Monday, October 22, 2012

Dark Monday with Billy Porter

Billy Porter At The Corner of Broadway and Soul

Now I have to admit something right off the start here. I have a big crush on Billy Porter, and when he sings, it gets even worse. Many will remember him as the singer for "Love Is On The Way", the theme to 'The First Wives Club', starring Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton, and Bette Midler. But he is also a star in the theater, having been featured in some of the great musicals of our time. He's been featured in show such as 'Grease!', 'Ghetto Superstar (That Man That I Am)', 'Topdog/Underdog', 'Jesus Christ Superstar', 'Dreamgirls' and 'Angels In America'. He is currently working on the production of 'Kinky Boots', the musical with music and lyrics by the fabulous Cyndi Lauper and a book by the great Harvey Fierstein, due on Broadway in 2013. He will, of course, be playing the role of Lola, the drag queen who saves the day for a shoe factory that has lost it's way. While I do regret never having the chance to see him perform live so far, it hasn't stopped me from adding the music he has released so far to my collection.

Billy Porter

Sadly, his performance of the great song written by John Kander and Fred Ebb for Liza Minnelli, "And The World Goes 'Round", has yet to be recorded, but thankfully, it was caught on video from a performance at Joe's Pub in New York City. The song was written for the Soundtrack to the 1977 film musical, 'New York New York', starring Minnelli and Robert De Niro, and directed by Martin Scorsese. The movie centered on the troubled relationship of Big Band singer Francine Evans and musician Jimmy Doyle as they explored love and lost their way. One of Francine's hit songs was "And The World Goes 'Round". Here is Billy Porter giving his own take on the song.

When I listen to his brilliant 'At The Corner of Broadway and Soul', an amazing live recording that soars, I swear I hear the angels singing background for him. He sings many of the great songs by some of the great composers of musical theater, including one of my favorites. He does and incredible version of "Sunday" from the musical 'Sunday In The Park With George' by the great Stephen Sondheim. While the following clip is not from the performance captured on the live album, it is a performances with the Broadway Dreams Foundation, performing arts training program. With a faculty made up of talented Broadway stars, casting directors, choreographers and agents dedicated to giving back to the theatrical community, to provide invaluable training to anyone who aspires to a career in musical theater.

The work he did with those kids was amazing, wasn't it? Billy's brilliant album 'At The Corner of Broadway and Soul' can be purchased and downloaded from iTunes and Amazon, and can order the physical CD from CD Universe. For more about Billy Porter, 'like' his page on Facebook.

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