Herb Porter ‘09 had every intention of going to med school after graduating from Denison with a biology degree and doing research at The James. Things took a much different turn, however, while he was awaiting his MCAT scores and had the opportunity to perform at the Weathervane Playhouse Theatre in Newark Ohio.
It was there that he connected with an independent producer with ties to New York City theatre who encouraged him to give acting a shot. Although Herb comes from a family that appreciates the arts, and had loved being in theatre productions at Bexley High School, summer camp and college, he had never really thought about turning his passion for the theatre into a career.
Herb soon turned his attention away from medical school toward acting and began playing parts in musicals including The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables for companies touring the midwest and in New York. One of his favorite roles was playing Tony in West Side Story. He also acted in commercials in order to acquire the 50 working weeks required to attain an actor’s union card. After coming home to Bexley during the pandemic last year, his agents brought him the opportunity to audition for the movie Christmas with Felicity. He made it through six rounds of Zoom auditions to clinch the male lead in the movie that was shot in Long Grove, Illinois just northwest of Chicago. AMC picked up the movie and it is now available for viewing online. It is his first screen performance other than commercials.
Herb is incredibly grateful for this recent opportunity especially when so many actors are struggling to find work in the pandemic environment. He credits Rebecca Rhinehart, who joined the staff as Theater Director for Bexley Schools when he was a sophomore, and “reset the whole program” for showing him the fun of musical theater. Herb also credits Bexley High School Music Director of Choirs, Amy Blosser, for helping him find his singing voice and grow his love of musical theater.
Today, Herb is back living in New York and following his passion for theater and enjoying the support of his parents, family, friends and fellow alumni.