Billy Porter (entertainer)
Porter in 2017
|Occupation||Pop singer, actor, performer, vocal coach|
Adam Smith (m. 2017)
Billy Porter (born September 21, 1969) is an American Broadway theatre performer, pop singer, and actor. He attended the Musical Theater program at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School's School of Drama, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University 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. Porter also won the 2014 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 the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Porter was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to William E. Porter and Cloerinda Jean Johnson Porter Ford. His sister is MaryMartha Ford-Dieng. After attending Reizenstein Middle School, Porter attended Taylor Allderdice High School and then the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts 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-man 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 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 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 sensation 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 raising 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, but 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”.
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.
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 donning a “Sun God” ensemble. The outfit was designed by The Blonds, 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.
- 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"
- "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.
|1996||The First Wives Club||Singer|
|1997||Anastasia||Ensemble and character voices||Voice role|
|2000||The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy||Taylor|||
|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||13 episodes|
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
Pending—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Pending—Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama
|2018||American Horror Story: Apocalypse||Behold Chablis||5 episodes|
- 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)
Awards and nominations
|Award||Year||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result|
|Broadway.com Audience Awards||2013||Favorite Actor in a Musical||Kinky Boots||Won|
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||2019||Best Actor in a Drama Series||Pose||Nominated|
|Dorian Awards||2019||TV Performance of the Year – Actor||Won|
|TV Musical Performance of the Year||"Home" (with Mj Rodriguez and Our Lady J)||Won|
|Drama League Award||2013||Distinguished Performance||Kinky Boots||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Won|
|Fred and Adele Astaire Awards||Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show||Nominated|
|GLAAD Media Awards||2017||Vito Russo Award||Billy Porter||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||2019||Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Pose||Nominated|
|Grammy Awards||2014||Best Musical Theater Album||Kinky Boots||Won|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||2013||Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Kinky Boots||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Award||2019||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Pose||Pending|
|Tony Awards||2013||Best Actor in a Musical||Kinky Boots||Won|
- "Family Celebrates Billy Porter's Tony Award Win". Pittsburgh.cbslocal.com. 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "Billy Porter". 2017-09-21. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
- "Tony Awards Acceptance Speeches From Billy Porter, Patina Miller, Cyndi Lauper, Andrea Martin, Judith Light and More | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
- "Celebrating Billy Porter". New Pittsburgh Courier. 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
- Petrarca, Emilia (2019-05-01). "The Realness of Billy Porter". The Cut. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
- "'Pose' Star Billy Porter Reveals Past Sexual Abuse in Searing Op-Ed". www.out.com. 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
- "UCLA Professional Programs". Filmprograms.ucla.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-12-04. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- 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 (2019-05-23). "Red Carpet and 'Pose' star Billy Porter is telling the queer stories we've been waiting for". www.queerty.com. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
- "Billy Porter Wore a Uterus Motif to the Tonys to Make a Statement". Time. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
- www.vulture.com https://www.vulture.com/amp/2019/06/2019-tony-awards-billy-porter-sings-gypsy-during-commercial-break.html. Retrieved 2019-06-11. Missing or empty
- Rhodes, Malcolm (2019-06-17). "Taylor Swift's new Pride music video is jam-packed with over 20 cameos from LGBTQ icons". www.queerty.com. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
- Gonzales, Erica (2019-01-07). "Billy Porter's Golden Globes Look Just Changed My Life". Harper's BAZAAR. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
- "Why Billy Porter Wore a Gown to the 2019 Oscars". Time. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
- "Billy Porter Just Made the Most Fabulous Entrance in Met Gala History". Vogue. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
- 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
- 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
- Twisted tcm.com, accessed June 25, 2016
- Intern tcm.com, accessed June 25, 2016
- 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
- BWW News Desk. "Billy Porter, Justin Bartha and Stana Katic Set for September at WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT" Broadway World, August 9, 2016