Artists & Interviewers

Billy Porter

Billy Porter is a Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright from Pittsburgh, PA. As a recording artist, Porter’s solo albums include his first CD, Untitled, on A&M records and his sophomore album, At the Corner of Broadway + Soul – LIVE, on Sh-K-Boom Records.

Billy’s Back on Broadway, Porter’s most recent album was released in 2014. Featuring ten classics made famous on the Great White Way that focus on inspiration, empowerment and hope, the album’s title (and cover art) is a nod to Sammy Davis, Jr.’s recording Sammy’s Back on Broadway. Rock icon Cyndi Lauper also makes a special guest appearance on Billy’s Back on Broadway, dueting with Porter on “Happy Days/Get Happy.”

Porter’s voice can also be heard on the albums A Very Rosie Christmas, Jim Brickman’s Destiny (top ten AC hit), Grease (revival cast album), Adam Guettel’s Myths & Hymns, Gershwin and Sondheim Benefit Albums, Hercules (Disney) and Anastasia (Warner Bros.), Liz Callaway – The Story Goes OnAlvin Ailey/Revelations,Broadway Cares Home For The HolidaysDreamgirls in ConcertHAIR (Actor’s Fund Benefit recording), Great Joy: A Gospel Christmas (with The Broadway Inspirational Voices) and The Human Rights Campaign’s Love Rocks.

Porter ended a run starring as “Lola” in the smash hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, for which he won the 2013 Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. Other Broadway acting credits include Miss SaigonFive Guys Named MoeGrease (all original cast), Smokey Joe’s Café and Dreamgirls (20th Anniversary Broadway Concert and LA Ovation Award). Off Broadway and regional credits include Angels in America (Signature Theater), Romance In Hard TimesThe Merchant of VeniceHouse of Lear and Radiant Baby (The New York Shakespeare Festival), Birdie Blue (Second Stage), Angels in America (Actors Theatre Of Louisville), Going Native (The Long Wharf), Jelly’s Last Jam (Alliance), Topdog/Underdog (City Theatre), King Lear (Exit, Pursued By A Bear), Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For A New World (original cast), Jesus Christ SuperstarAntigoneA Chorus Line and Chicago. His one-man show, Ghetto Superstar: The Man That I Am, debuted at The Public Theater in NYC in conjunction with City Theatre of Pittsburgh and was nominated for a 2005 GLAAD Media Award. Porter was also named “Pittsburgh’s Performer of the Year 2003-2004” by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Porter’s film and television credits include The Humbling co- starring Al Pacino & Greta Gerwig directed by Barry Levinson, Sundance Film Festival features The Broken Hearts Club (Sony Pictures) and Intern, Noel (with Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams), Shake Rattle & Roll as Little Richard (CBS mini-series), Another World (recurring), TwistedLaw & OrderLaw & Order: SVUThe Big C, The Oprah Winfrey Show,A Very Rosie ChristmasThe Tonight Show, and multiple appearances on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. He will be seen on Baz Luhrman’s The Get Down which premieres on Netflix August 12th, 2016. His original song “Time” has been featured twice on the mega-hit television series So You Think You Can Dance as well as the 2011 Miss America Pageant. Porter’s concerts credits include opening act for Rosie O’Donnell and Aretha Franklin, Carnegie Hall, John McDaniel and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, as well as The Buffalo Philharmonic, Peter Nero and The Philly Pops, soloist for President Bill Clinton and various benefits throughout the U.S.

As a director, Porter recently directed the revival of George C. Wolf’s  ground breaking play, The Colored Museum at the prestigious Huntington Theater. Porter also has directed a critically acclaimed recreation of The Wiz and conceived a musical revue entitled Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Music of Stevie Wonder, which starred Chaka Khan and ran at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas in the spring of 2002. Porter conceived and directed Being Alive, a musical celebration that aligns the cannons of Stephen Sondheim and William Shakespeare and combines them with the soulful musical styles of the African-American experience. Being Alivemade its world premiere in the summer of 2007 at The Westport Country Playhouse and immediately transferred to The Philadelphia Theatre Company, inaugurating their new Suzanne Roberts Theatre. He directed the new musical Twilight In Manchego for the NYMF in the fall of 2008 and is the NAACP Theatre Award winner for Best Direction of a Musical for his production of Once On This Island at Reprise Theatre Company, where he also conceived and directed a new musical revue calledThe Soul of Richard Rodgers. Other directing credits include Five Guys Named Moe for Casa Manana, Altar Boyz for Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, RENT (Associate Director: Off-Broadway Revival), Wicked Summer Nights Concert Series at The Ford Amphitheater starring Shoshana Bean, Eden Espinosa and Stephen Schwartz in conjunction with Upright Cabaret where he was Artistic Director for the 2009 Season. Porter made his London directorial debut in the fall of 2009 with Olivier Award Nominee Patina Miller at Live in the Delfont Room. Primary Stages presented the highly successful World Premiere of  While I Yet Live, which he wrote, that played at the off Broadway Duke Theater.

Porter is also a graduate of The Professional Program In Screenwriting at UCLA and is an adjunct professor at his alma mater Carnegie Mellon University’s School Of Drama, where he has directed productions of Company and Letters From ‘Nam. Porter also has received an honorary doctorate from Washington & Jefferson College.

Porter was most recently seen in the Tony nominated Broadway musical, Shuffle Along, directed by George Wolfe and co-starring Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Joshua Henry and Brandon Victor Dixon. He will direct Top Dog/Underdog at the Huntington Theater in early 2017. Additionally, Porter is currently recording his new album which will be released on Sony Masterworks.

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