CHICAGO (WLS) — Billy Porter, the award-winning act who broke barriers in the entertainment world, brings his one-man show to Chicago on Friday.
Porter’s career is on the fast track. He has a new hit, “Fashion,” and he will play legendary author James Baldwin in an upcoming biopic. But on Friday night he will be at the Chicago Theatre.
“Love. I bring a show about love and joy and hope and peace and healing,” he said.
The “Black Mona Lisa Tour” is a Chicago comeback of sorts for him. Porter’s big break came after taking “Kinky Boots” from Chicago to Broadway, where he won a Tony Award.
“We worked on the show for five weeks there in the fall of 2012,” Porter recalled. “I got some of the best reviews of my life there. Chicago likes me!”
Porter has become a cultural icon since his “Kinky Boots” days, but there was a time when his authenticity was a hindrance.
“You know, I was told early on that being weird would be a liability, and it was for decades,” he said. “It hit like a ton of bricks. It’s your quirkiness, it’s what everyone tells you, it’s responsibility, anyway find space to lean it and don’t worry about it.”
That lack of care and joy is what animates his latest show.
“It’s a festival of all things Billy Porter! We’re going to have fun!” he said.