For many actors, 50 is somewhere near the end zone. It’s time to play dads and angry desk sergeants.
And for Billy Porter? “I’m having a fabulous time,” he said.
He already has a Tony and a Grammy; he could add an Emmy on Sept. 22 … the day after he turns 50.
That’s in “Pose,” which has given him fresh opportunities. On the season finale (Tuesday), he said, he’ll get a new love interest; two weeks earlier, he had his first nude scene.
“That contract said, ‘nudity clause,’” Porter recalled. “And I literally went, ‘Child, they don’t want to see my black (butt),’ and I signed it.”
They did want to see it … and to add romance, something that used to be rare for gay characters.
“When they started telling stories of love, they were always white boys …. I had my first romantic kiss last season,” Porter said. Now “having a very loving, connected sex scene is sort of blowing my mind.”
He grew up in Pittsburgh, went to a performing-arts high school and has had Broadway roles for more than 25 years. They were small – replacement, understudy, Teen Angel in “Grease” – before “Kinky Boots” brought the Tony, Grammy and fame.
Still, theater’s impact is limited. “Television has an expansive reach,” Porter said.
Especially “Pose,” set in the ’90s, with epic contrasts. There’s the agony of AIDS and the joy of spectacular ballroom competitions.
“Our biggest chllenge this season was to go bigger,” said producer Janet Mock, “especially in the ballrooms …. We have a character coming out of a clamshell.”
There have also been epic character moments in this second season. But it’s the first season that’s up for awards now; it could bring Emmys for best-drama and for a 50-year-old Billy Porter.
— “Pose” season-finale, 10 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 20), FX
— Reruns at 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m.; also at 11 p.m. Saturday