Billy Porter on How ‘Dreamgirls’ Changed His Life
Music December 06, 2022
Billy Porter is talking about his love for “Dreamgirls.”
On Tuesday’s episode of “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” Jenniferinterviewed the “Pose” alum, who said the iconic musical “changed” his life.
Billy explained that during the summer of sixth grade, he “randomly” watched the Tony Awards while doing chores and saw a performance from “Dreamgirls.”
“It was the fight scene, and it was Jennifer [Holliday] singing, ‘And I Am Telling You,’’’ he said.
Billy said the moment inspired him, as he “didn’t think [singing and dancing] was a thing I could do.”
“I made the connection that I couldn’t before,” he added.
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Billy also said he loved the musical because it featured “Black people in gorgeous outfits,” and overall “Black excellence.”
In 2006, Jennifer portrayed Effie, the same character as Jennifer Holliday, in the film adaptation and earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
“It changed everything for you as well,” Billy told Jennifer.
Check out more highlights from Billy’s interview, below.
Billy on His and Jennifer’s Recent Tony Win
During the interview, Jennifer mentioned how she and Billy recently won a Tony for producing “A Strange Loop,” a musical created by Michael R. Jackson about a Black queer man writing a musical.
“We are producers. It won Best Musical,” Billy said.
When Billy mentioned how the Tony completed Jennifer’s EGOT, Jennifer told him, “You right behind me.”
In addition to having two Tonys, Billy was awarded a Best Musical Theatre Album Grammy and an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy — meaning he only needs an Oscar to complete an EGOT.
Billy on Posing for His Wax Figure
Like Jennifer, Billy worked with wax museum Madame Tussauds to create his own wax figure.
“We’re gonna be in the same place,” Billy said, noting that both their figures are in the New York location.
When Jennifer asked him about the process, Billy said he had to strike a pose for eight hours as the company took a 360-scan of his body.
“You have to hold the pose so they can do all the mechanics,” he said.
Billy said some celebrities have trouble with the process, as some sweat, some pass out, or some are simply too impatient.
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Billy on the One Thing He Can’t Do
During the chat, Billy talked about his “new music,” which he described as “my return to the mainstream pop, R&B, soul world.”
“I’m proud of it. It’s my musical opus,” he said. “I wrote all of the music, saying all the things I want to say.”
Though he said, “Singing is the original space for me,” Billy said his life has “had all of these expansions,” referencing his acting career.
When Jennifer asked the multi-hyphenate about something he doesn’t do, he responded, “I don’t play.”
“Oh my God, it’s my biggest regret as a child,” he added.
Billy on Opening for Aretha Franklin
Billy told Jennifer that he was once the opening act for Aretha Franklin, who Jennifer portrayed in the 2021 biopic “Respect.”
He said in 1997, Aretha “played a week or two” at the House of Blues in Chicago, Jennifer’s hometown.
Around the same time, Billy released his self-titled album and “opened for her for about a week or two.”
“Oh my God,” Jennifer said in response.
“The Jennifer Hudson Show” airs weekdays. Check your local listings.