Billy Porter Leaves the Land of Lola After 1,000 Performances in Broadway's Kinky Boots

News   Billy Porter Leaves the Land of Lola After 1,000 Performances in Broadway's Kinky Boots
 
Billy Porter, who earned the Tony Award for his portrayal of unstoppable drag performer Lola in the Tony-winning hit musical Kinky Boots, ends his acclaimed run in the Broadway production Nov. 20 after more than 1,000 performances in the role.

Billy Porter
Billy Porter Photo by Matthew Murphy

"She lives out loud, without apology," Porter told Playbill.com when he created the role. "I strive to be that courageous in my own life, and I succeed half the time, maybe. She's helping me get that percentage a little higher. I think she's very brave."

Billy Porter Kicks Up His Kinky Boots, Wearing the Role of a Lifetime

The show-stopping role made a bonafide star out of the actor, who previously appeared on Broadway in Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Grease! and Smokey Joe's Café. Porter also recorded the single "Love Is On The Way" from the 1996 film "First Wives Club."

Porter is exiting Kinky Boots to star in the anticipated Broadway musical Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. Previews begin March 14, 2016, at the Music Box Theatre.

Stepping into Lola's signature red boots is Emmy Award winner Wayne Brady, who begins performances Nov. 21.

"If I could look back at my younger self, I would tell him that while the journey that you will have to take is going to be bumpy at times, just know that when you get to the other side, it's glorious," Porter previously said. "Because when you can truly live in the fullness and the truth of who you are, there's no better life. And sometimes that's hard to feel. I always say, 'It's easy to be who you are when who you are is what's popular.' I wasn't popular for a really long time. Being black and gay and Christian is not a popular thing. It's becoming more popular I suppose... With as difficult and challenging as the journey has been, I wouldn't change it for the world."

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Based on the 2005 film of the same title, the Northampton, U.K.-set musical has a new book by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles, Newsies) and a score by Grammy and Tony Award-winning "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" hit-maker and "True Colors" songwriter Cyndi Lauper.

Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (2004's La Cage aux Folles, Legally Blonde, Catch Me If You Can), who created the high-energy dances that sent audiences and cast members into a frenzy during Hairspray, directed and choreographed Kinky Boots, which is bedazzled with a series of show-stopping numbers by Porter and a bevy of drag performers.

Kinky Boots premiered on Broadway March 3, 2013, following an out-of-town engagement at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago. It opened to acclaim April 4 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

In addition to taking Best Musical and Tony wins for Lauper (Best Score), Mitchell (Best Choreography) and Porter (Best Actor), Kinky Boots also saw awards go to Stephen Oremus (Orchestrations) and John Shivers (Sound Design). 

Designing the production are Tony nominee David Rockwell (scenic design), Tony Award winner Gregg Barnes (costume design), Tony Award winner Kenneth Posner (lighting design), John Shivers (sound design), Josh Marquette (hair design) and Randy Houston Mercer (make-up design). Casting is by Telsey + Company, Justin Huff, CSA.

Kinky Boots is produced on Broadway by  Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig, James L. Nederlander, Terry Allen Kramer, Independent Presenters Network, CJ E&M, Jayne Baron Sherman, Just for Laughs Theatricals/Judith Ann Abrams, Yasuhiro Kawana, Jane Bergère, Allan S. Gordon & Adam S. Gordon, Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold, Lucy and Phil Suarez, Bryan Bantry, Ron Fierstein and Dorsey Regal, Jim Kierstead/Gregory Rae, BB Group/Christina Papagjika, Michael DeSantis/Patrick Baugh, Brian Smith/Tom and Connie Walsh, Warren Trepp, and Jujamcyn Theaters.

For tickets visit Telecharge.com. The Al Hirschfeld Theatre is located at 302 West 45th Street.

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