Billy Porter (entertainer)
September 21, 1969 |
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||Carnegie-Mellon University|
|Occupation||Pop singer, actor, performer, vocal coach|
|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 in 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 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 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.
He played the Teen Angel in the 1994 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-man autobiographical show, Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am) at Joe's Pub in New York City in February and March 2005. Porter 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 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. 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. 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 on September 24, 2014 in previews, officially on October 12. In addition to Porter, the cast included Lillias White and S. Epatha Merkerson.
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.
Porter and Adam Smith were married on January 14, 2017.
- 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
- 1997: "Show Me"/"What Iz Time"
- 2005: "Awaiting You"/"Time" (Live) (Sh-K-Boom Records)
- 2017: "Edelweiss"
- Other songs
- "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
- Appears in
- 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.
- Another World, Billy Rush, 1 episode (1998)
- Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story, Little Richard, TV movie, 1999
- Law & Order, Greg Ellison, 1 episode, 2004
- The Big C, Eric, 1 episode, 2012
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Jackie Walker, 1 episode, 2013
- Land of Lola: Backstage at Kinky Boots with Billy Porter, Host, 8 episodes, 2013
- So You Think You Can Dance, Performer, 4 episodes, 2007-12 
- Christmas at Rockefeller Plaza, Performer, NBC, December 2014
- Billy Porter: Broadway & Soul, Self, TV concert special, Live from Lincoln Center, 2015
- Sinatra: Voice for a Century, Performer, TV concert special, Live from Lincoln Center, December 2015
- The Get Down, DJ Malibu, 1 episode, 2016
- Twisted, Shiniqua (1997)
- The First Wives Club, singer (1996)
- Anastasia, Ensemble (1997)
- Intern, Sebastian Niederfarb, (2000)
- Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema, composer, documentary (2006)
- The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy, Taylor, 2000
- Noel, Randy, 2004
- The Humbling, Prince, 2014
- 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)
- Kinky Boots, Lola (replacement), Broadway (2017)
Awards and nominations
- 2013 Broadway.com Audience Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a Musical for Kinky Boots (won)
- 2013 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical for Kinky Boots (won)
- 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for Kinky Boots (won)
- 2013 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical for Kinky Boots (won)
- 2013 Fred and Adele Astaire Awards for Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show Kinky Boots (nominated)
- 2013 Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance for Kinky Boots (nominated)
- 2014 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for Kinky Boots (won)
- "Family Celebrates Billy Porter’s Tony Award Win « CBS Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh.cbslocal.com. 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "UCLA Professional Programs". Filmprograms.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- Gordon, David. "My First Tony Award Nomination" theatermania.com, May 27, 2013
- 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
- Jones, Kenneth. "Norm Lewis and Billy Porter Woo 'Dreamgirls', Including Frenchie Davis, in Pittsburgh Aug. 10-22" Playbill, August 4, 2004
- "'Songs for a New World' Listing" Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed August 7, 2015
- Sandman, Jenny. "Review. 'Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am)' " curtainup.com, March 15, 2005
- Murray, Matthew. "Off-Broadway Review. 'Ghetto Superstar (The Man That I Am)' talkinbroadway.com, March 6, 2005
- Gans, Andrew. "GLAAD Media Awards Nominees Include 'I Am My Own Wife', 'Color Purple' and 'Ghetto Superstar' " Playbill, January 24, 2006
- "Signature Theatre Company - Announcing the Cast of ''Angels in America''". Signaturetheatre.blogspot.com. 2010-06-22. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- Purcell, Carey. " 'Kinky Boots', 'Vanya and Sonia', 'Pippin' and 'Virginia Woolf?' Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards" playbill.com, June 10, 2013
- Hetrick, Adam and Gans, Andrew. "Billy Porter, Andrea Martin, 'Pippin', 'Matilda', 'Vanya and Sonia' Win Drama Desk Awards" playbill.com, May 20, 2013
- Thomas, Kevin. "A 'Twisted' Tale of Souls Rising Above Corruption" Los Angeles Times, December 12, 1997
- Jones, Kenneth. "John Bucchino's Revue 'It's Only Life' Will Be Preserved on CD" Playbill, January 19, 2006
- " 'Myths and Hymns' Studio Cast" castalbums.org, accessed August 7, 2015
- Hetrick, Adam. "Billy Porter's While I Yet Live, with Lillias White and S. Epatha Merkerson, Premieres Off-Broadway" playbill.com, September 24, 2014
- "BILLY PORTER PRESENTS: THE SOUL OF RICHARD RODGERS | The Official Masterworks Broadway Site". The Official Masterworks Broadway Site. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
- Fierberg, Ruthie. "Billy Porter Is a Married Man!" Playbill, January 17, 2017
- 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.com, accessed 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)". YouTube. 2010-11-11. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- 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
- "So You Think You Can Dance - 2014 Casting Guide with Call Dates". Retrieved June 19, 2014.
- "Mariah Carey, Prince Royce, Darius Rucker & The Rockettes Added to NBC's "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" Special Airing Wednesday, Dec. 3" thefutoncritic.com, December 1, 2014
- "Program Notes. Sinatra: Voice for a Century" pbs.com, accessed June 24, 2016
- Twisted tcm.com, accessed June 25, 2016
- Intern tcm.com, accessed June 25, 2016
- Felperin, Leslie. "Review: 'Fabulous!: The Story of Queer Cinema' " Variety, February 23, 2006
- The Broken Hearts Club allmovie.com, accessed August 7, 2015
- Noel allmovie.com, accessed August 7, 2015
- "The Humbling". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
- "Billy Porter Broadway" Playbill, accessed June 24, 2016
- "Billy Porter Off-Broadway" lortel.org, accessed 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
- Gilbert, Ryan. " 'Kinky Boots' Billy Porter on His 'Amaaaazing' Audience Choice Award Win for Favorite Actor in a Musical" broadway.com, May 6, 2013
- Lefkowitz, Andy. "The 58th Annual Drama Desk Award Winners Are Announced!" theatermania.com, May 19, 2013
- Tacopino, Joe. " 'Kinky Boots' Wins Tony Award for Best Musical Cyndi Lauper Nabs Best Score Honors" New York Post, June 10, 2013
- 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