Grandfather to all the legendary children who compete in the house balls, "Pray Tell," played by Billy Porter, serves as a source of support to Blanca and her house. Pray Tell joins an activist organization and begins protesting the lack of resources available to HIV positive individuals.
Porter is a 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 Pose earned him a Golden Globe nomination and a Critics’ Choice Award nomination. He also recently starred in the eighth season of Ryan Murphy’s acclaimed American Horror Story: Apocalypse as “Behold Chablis.”
On screen, Porter was recently seen 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.
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 theater, Porter recently reprised his role as “Lola” in the smash hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots, for which he won the 2013 Drama Desk and Tony Awards for Best Actor in a Musical. 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’s newest album, The Soul of Richard Rodgers, was released 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 revivals of George C. Wolfe’s plays, The Colored Museum and Top Dog/Underdog at the prestigious Huntington Theater. Porter also has 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. Additionally, 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.
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.