Actor. Activist. Musician. All of these labels, and more, can be applied to Gavin Creel, one of the busiest men in the entertainment industry. Last seen on Broadway as Claude in the revival of Hair, Creel has since been writing music as well as working with Broadway Impact on the play 8.
The play, which chronicles the reversal of California’s anti-gay marriage legislation, Proposition 8, was written by by Academy Award-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and first premiered in a reading on Broadway in September 2011. The script utilizes the original transcripts from the 2010 Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, which sought to overturn the 2008 voter-approved Prop. 8 legislation. The trial concluded with a California federal judge ruling that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional and unfairly discriminated against homosexuals.
Creel performed in a reading of the show at the University of Michigan in November of 2011, which was produced in association with AFER and Broadway Impact, the LGBT marriage equality non-profit he co-founded.
Creel’s third solo release, Get Out, will be released on March 20, 2012. On March 19, he will perform two concerts – at 7 PM and 9:30 PM – at Joe’s Pub. Before the big day, the actor, singer-songwriter and activist took some time to chat with TheTheatreSource about his work, social progress and reuniting with his dream co-star, Sutton Foster.
1. Tell me about your work with “8”. What do you hope to accomplish with this play?
we are using the power of theatre to wake people up into action in the fight for equality. the play is being presented at theatres and schools across the country (over 50) in the next year (especially in battleground states) and we will keep going until there is full federal marriage equality in the united states. amen.
2. The video for “Noise” tackles the history of the gay rights movement. What kind of responses have the song and video inspired?
it has been so overwhelming and positive. people are fired up when they hear the song and see andrew’s incredible video. i’m so proud of that piece of art that we made, and i hope it continues to get out there and touch a lot more people.
3. “Goodtimenation” and “Quiet” both feature so many songs about love. But you are such an activist as well. Is it a coincidence that your new album is being released during a heated political season when social issues are playing such a large role in the national debate?
good question! i don’t know that i was that calculated in my release time, but i like that it IS at a heated time. there are definitely songs on my new record that address some of what is going on in this world. and, while there is a lot about love on the first two records, there is a lot about pain and anger on this new record, so….i suppose i have been working my shit out! ha! music is good like that…it is sort of there when i need it…it is a friend to me that allows me to lean on it in order to connect to more people. thank you music, for being my friend.
4. Broadway Impact has made some great accomplishments in the past few years. What are you the most proud of?
i think the national equality march and us ultimately being the reason that 1500 people were able to come down to dc for free and march. that was one of the greatest weekends of my life. it was SUCH a collaborative effort and i was so happy to be alive and there.
5. Where were you when you first heard that the gay marriage bill was passed in New York last summer? How did you feel when you heard the news?
i was in brighton on the beach in england, staying at my friends’ house. i woke up to like 50 emails all proclaiming that we did it. it was surreal and i was sorry i wasn’t in nyc to celebrate with everyone, but…we did it and it is real and i am celebrating right now. WEEEHOOOOO!
6. How do you view your roles as an artist, performer and activist? How do these different areas of your life and work intersect with each other?
the do constantly intersect and i love it. the older i get, i find them becoming almost indistinguishable. also, the older i get, i find that I AM THE ONE who gets to decide what kind of artist i am, and if i want to blend or separate parts of my career or life, i get to decide that, not someone else. i don’t worry too much about perception or pigeonholing or whatever you want to call it. labels are for small minded folk who need a definition to help them understand something that is too big to contain. right?! i wanna go hang out with the people who are everything. they’re the ones who got the good stuff.
7. You are very active on Facebook. How have you utilized social media for your work?
i’m not so active on facebook except that i copy my twitter posts onto the site. i am a much bigger twitter-er (is that a word? ) i like twitter because i don’t REALLY have to engage in it all that much if i don’t want to. and i can zap random stuff out into the world, and no one really gives a toss. that, and i can only really think in 140 characters or so anyway, so…good times.
8. I loved your performance in “Hair.” When will we see you on Broadway again? Will you and Sutton Foster be doing “Me and My Girl” anytime soon?
oh, that might be a big dream come true if it were to happen. let’s keep sending that out there….perhaps it will come to pass one day. until then, i have a gig coming up soon…will be announced very shortly. but first, I’M GOING TO HAWAII!!