Tony-winner Billy Porter launches Broadway tribute album

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Billy Porter became a Broadway star when he took the stage in "Kinky Boots," and now, the performer is taking on a new challenge.

Porter mentored Leslie Odom, Jr., who found fame in "Hamilton," and the Tony-winner is just one of many famous friends repaying the favor. Odom is featured on a new album of tunes composed by by Richard Rodgers that have stood the test of time.

"Anything that is classic can be reinterpreted and moved forward into a new generation," Porter said. "And that is what we are trying to do with this music."

You can call Porter a pioneer on Broadway who paved the way for others through sheer perseverance.

"As a black, gay, Christian man who was told I'd never be blessed because of who I am," he said.

His big blessing came more than 20 years after his Broadway debut, when Porter won his own Tony as Lola in "Kinky Boots."

"Shoe business" turned out to be great show business, and that left the singer and actor feeling vindicated/

"The choices that I made were right," he said. "Continue to be out and loud and proud and honest and real and true. That's all we got, even when it makes other people uncomfortable."

Porter, who married his partner this year, has also played a role in bringing more diversity to Broadway.

"With every success, it cracks wider open," he said. "And I guess it just takes people, you know, like me. Like us, the whole gang, to keep demanding to be heard."

"Billy Porter Presents The Soul of Richard Rodgers" is available now.