BILLY PORTER | Book
Billy Porter is an Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award-winning, and Golden Globe-nominated, actor, singer, director, composer, and playwright from Pittsburgh, PA.
His electric portrayal of ‘Pray Tell’ in the FX’s breakthrough series “Pose,” earned him the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, as well as Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award, and Television Critics Association nominations. He most recently earned a second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He was also the recipient of the Dorian Award for TV Performance of the Year from GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, as well as nominated for a Black Reel Award for Outstanding Actor.
Previously, Porter starred in the eighth season of Ryan Murphy’s acclaimed series “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” as ‘Behold Chablis’, HBO Max’s “That Damn Michael Che,” the second season of CBS All Access’ “The Twilight Zone,” and narrating HBO Max’s four-part docu-series “Equal”. Upcoming, Porter will be heard in Disney+'s animated series, “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” which will launch in 2022.
Porter was recently seen in the Paramount Players comedy Like a Boss, starring Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek. The film, directed by Miguel Arteta, released in January 2020, and follows two female friends who build a successful company, and find their relationship tested following a buyout offer.
On screen, Porter also recently appeared in Baz Luhrman’s “The Get Down,” starring Justice Smith, Shameik Moore and Herizen Guardiola. His other television credits include “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Big C,” "Law & Order,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story” and “Another World.” Next, he is in the highly anticipated “Cinderella” re-make, premiering on Amazon Prime this fall, and he is set to make his film directorial debut with the high school coming-of-age film “What If?”, written by Alvaro García Lecuona.
Under the direction of Barry Levinson, Porter starred in The Humbling, alongside Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig. His other film credits include Noel, The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy, Intern, Anastasia and Twisted.
A veteran of the theatre, Porter most previously reprised his role as ‘Lola’ in the smash hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, for which he won the 2013 Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album. Other Broadway acting credits include the Tony nominated Broadway musical, Shuffle Along, directed by George C. Wolfe. Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease, 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 Times, The Merchant of Venice, House 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 Superstar, Antigone, A Chorus Line and Chicago. His one-man show, Ghetto Superstar: The Man That I Am, debuted at The Public Theater 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.
As a recording artist, Porter recently released his single Finally Ready with The Shapeshifters in June 2020. He also released For What It’s Worth in April 2020 to motivate potential voters. In June 2019, he released his single Love Yourself, in support of Pride Month and the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall. His most recent album, The Soul of Richard Rodgers, was released in 2017 on Sony Masterworks. His solo albums include his first CD, Untitled, on A&M records and his sophomore album, At the Corner of Broadway + Soul - LIVE. Additionally, Billy’s Back on Broadway 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.
Additionally, Porter’s voice can 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 On, Alvin Ailey/Revelations, Broadway Cares Home For The Holidays, Dreamgirls in Concert, HAIR (Actor’s Fund Benefit recording), Great Joy: A Gospel Christmas (with The Broadway Inspirational Voices) and Love Rocks.
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’s work includes the The Purists, as well as revivals of George C. Wolf’s plays, The Colored Museum and Top Dog/Underdog at the prestigious Huntington Theater. In addition, Porter has also 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.
Furthermore, Porter conceived and directed Being Alive, which made 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.
His additional directing credits include Twilight In Manchego, Once On This Island (NAACP Theatre Award Winner), The Soul of Richard Rodgers, Five Guys Named Moe, Altar Boyz, RENT (Associate Director: Off-Broadway Revival) and Wicked Summer Nights Concert Series. 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.
Upcoming, Porter will release his first literary project, “Unprotected,” which will be published by Abrams Press on October 19, 2021. The memoir is described as ‘a powerful and revealing autobiography about race, sexuality, art, and healing.’
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. Additionally, Porter has received an honorary doctorate from Washington & Jefferson College.
Porter was recently inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame class of 2020. He will receive a star for the category of Live Theatre/Live Performance. In addition, in 2017, Porter was the recipient of the GLAAD Vito Russo Award, an award presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community.
KURT CARR | Music and Lyrics
Kurt Carr is becoming recognized as one of the most prolific Artists, songwriters, and producers of our generation…
A native of Hartford, Connecticut, The young Carr was raised in a loving Christian home however, unlike most traditional African American families they were not frequent Church Goers. He jokingly says “We were C.M.E. members Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter”!
At age 14 his family moved steps away from the Hopewell Baptist Church. One life changing Sunday Kurt walked to the church alone. Eventually, one by one his family became frequent church goers. He credits this to Gods Purpose, and calling on his life to draw others to God.
After Graduating High School with Honors, Carr went on to The University of Connecticut where he studied classical voice and piano. It is evident that his musical education is the catalyst behind his very eclectic musical range. He’s a musical chameleon that can seemingly do any style of music. Carr has performed his music in European cathedrals, in store front churches, and in some of the most prestigious venues in the world The White House, The Kennedy Center, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, The Hollywood Bowl, and Carnegie Hall.
Kurt Carr’s career changing moment came when the Rev. James Cleveland, renowned as the King of Gospel music, heard his amazing talent during the Gospel Music Workshop of America. Little did Carr know that Cleveland’s’ Music Director, Pastor Calvin Bernard Rhone had just given Cleveland his resignation because, he was going into full time pastoring. Kurt Carr was literally in the right place at the right time. Within 5 months he relocated to Los Angeles, California and became the new Musical Director, traveling the world with the Legendary Rev. James Cleveland until his untimely passing in 1991.
Carr’s next blessing was becoming Creative Music Director of music for the West Angeles Church of God in Christ where Bishop Charles E. Blake is Pastor. This Church is widely recognized for Bishop Blake’s unparalleled Integrity and Leadership. West Angeles is also considered the birthplace of the Praise and Worship sound in the Black church. With a string of successful CDs entitled Saints In Praise, West Angeles’ Music department changed the way African American musicians and singers approached Sunday Morning Music. Carr was blessed to be a part of that revolutionary music ministry.
During his time at West Angeles Kurt directed the 300 voice Choir Sunday after Sunday. He also worked alongside some of the West Angeles Church members who just so happen to be some of the Worlds most respected Artists…..Gladys Knight who calls Carr her little brother, Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, Stephanie Mills, Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Lynn Whitfield and many more…Carr along with these legends produced some spectacular concerts at the church that helped raise funds to build the monumental West Angeles Cathedral. During his season at West Angeles Kurt worked also with Paul Skorich a gifted commercial writer, together they went on to do music for more than 50 commercials and major television advertisements.
With over 20 years of experience in the Gospel Music World Kurt Carr has delivered some of the most greatly recognized songs in recent history. His songs are sang in Christian churches world wide by every race, color, and creed. Including The Presence of the Lord Is Here, I Almost Let Go, I Never Lost My Praise, God Great God, Be Blessed, For Every Mountain which won a Grammy when recorded by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and We Lift Our Hands In The Sanctuary which was the breakout SMASH hit from the RIAA Certified GOLD CD Awesome Wonder, which to date has sold close to a million units.
In addition to being a prolific songwriter, a singer and musician, Carr is also a Sought after Producer and has created Major hits for other artists that have received critical acclaim. Shortly after hurricane Katrina, Carr teamed up with Bishop Paul Morton the Pastor of New Orleans’s most notable Mega ministry Greater St. Stephen. Carr wrote and produced the CD - I’m Still Standing, which included two #1 Hits I’m Still Standing and Be Blessed that EVERY church in America sang as a sign of unity and solidarity during one of the greatest natural disasters in American History!!
Carr also produced the Breakout CD for Minister Byron Cage and wrote the worldwide Hit The Presence of the Lord Is Here, which to date is considered a Praise and Worship Classic.
The next Big Production spearheaded by Carr was I Never Lost My Praise.
After a 10-year hiatus this was the Come Back CD of the Legendary Tramaine Hawkins. Kurt says this was possibly the most important thing that he had ever done because, The Hawkins Family’s CD Jesus Christ Is The Way was the First gospel record he had ever heard. His mother purchased it for him when she saw his interest in church at age 14… Carr says the Jesus Christ Is The Way record transformed his life…... So 30 years later to be asked to produce his musical hero Tramaine was an unbelievable full circle blessing. The CD collaboration between Carr and Hawkins is best known for The Title song, I Never Lost My Praise, a Tailor Made Kurt Carr original for the Diva Soprano. This body of work was possibly her most beloved project since her legendary classics such as Changed, Goin Up Yonder and He’s That Kind of Friend. The Song stayed #1 for many weeks.
Kurt Carr has also teamed up with another Iconic Gospel Artist…The Legendary Pastor Shirley Caesar….Carr produced the CD entitled Good God for the 15 time Grammy award winner. What an incredible opportunity to work with such an amazing gift such as the timelessly relevant Pastor Shirley Caesar! Truly a living legend.
Carr has garnered 10 Stellar Awards, 1 GMA Dove Award, he has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, he has 2 Grammy Nominations, Special Honors Award given by his Fraternity Phi Beta Sigma Inc. Kurt was recently given the Extremely prestigious BMI Trail Blazer Award alongside his heroes Edwin and Tramaine Hawkins. He has also received top Honor at The 28th Annual Stellar Awards by receiving The James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award. He also has received 2 honorary doctorate degrees.
His most recent release Bless Somebody Else is a 16-track compilation of what is being called some of his greatest work. It features the amazing Kurt Carr Singers. Bless Somebody Else, the title track features an amazing cast of gospel and mainstream Alisters - Wes Morgan, Faith Evans, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams, Pastor Smokie Norful, Erica Campbell, Pastor John P Kee, Jekaylan Carr, Bishop Paul Morton, Keke Wyatt, Zacardi Cortez and Bishop TD Jakes.
In addition to his own release, Kurt Carr recently penned and produced the hit song Good Favor for the legendary Clark Sisters.
Carr believes his assignment in this season if his life is to be a blessing to others and to cause the people of the world to be more compassionate towards each other. This is what the Gospel is all about LOVE. If I can help somebody then my living shall not be in vain.