In the final of three concerts, Matthew Lombardo and Rick Murray’s (owner of Crown & Anchor in Provincetown) South Beach Broadway Series 2015 brings Tony and Drama Desk Award winner Billy Porter to the intimate Colony Theatre right here in Miami Beach on Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21. It was a pleasure to sit down with out and proud actor, singer, director, writer and the all-around talented Billy Porter for this exclusive Hotspots interview.
At what age did singing and acting become interests of yours and when did you know singing and acting were going to officially be your career?
I sang in church first and then when I went to middle school there was an after school program and I joined because I was interested in music and that’s where I was introduced to Theater. That same year I saw Jennifer Holliday from Dream Girls on the Tony’s, and it was a done deal from that moment on. I was 11, but I knew that’s what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
Who were/are your inspirations in the singing/acting/Broadway industry?
Michael Bennett, George C Wolfe, Bob Fosse, Stephen Sondheim…Basically the creators.
How did you go about getting the lead (Lola) in Kinky Boots come about?
The regular old way, I went to the audition. There is no real story to it. There were many call backs, but in the end I was lucky enough to be chosen.
How was it working with the iconic Cindy Lauper?
She is a genius and it was lovely to be in the presence of someone who also understands the idea of individuality. She is one of the godmothers of that! It was inspiring and encouraging!
You have been in so many other shows. Other than Kinky Boots, what was your favorite and why?
Angels in America, as it’s my favorite play and it meant a lot to me due to the subject matter and that I had lived through that era. This show changed my life, so being in the 20 year anniversary revival was life altering!
Can you describe to me what it felt like when they called your name as the winner of Best Actor in a musical at the 2013 Tony Awards?
Nope, as there are no feelings in your body, you go numb. You hear your name and the next thing you know they are whisking you back stage.
In the last few years, you have ventured into the world of Directing. Tell me how that came about and what it’s like in comparison to acting?
I didn’t know I was a writer or director until I stopped getting work. It challenged me to find another way to be creative, so I started directing and acting. I always had an interest, but I thought it would happen much latter in my career. However, I am grateful it entered earlier as I have a different kind of voice at the helm of a project.
You recently sang some of your songs from “Billy’s Back on Broadway” as part of Lincoln Centers American Songbook Series. I know that will air in April, but can tell us about that experience?
I grew up watching PBS as it was my only connection to the Broadway world. So to have my very own special was a gift and a blessing. I am getting to live all my dreams!
Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you.
That I am an introvert. I am a situational extrovert, and I am good at it, but my nature is introverted.
Describe yourself in three words.
Loyal, Loving, and Brave.
Are you excited to be a part of the South Beach Broadway Series on March 20 and 21? What should people in South Florida expect from your performance?
Yes, of course I am really excited to be able to revisit South Florida. I’m excited to share the music, as I chose music that is about empowerment and hope.
What does the future hold for Billy Porter?
I don’t know what the future holds, but I try and live in the moment. It’s the only way I can be in this business and try and have some sanity. I hope I can get to do all the things I want to do, live all my dreams, and continue to be a creative force until I leave this earth.
Don’t forget, you can catch Billy Porter as part of the South Beach Broadway Series on March 20 and 21 at the Colony Theatre on Miami Beach. You can purchase tickets in person at their box office (1040 Lincoln Road); by phone at (305) 434-7091 or online. Use
For more on Billy Porter, go to BillyPorter.com.