Pittsburgh has a new champion and his name is Billy Porter.
On Sunday night, Mr. Porter, who has laid claim to both Homewood and East Liberty, took home the Tony Award for best actor in a Broadway musical.
Mr. Porter, a graduate of the Pittsburgh School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Carnegie Mellon University's drama program, won theater's honor for his role as Lola, the drag performer in "Kinky Boots." The musical is about a family-owned shoe manufacturer that is in danger of closing until it begins producing thigh-high boots for drag performers. One critic described Mr. Porter's transvestite character as "equal parts Tina Turner and Whitney Houston."
During an emotional acceptance speech in which he read from 3-by-5 cards with his prepared remarks, Mr. Porter thanked his sister, MaryMartha Ford, and his mother, Cloerinda Ford. He thanked his family and friends for their unconditional love and support over the years.
A self-described "gay, black Christian," Mr. Porter singled out his very religious mother for her "willingness to embrace" even what she didn't fully understand. He called her faith a "template the world could benefit from."
Mr. Porter has long been a staple of Pittsburgh's theater scene. Now that he's conquering Broadway and the rest of the world, we take understandable pride in his accomplishments. Congratulations, Billy Porter, for being Broadway's best.