Billy Porter accepts his award for best actor in a musical at the 67th Annual Tony Awards, on Sunday, June 9, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) — Pittsburgh native Billy Porter, who plays a fierce drag queen in “Kinky Boots,” has strutted off with the Tony Award for best actor in a musical.
Porter, the 1992 winner of “Star Search,” has amassed several Broadway credits, including “Miss Saigon,” ”Grease” and “Smokey Joe’s Cafe.” This was his first nomination.
“Kinky Boots” is based on a real-life shoe factory that struggles until it finds new life in drag footwear. It has songs by Cyndi Lauper and a story by Harvey Fierstein, but Porter’s role as a man tormented by disappointing his father is the show’s soul.
Porter beat out Bertie Carvel from “Matilda the Musical,” Santino Fontana of “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” Rob McClure from “Chaplin,” and his “Kinky Boots” co-star Stark Sands.
The feel-good musical won six 2013 Tony Awards on Sunday, including best musical, best score and best leading man.
Porter beat “Kinky Boots” co-star Stark Sands and told him from the stage: “You are my rock, my sword, my shield. Your grace gives me presence. I share this award with you. I’m gonna keep it at my house! But I share it with you.”