Billy Porter is a Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning actor, singer, director, composer and playwright from Pittsburgh, PA.
Porter’s voice can be heard on the albums A Very Rosie Christmas, Jim Brickman’s Destiny, the cast album of the first revival of Grease, Adam Guettel’s Myths & Hymns, the movie soundtracks of Hercules and Anastasia, Alvin Ailey/Revelations, Dreamgirls in Concert, Great Joy: A Gospel Christmas with The Broadway Inspirational Voices and The Human Rights Campaign’s Love Rocks.
Porter won the 2013 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his groundbreaking performance as “Lola” in Kinky Boots. Other Broadway acting credits include Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease, Smokey Joe’s Café, the 20th Anniversary Broadway concert of Dreamgirls and most recently the highly-acclaimed Shuffle Along. Off Broadway and regional credits include Angels in America, Romance In Hard Times, The Merchant of Venice, House of Lear, Radiant Baby, Birdie Blue, Going Native, Jelly’s Last Jam, Topdog/Underdog, King Lear, Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For A New World, Jesus Christ Superstar, Antigone, A 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 Barry Levinson’s The Humbling opposite Al Pacino, Sundance Film Festival features The Broken Hearts Club and Intern, Noel (with Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams), Shake Rattle & Roll as Little Richard for CBS Another World, Twisted, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, The Big C, The Oprah Winfrey Show, A Very Rosie Christmas, The Tonight Show and multiple appearances on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. He has also appeared as Baz Luhrman’s in the much anticipated Netflix series The Get Down. Porter’s concert credits include opening 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 benefits throughout the U.S.
As a director, Porter recently helmed the revival of George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum at Boston’s Huntington Theater. He also directed a critically acclaimed rethinking of The Wiz in Pittsburgh 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 2002. In 2007 Porter conceived and directed Being Alive, in which he reinterpreted the music of Stephen Sondheim at both the Westport Country Playhouse and the Philadelphia Theatre Company. Porter won the NAACP Theatre Award 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 called The Soul of Rodgers. Other directing credits include Twilight in Manchego, Five Guys Named Moe and Altar Boyz. He was the Associate Director for the Off Broadway revival of RENT and has directed concerts featuring Shoshana Bean, Eden Espinosa, Patina Miller and Stephen Schwartz.
Porter is 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. He has also received an honorary doctorate from Washington & Jefferson College.