Meet Richie Cunningham, Herb Porter.
Meet Herb Porter, the guy behind our production of Happy Days' Richie Cunningham.
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio with my mom, dad, sister and brother. I played sports most my life (football, wrestling, track and field) with the occasional spring musical thrown in here or there. I come from a family of businessmen, lawyers and number crunchers. So deciding to take a career in the arts was definitely off the beaten trail. Though I didn't follow in the family footsteps, my family has been behind me every step of the way.
I attended Denison Univ. in Ohio where I studied Biology. During my time at DU, I was fortunate to participate in what was essentially an extra-curricular musical theatre class. We'd rehearse twice a week all semester and then perform a show. I had zero plans on becoming an actor, I performed for fun. It wasn't until I booked my first role outside of college, playing Jean Valjean, that I looked at acting as a potential path. So after numerous talks with friends and family I decided to put medical school on hold and try acting for a bit. Jumping into this world blindly was a very scary thought. DU was small and there were no theatre alumni or possible connections. I had to learn everything on my own and I mean everything, I didn't even know what equity was until my first equity gig. I was fortunate though to find mentors along the way who would help guide me in the right direction. My two first equity directors, Marc Robin and Ed Flesch, helped mold me into a better and more professional actor. While my vocal coach, Dr. Bryan Wade, has been an unbelievable resource and friend. Bryan answers all my questions about the business, how to audition properly, and how to be a successful actor.
I honestly had no idea there was a Happy Days musical until the WBT casting notice. I sat there and though to myself, "hey, that would be a good show for me...I look kind of like Richie...just bigger." So when I got the call to play this iconic role I knew it was something I couldn't pass up. Having grown up watching all the classic shows like Happy Days, Gilligan's Island, etc I was overwhelmed that I would get the chance to play typical high schooler Richie Cunningham. Richie is know around the world. He is a T.V icon who will influence viewers for years to come. His actor, Ron Howard, has continued to make unbelievable films and documentaries as a director. There's a lot of pressure to not only honor the character and to capture the essence Richie, but to also give Ron Howard the respect he deserves for creating this role.
My favorite show, hands-down, is Les Miserables...I know, opposite side of the spectrum from Happy Days. I've done Les Mis 5 times, 2 times as ensemble and 3 times as Valjean. The show is filled with hope and love and holds a deep place in my entire families hearts. My dream role would be to play Elder Price, Book of Mormon...as soon as I learn how to tap.
When I'm not on stage you can usually find me in the kitchen baking. I work at Schmackary's bakery, baking and selling cookies all day. I love baking because of how precise it is, it's a science.I always had a big hole in my heart for confections and candies, don't let me in a candy store or it will be be bad. To offset all that baking though when I'm not in the kitchen I'm at the gym or doing some form of exercise. Getting the endorphins going and working up a nice sweat makes me feel alive. Any other spare time is spent practicing music or playing video games.
My current favorite artist is Imagine Dragons, they fill my iphone