Billy Porter's first Broadway gig was with Miss Saigon in 1991, but the actor returned to his musical theater roots this past season, winning a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in Broadway's Kinky Boots, playing Lola, a man in drag. It’s a glamorous, yet gritty tale that challenges ideas of what it means to “be a real man,” all set to the music of Cyndi Lauper.
The New York Daily News described Porter’s portrayal of Lola as “a force of nature.” His staring role earned him the 2013 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical as well. It was his first time on Broadway in 13 years and, during a 2012 interview with Broadway.com, Porter revealed that “playing this part has made the last 25 years of my life make sense.”
The influential performer has a history of parlaying his work into work for the LGBTQ community. In 2005, he covered “Only One Road,” which was included on the Human Rights Campaign compilation album, Love Rocks. He's also featured singing his cover of, “That’s What Friends Are For,” in support of the Ali Forney Center, the New York City homeless shelter for LGBT youth. This year, in addition to his role in the wildly successful Kinky Boots, Porter performed at TrevorLIVE, the semi-annual awards event of The Trevor Project.