Billy Porter (entertainer)

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Billy Porter
Born (1969-09-21) September 21, 1969 (age 48)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater Carnegie-Mellon University
Occupation Pop singer, actor, performer, vocal coach
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 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[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]

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.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Porter and Adam Smith were married on January 14, 2017.[18]




  • 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 [23] and Joe's Pub in New York City.[24]




Sources:Playbill Vault;[34] Off-Broadway Database[35]

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. ^ a b "BILLY PORTER PRESENTS: THE SOUL OF RICHARD RODGERS | The Official Masterworks Broadway Site". The Official Masterworks Broadway Site. Retrieved 2017-07-24. 
  18. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie. "Billy Porter Is a Married Man!" Playbill, January 17, 2017
  19. ^ a b c Hetrick, Adam. " 'Kinky Boots' Star Billy Porter Releases "Billy's Back on Broadway" April 15" Playbill, April 15, 2014
  20. ^ " 'At the Corner of Broadway + Soul' Listing", accessed June 24, 2016
  21. ^ Suskin, Steven. "On The Record: 'Little Me', 'Charlie Brown', and especially Adam Guettel" Playbill, March 21, 1999
  22. ^ "David Raleigh THE FRIENDS PROJECT - "That's What Friends Are For" Official Video (HD)". YouTube. 2010-11-11. Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ "Billy Porter Returns to Joe's Pub December 7 and 8", November 12, 2008
  25. ^ "So You Think You Can Dance - 2014 Casting Guide with Call Dates". Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Mariah Carey, Prince Royce, Darius Rucker & The Rockettes Added to NBC's "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" Special Airing Wednesday, Dec. 3", December 1, 2014
  27. ^ "Program Notes. Sinatra: Voice for a Century", accessed June 24, 2016
  28. ^ Twisted, accessed June 25, 2016
  29. ^ Intern, accessed June 25, 2016
  30. ^ Felperin, Leslie. "Review: 'Fabulous!: The Story of Queer Cinema' " Variety, February 23, 2006
  31. ^ The Broken Hearts Club, accessed August 7, 2015
  32. ^ Noel, accessed August 7, 2015
  33. ^ "The Humbling". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-04-24. 
  34. ^ a b "Billy Porter Broadway" Playbill, accessed June 24, 2016
  35. ^ "Billy Porter Off-Broadway", accessed June 24, 2016
  36. ^ Klein, Alvin. "Theater. 'Jesus Christ Superstar' In Revisionist Staging" The New York Times, December 20, 1998
  37. ^ Lefkowitz, David. "Dreamy Night for Dreamgirls' Actors' Fund Benefit, Which Reaps $1.1 Million" Playbill, September 28, 2001
  38. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Pittsburgh 'Topdog' Has Ray Anthony Thomas and Native Son Billy Porter, March 4-April 4" Playbill, February 23, 2004
  39. ^ Gilbert, Ryan. " 'Kinky Boots' Billy Porter on His 'Amaaaazing' Audience Choice Award Win for Favorite Actor in a Musical", May 6, 2013
  40. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy. "The 58th Annual Drama Desk Award Winners Are Announced!", May 19, 2013
  41. ^ Tacopino, Joe. " 'Kinky Boots' Wins Tony Award for Best Musical Cyndi Lauper Nabs Best Score Honors" New York Post, June 10, 2013
  42. ^ 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]