By Matthew Blank
11 Nov 2013
Held at the Hudson Theater and hosted by Susan Blackwell ([title of show], Volleygirls), the Gala also celebrated NYMF's 10 years of creating and nurturing new musical theatre.
"Billy Porter is one of the rare individuals whose talent truly excels in any medium," Dan Markley, executive director and producer of The New York Musical Theatre Festival, said in a statement. "Billy's work as a director was a highlight of our 2008 Festival, and on our 10th Anniversary, we are thrilled to honor this multi-talented artist for his many contributions to the theatre."
Porter is currently starring on Broadway in the Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots. His stage credits also include Miss Saigon, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Grease, Angels In America and Songs For A New World. His film and TV work includes "The Broken Hearts Club," "Shake Rattle & Roll," "Noel," "Law & Order" and "The Big C."
Porter was honored via performances by both his friends and NYMF alumni, including Lillias White (Fela!, The Life, Dreamgirls), Christian Borle ("Smash," Peter and the Starcatcher), Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Leap of Faith), Telly Leung (Rent, "Glee"), Heidi Blickenstaff ([title of show]), Jeremy Shamos (Glengarry Glen Ross), Christopher Fitzgerald (Chicago, Finian's Rainbow), Hunter Bell ([title of show]), Larry Pressgrove ([title of show]), Jeremy Kushnier (Jersey Boys), Tyler Maynard (Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia), Steve Rosen (Spamalot) and David Rossmer (Peter and the Starcatcher). The evening also features performances from NYMF shows of the past decade.
Past NYMF honorees have included Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara, Tony winner Chita Rivera, NBC "Smash" creators Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, Grammy Award-winning Sh-K-Boom Records, NYC television news program NY1 On Stage, Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler, Kevin McCollum and Robyn Goodman.