This feature appeared on NYC ARTS and NYCkidsARTS in 2009. One of Gavin’s picks, the musical Next to Normal, closed after 755 performances on January 16, 2011. The show garnered three Tony Awards that year: Best Original Score, Best Orchestration and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Alice Ripley.

Actor and singer Gavin Creel has had theater fans hooked since his Tony-nominated debut as Jimmy Smith in Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002). He went on to play Jean-Michel in the 2004 Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles and Bert in London’s West End production of Mary Poppins. He’s now back on Broadway, giving a Tony-nominated performance as Claude in Hair.

In his free time, Creel cherishes seeing his friends and loves exploring the diversity of cuisines in the city. The busy performer’s favorite current shows and places to soak up some New York culture are listed below, along with some extra asides.

Billy Elliot: “A beautiful story with stunning performances.  If you can get tickets, it’s a must-see.”

Hair: “I’m really proud of Hair, and even if I weren’t in it, I would still tell people to see it. It’s a really important piece at a crucial time.”

Jersey Boys
:  “This has been around for years now and has sold out nearly every show. That’s because when they start singing those songs, you realize how many great tunes came out of that one group (Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons).”  

Mary Poppins
: “I did this show in London and had a blast. It is a great family show with a great message, fantastic magic and a stunning turn by British import Scarlett Strallen in the title roll. Don’t miss her.”

Next to Normal:  “Composer Tom Kitt is a friend of mine, and he has written a completely original, hard-hitting and beautiful piece about a family dealing with the horrors of mental disorder.  Alice Ripley’s performance is incredible.”

Second Stage Theatre:  "This Off Broadway theater always does really cool plays and whatever is playing there is worth checking out. It is centrally located in midtown in a converted bank."

Gavin Creel grew up in Findlay, Ohio and graduated from the University of Michigan. You can see him in Hair at the Al Hirshfeld Theatre or hear him anytime on his debut album GOODTIMENATION with collaborator Robbie Roth.