Billy Porter's 'Black Mona Lisa Tour' comes to Chicago Friday

ByHosea Sanders and Marsha Jordan WLS logo
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Billy Porter's one man show comes to Chicago
Billy Porter, the award winning performer who's broken down barriers in entertainment, brings his "Black Mona Lisa Tour" to the Chicago Theatre Friday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Billy Porter, the award winning performing who's broken down barriers in the entertainment world, is bringing his one man show to Chicago Friday.

Porter's career is on the fast track. He's got a new hit single, "Fashion," and he will be playing legendary author James Baldwin in an upcoming biopic. But Friday night he'll be at the Chicago Theater.

"Love. I'm bringing a show about love and joy and hope and peace and healing," he said.

The "Black Mona Lisa Tour" is a Chicago homecoming of sorts for him. Porter's big break came after taking "Kinky Boots" from Chicago to Broadway, where he won a Tony Award.

"We worked on the show for five weeks there in the fall of 2012," Porter recalled. "I got some of the best reviews of my life there. Chicago likes me!"

Porter has become a cultural icon since his "Kinky Boots" days, but there was a time when his authenticity was an obstacle.

"You know, I was told early on that queerness would be a liability, and it was for decades," he said. "It hit like a ton of bricks. It's your queerness, it's that thing everybody's telling you is a liability, find a space to lean into that anyway and don't worry about it."

That lack of worry and joy is what animates his newest show.

"It's a festival of all things Billy Porter! We're going to have a good time!" he said.