Carnegie Mellon University
June 04, 2019

Billy Porter To Recognize Theatre Education Award Winner

Carnegie Mellon Alumni To Present and Receive Honors at the Tony Awards

By Julie Mattera

Pam Wigley
  • College of Fine Arts
  • 412-268-1047
Julie Mattera
  • Marketing and Communications
  • 412-268-2902

Tony and Grammy award-winner Billy Porter will take the stage at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards to honor an educator who has amplified her students' voices through theater.

He is one of several Carnegie Mellon University alumni who will be presenting awards and receiving honors for their work.

Porter, a Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama alumnus and star of FX's "Pose," will introduce the 2019 Excellence in Theatre Education Award winner Madeline Michel, a theater teacher from Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the telecast. The live CBS broadcast, which honors the best on Broadway, will air at 8 p.m. ET June 9 from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

The Excellence in Theatre Education Award was co-founded in 2014 by the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon to recognize top K-12 drama teachers and to celebrate arts education. Michel is the fifth recipient of the annual award.

Michel’s student-written and performed plays have won numerous regional awards, including this year's grand prize at the Virginia Theatre Conference. Among her many accomplishments, it was Michel's creation of an inclusive drama program, inviting students from all walks of life to express themselves freely onstage, that resonated so strongly with this year’s panel of Excellence in Theatre Education Award judges.

Porter is well-versed in using the stage and, more recently, the red carpet to make a statement. He has been hailed as a fashion icon for his gender-fluid looks at this year's Met Gala, Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Peabody Awards.

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“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.” - Oscar Wilde 📸: @vnina for the @nytimes . . Creative Director & Stylist for all @sammyratelle for @rrrcreative Agency Styling Assistant: @ashleymarienyc Production Assistant: @estershamailova Custom Look: @theblondsny Custom Shoes: @giuseppezanotti Fine Jewelry: @oscarheyman @andreolifinejewelry @johnhardyjewelry @mordekaiofficial Billy Porter's Make-Up: @lasonyagunter Make-Up Assistant: @mikeyclifton Make-Up provided by: @patmcgrathreal Egyptian Litter & Carrier Designs by: @nicolasputvinski Carriers Make-Up: @facebygoran & @ashleyvictoriamua Mr. Porter's Carriers: @julius_anthony @taureanje @kellenstancil @thejoshdrake @lap_nyc @doniejunior

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An accomplished singer, actor and playwright, Porter has performed in film, television and on Broadway. He also has served as an adjunct professor in CMU's School of Drama. In "Pose," Porter plays emcee Pray Tell, whose razor-sharp commentary moderates the flow of those vogueing in New York's 1980s house ball scene.

Porter won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in the Broadway smash "Kinky Boots." The show also received a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack from a Musical. In "Boots," Lola helps a down-on-its-luck shoe factory gain a market edge with high-heeled boots for men performing in drag. It's a dynamic story of acceptance and being true to one's self. Carnegie Mellon awarded Porter an alumni achievement award in 2017.

Other CMU alumni presenting during the Tony Awards include two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster, who is set to star in the Broadway revival of "The Music Man," Josh Groban, who earned a Tony nomination in 2017 for Best Performance by an Actor in a leading role for his portrayal of Pierre in "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812," and John Clay III, who will present the Excellence in Theater Education Award to Michel prior to the televised segment of the show.

Judith Light, CMU alumna and two-time Tony Award winner, will receive this year’s Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for her advocacy to end HIV/AIDS and her support for the LGBTQ+ community. CMU alumnus Michael McElroy will be awarded a Tony Honor for Excellence for founding Broadway Inspirational Voices, a professional choir of Broadway artists united to change lives through music and service.

Five other CMU alumni are nominated for Tony Awards recognizing their work behind the scenes.

Carnegie Mellon alumni have won 49 Tony Awards. CMU's School of Drama, the oldest degree-granting drama program in the United States, consistently ranks as one of the world's best drama schools and is recognized as an international leader in arts and technology. Year after year, the School of Drama produces graduates who go on to do award-winning work, both on stage and behind the scenes.

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