Tsadok Porter has always craved the limelight. Even as a toddler, she shimmied in sparkly dresses and mimicked Diana Ross.
The only girl in a family of local performers, Porter was a born starlet. Her mother was an actress and her father and three brothers were singers and musicians.
“They called us The Jackson 5,” says Porter, 25.
Her first stage show was in kindergarten, under the direction of Nate Jacobs, then the theater teacher at the West Coast School for Human Development, in North Sarasota.
She and Jacobs bonded years before he founded the West Coast Black Theatre Troupe and she appeared as a contestant on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”
In 2006, Porter joined Jacobs’ traveling troupe of actors, actresses and singers, playing Deena in the company’s production of “Dreamgirls,” and Beneatha in “A Raisin in the Sun.”
In January, during the troupe’s “Sistas of Soul” program at Art Center Sarasota, she channeled Tina Turner for a rousing rendition of “Proud Mary” that had audiences buzzing for weeks.
“I’m not the pretty girl who can’t sing,” Porter says. “When I get on stage and open my mouth, I want people to go, ‘Wow, I didn’t know she could do that.’”
PORTER’S TOP 5 SINGERS
“I wasn’t old enough to see him alive, but I can take so much from him. His music is just crazy. He’s my No. 1.”
“With Aretha, what you see is what you get. She paved the way for me and a host of young ladies. Anybody who’s somebody today has got to pay homage to Aretha Franklin.”
“There are people in the industry today who don’t have real talent. She has real talent. She has the gift.”
“She was in ‘Dreamgirls’ and ‘Ragtime.’ She’s a Broadway star. She did a lot of stuff. She’s got a ridiculously awesome voice.”
“What he did with his band was just amazing. He was doing his thing on stage until the day he died. The man’s an icon.”