Gavin Creel: Hair Raiser
BY Brandon Voss
March 30 2009 12:00 AM ET
Following a wildly successful run last summer at Central Park's Delacorte Theater, Hair has returned to Broadway for the first time in more than 30 years. Electrifying and enlightening a whole new generation at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, the 1967 "American tribal love-rock musical" stars 32-year-old Ohio native Gavin Creel, a Tony nominee for his 2002 Broadway debut in Thoroughly Modern Millie, as Claude, the conflicted apex of a bisexual love triangle within Hair's tribe of Vietnam-era bohemians. Inspired by the passing of Prop. 8, Creel also cofounded Broadway Impact, a grassroots movement led by the theater community to promote marriage equality, and his affection for activism is evident in his Playbill bio: "Gavin has no patience for people who perpetuate inequality in the guise of 'religious belief.'" Creel's passion for gay rights may be obvious, but his own sexuality has remained ambiguous — until now.
Advocate.com: Because you weren't involved in this past summer's incarnation of the show in Central Park, you joined the Hair tribe pretty late in the game. What was it like being the new kid?
Gavin Creel: It was a little daunting at first, but the cast made me feel totally welcome. There was work to be done, so there wasn't a whole lot of time for touchy-feely worrying about how I could feel better. I had to get down to business, learn these crazy words, and start figuring out who my character is.
Did you see Jonathan Groff or Christopher J. Hanke play Claude in the Central Park production?
No, and I'm glad I didn't see them, because I would've just stolen everything they did. [Laughs] It's like if I'm going to do a play based on a movie, I don't like to see the movie first, because then I get too in my head. And doing a revival, it's hard enough playing a character that so many people think they know how it should be done. If people are like, "Jonathan was this way," or, "Chris was this way," I'm not really concerned. They're both amazing actors and what they do is awesome, but what I do is too.