April 18, 1976– Gavin Creel
I would do nearly anything outside of kissing Ted Cruz to fly to NYC with hard-to-get-ahold-of tickets to a certain hit Broadway musical. No, not the hip-hop musical about a founding father, but She Loves Me, a perfect bon-bon show from 1963. She Loves Me has a score by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, the team the brought us Fiddler On the Roof, among other great musicals. It is an adaptaion of the play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklos Laszlo, which had already been made into the 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner (1940) starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. It had already been given the musical treatment with the Judy Garland and Van Johnson vehicle, In the Good Old Summertime (1949). It came around again with Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail (1998) with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The plot revolves around two Budapest retail clerks who, despite being consistently at odds with each other at work, are unaware that each is the other’s secret pen pal met through a newspaper personal ad.
She Loves Me is currently revived on Broadway, winning terrific reviews and sold-out houses, with Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Jane Krakowski, and birthday boy, Gavin Creel.
I love this show so much. For realz. It is in my Top Five Musicals Of All Time. I have seen it several times and I was tantalizingly close to being in a Seattle production in 2001. I was cast, to my shock, not as the older shopkeeper, the role I aggressively auditioned for, but as the roué and cad Steven Kodaly, the role Creel will be almost certainly Tony nominated for this season. I ended up not accepting the role. The Husband and I, in a collective nervous breakdown, suddenly departed Seattle for Portland, and I let this one get away.
I don’t know about where you live, but nearly everyone I know in Portland is a hyphenate (lawyer/farmer/author/chicken-wrangler), even I am writer/gentleman farmer/ne’er-do-well. Today’s birthday guy is most certainly a many word hyphenate: activist/actor/singer/songwriter. He is also one of founders of Broadway Impact, an organization of theatre professionals fighting for LGBT Equality.
Creel came out publicly in a 2009 interview in The Advocate. He has been honored as one of Out Magazine’s OUT 100. He has performed and given speeches at events benefiting The Human Rights Campaign. Creel toured with The Cyndi Lauper True Colors concert series & sang on the Capitol lawn at the 2009 National Equality March. Besides all the original Broadway cast albums, Creel has 3 solo vocal albums including Get Out, released in Spring 2012. He is a frequent contributing performer for MCC Theater’s annual Miscast Benefit, where Broadway stars sing numbers from roles in which they would never be cast to amazing results.
Creel was in the cast of the terrific revival of Hair on both Broadway (2009) and The West End (2010). Creel earned Tony Award nominations for Hair and his Broadway debut, Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002). He has also appeared on Broadway in La Cage Aux Folles (2004) and the West End production of Mary Poppins (2007). He’s come a long way since his first stage appearance when, as a high school sophomore, Creed played Sir Sagamore in Camelot; speaking just two words: “and mine”.
“Talking about sexuality, sexual orientation and understanding how sexual identity factors into all of our thinking, is a conversation that I believe everyone should fearlessly enter into. It drives me crazy how “gay issues” so often appear to be just for the gays and are therefore relegated to the outside edges of a newspaper or newscast or even election (except when it is conveniently spun into the hot topic to help mobilize people against us for the sake of “morality”. I love who I am, but I don’t see me and my gay friends as a bunch of homos who should be set apart from the rest. I don’t agree with those in our community who think that as gay people we are special and should therefore keep ourselves isolated from certain straight-associated thinking or conventions. If I really am special, I don’t need to separate myself to stand out (yet another thing I would say to the pimple-faced, show-choir-obsessed, teenage version of me). I hope the words are call to everyone: sexy straights, bi beauties, terrific trans people and, of course, us gorgeous gays.”
Although I appreciate him shirtless in Hair, Gavin Creel had to wear a white shirt and black tie as Elder Price in the London production of The Book Of Mormon, for which he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor In A Musical in 2014.
My sources tell me that Creel, who is single, has dated fellow Broadway Babies Andrew Rannells (who originated the role of Elder Price in The Book Of Mormon) and cutie pie Jonathan Groff. Too bad that I am married; I could be Creel’s daddy.