*Tony Award winning theater star Billy Porter, whose profession has taken him all around the world, is making it clear that he will always and forever rep the black and yellow.
“I’m a Pittsburgh person all the way. I love my hometown, you know, Steelers. I’m Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh,” he told TCA reporters recently. The singer/composer/actor/playwright was explaining his reason for bringing a production of Broadway’s Kinky Boots – which earned him a Tony Award in 2013 – to a theater in his hometown.
“If it wasn’t for my hometown, if it wasn’t for the people there who cared about me, who supported me, who trained me…I went to the Creative Performing Arts High School there. I went to Carnegie Mellon there. I was a Civic Light Opera minister,” he explained. “My whole creative life started there. And I just had a lot of people who can’t afford to come to New York and drop $600 on two tickets. They just can’t do that. And I really wanted to make sure that I made this moment accessible to all the people who I love back home. There are people in Pittsburgh who have never seen me do anything still, and this will be their opportunity. So that was why I wanted to go back.”
In Kinky Boots, adapted from the 2005 film starring Chewitel Ejiofor, Porter plays a drag queen that helps the owner of a struggling shoe factory turn his business around. Along the way, the unlikely pair finds more in common with each other than they ever could’ve imagined.
Porter, 45, in turn, found common ground with his character Lola. He explains below:
Tonight (Jan 28), Porter finds himself under the spotlight at New York’s Lincoln Center, belting music from his latest album “Billy’s Back on Broadway,” a collection of jazz-drenched Broadway standards. He’ll perform in the Appel Room as part of the venue’s acclaimed American Songbook series, now in its 16th season.
The concert is scheduled to air April 3 on PBS.