In the sorting tab for event participation reports, I can't sort by role or status. Even those these are built-in fields that it seems obvious people would want sort by, are not in the list of columns- I'm a newbie user, so I suspect it's something easy and I just don't see it??? I'd like the report to be sorted first by status, then by role, but I'd take at least one of two. Please advise, thanks!
The default reporting does not cater for sorting status and role. One way to achieve this is by writing code as Pradeep suggested. Another way is to export the report data to Excel (csv) and do the sorting in Excel.
Existing report in CiviCRM for participant doesn't provide sorting based on participant status and role. Probably best solution would be to add some code to implement hook_civicrm_alterReportVar through extension and define sorting fields in $var['civicrm_participant]['order_bys'] when $varType == 'columns'.
Similar to Pradeep's answer, yet another option is to clone the report and modify it - see https://docs.civicrm.org/dev/en/latest/extensions/civix/#generate-report specifically
civix generate:report --copy
You could then publish your report as a new extension or submit a PR to enhance the core report.