Tony and Grammy Award winner Billy Porter will perform an evening of Broadway songs and stories on April 22.
In his show, Broadway and Soul, at Kean Stage’s intimate Enlow Recital Hall, Porter will sing some of the most iconic songs ever performed on the Great White Way, including I Have Dreamed, Lady is a Tramp and Edelweiss.
“It will be my twist on traditional songs, honoring what came before us and creating a new way of hearing them,” said Porter.
In addition to his performance, Porter will be teaching a master class with students from Kean University’s Theatre Conservatory. It is his way of paying it forward to the next generation of stage performers.
“Richard Rodgers was the hit maker of his day,” Porter said. “Back then, theater music was the popular music that was played on the radio. When rock and roll, R&B and pop music entered the picture, they took that distinction away from the theater artists.”
The Pittsburgh native and Carnegie Mellon graduate grew up singing in church and knew he was destined for a career in the arts, ever since he performed in his first middle school musical.
“It’s what I was chosen to do,” he said. “I had a passion for it, enough to keep me buoyant and forward moving.”
Porter first appeared on Broadway in Miss Saigon and subsequently had parts in Five Guys Named Moe, Grease and Smokey Joe’s Café. He is perhaps best known as the original Lola in Kinky Boots, a groundbreaking role that garnered him the 2013 Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for lead actor in a musical.
“Kinky Boots really put me in the public eye in a way that I hadn’t been for the first 25 years of my career,” said Porter. “It opened up a lot of doors and allowed me to move on to the next level of my career.”
Most recently, Porter appeared on Broadway alongside Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Joshua Henry and Brandon Victor Dixon in Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. He is currently directing a production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning show, Topdog/Underdog, at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company.
Billy Porter: Broadway and Soul will be performed at Kean's Enlow Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 22. Tickets are $45-65. Tickets can be purchased at the Kean Stage Box Office in Wilkins Theatre, by phone at 908-737-SHOW (7469) or online at www.keanstage.com.