Billy Porter wears a lot of hats. He came into the public eye when he played Teen Angel in 1994's revival of Grease! on Broadway, and he's been a mainstay in musicals on Broadway ever since, leading up to his Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots, which featured music and lyrics from Cyndi Lauper, in 2013. Porter's successful Broadway presence is what he's known for, but he's also a songwriter, composer, playwright, director, and vocal coach, and he's had dramatic roles in several films and television shows as well. He's studied theater, and even has degrees in most of these things. In a way, Porter is a throwback to entertainers like Sammy Davis, Jr., performers who worked along a multitude of platforms, from stage to screen to television to nightclub circuits and back again, always working, always on or near some stage. Porter's third album, Billy's Back on Broadway, his first album in almost a decade (the title itself pays homage to Davis' 1965 album Sammy's Back on Broadway), makes perfect sense, putting his emotive and stage-inspired theatrical mainstream pop singing style (if mainstream pop were still what it was 60 years ago) to work on ten classic Broadway show tunes. Lushly produced by Rob Mounsey, we find Porter completely in his element, bringing his broadly gestured dramatic vocals to songs like the opener "But the World Goes 'Round," the hushed and orchestrated "On the Street Where You Live," and the medley of "Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy," which he sings with Cyndi Lauper, in itself an homage to Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland. It all feels and sounds like a well-executed nightclub Broadway song revue, which no doubt is exactly what Porter intended with this release.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett