, 2016
  40. ^ "Billy Porter Off-Broadway" lortel.org, accessed June 24, 2016
  41. ^ Klein, Alvin. "Theater. 'Jesus Christ Superstar' In Revisionist Staging" The New York Times, December 20, 1998
  42. ^ Lefkowitz, David. "Dreamy Night for Dreamgirls' Actors' Fund Benefit, Which Reaps $1.1 Million" Playbill, September 28, 2001
  43. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Pittsburgh 'Topdog' Has Ray Anthony Thomas and Native Son Billy Porter, March 4-April 4" Playbill, February 23, 2004
  44. ^ BWW News Desk. "Billy Porter, Justin Bartha and Stana Katic Set for September at WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT" Broadway World, August 9, 2016
  45. ^ Gilbert, Ryan. " 'Kinky Boots' Billy Porter on His 'Amaaaazing' Audience Choice Award Win for Favorite Actor in a Musical" broadway.com, May 6, 2013
  46. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy. "The 58th Annual Drama Desk Award Winners Are Announced!" theatermania.com, May 19, 2013
  47. ^ Tacopino, Joe. " 'Kinky Boots' Wins Tony Award for Best Musical Cyndi Lauper Nabs Best Score Honors" New York Post, June 10, 2013
  48. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy. " 'Pippin', 'Kinky Boots', 'Here Lies Love' Are Broadway and Off-Broadway's 2013 Outer Critics Circle Award Winners" theatermania.com, May 13, 2013

External links[edit]