Gavin James Creel (born April 18, 1976) is an American actor, singer, and songwriter best known for his work in musical theatre. Creel made his Broadway debut in 2002 in the leading role of Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie before starring as Claude in the 2009 Broadway revival of Hair, both Tony Award-nominated performances. From 2012–2015, he starred as Elder Price in The Book of Mormon; he received a Laurence Olivier Award for originating the role in the West End version of the musical and has played the role in the US National Tour and on Broadway. In 2017, he received a Tony Award for his performance as Cornelius Hackl in Broadway’s Hello, Dolly!.
Other stage credits of his include La Cage aux Folles (2004), She Loves Me (2016), and Waitress (2019) on Broadway, Mary Poppins (2006) and Waitress (2020) in the West End, and the national tours of Fame (1998) and Flashdance (2012). Primarily a theater actor, his most notable screen acting role is as Bill in Eloise at the Plaza and its Christmas-themed sequel.
Creel was born in Findlay, Ohio. He attended Findlay High School, graduating in 1994. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance in 1998.
1997–2002: Early career
Creel began his professional career in regional theater. Some of his earliest credits are as part of the resident cast of Pittsburgh CLO, a repertory theater, for their 1997 and 1998 seasons; mostly ensemble roles, some of his eight productions there included Kiss Me Kate, La Cage aux Folles, and On the Town. Other stock theater credits around this time include productions in Massachusetts and New York state.
Following college graduation, Creel played Nick Piazza in the in the opening cast of 1998 national tour of Fame. In 1998-1999, the tour performed in cities including Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Following the tour, he continued to perform in regional theater before moving to New York City in the early 2000s. In 2001, he was the swing in the original off-Broadway production of Bat Boy: The Musical. He also took part in the 2001 workshop of Spring Awakening.
2002–2012: Thoroughly Modern Millie and Hair
In 2002, Creel made his Broadway debut in the original production Thoroughly Modern Millie, originating the stage version of Jimmy Smith opposite Sutton Foster’s Millie Dillmount. A breakthrough performance, he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Following his departure from the show in April 2003, he performed in the original Chicago production of Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show, then titled Bounce, recorded the original cast album for Bright Lights, Big City, among other productions and workshops. Of note, he made his screen acting debut in the 2003 film Eloise at the Plaza and its follow-up Eloise at Christmastime as Bill.
He returned to Broadway in 2004 in the revival La Cage aux Folles. He played Jean-Michel throughout the production. In 2006, he made his West End debut in Mary Poppins. He replaced Bert in the original production. Also in 2006, he released his debut studio album Goodtimenation.
He returned to Broadway in 2009 in the revival of Hair. For his starring role of Claude, he received his second Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. He and the rest of the cast performed in London through 2010 when the production transferred to the West End. Following Hair, he starred in the world premiere of Prometheus Bound and the original US tour of the Flashdance musical; the national tour was expected to function as a pre-Broadway production but did not transfer.
2012–present: The Book of Mormon and Hello Dolly!
From 2012 until 2015, Creel starred in a series of productions of The Book of Mormon. He first starred as Elder Price in the First Nation Tour of the show in 2012. He subsequently originated the role in the musical’s original West End production; for this performance, he was awarded Best Actor in a Musical at the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award, the most prestigious theatrical awards in the United Kingdom. Following his West End run, he returned to the touring production for a number of months before joining the Broadway cast in 2015.
Creel played the suave salesman Steven Kodaly, opposite Jane Krakowski, in the 2016 Broadway revival of She Loves Me. The show was a critical success and the production became the first Broadway show ever to be live-streamed. Since then, the recording has been part of the PBS series Great Performances.
In 2017, he began playing Cornelius Hackl in the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler. For his role, Creel was awarded the 2017 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical. In 2019, Creel assumed the role Dr. Pomatter in the Broadway production of Waitress. He subsequently played the role in the West End production of the musical.
In 2021, Creel appeared in two episodes of American Horror Stories opposite Matt Bomer and Sierra McCormick on FX on Hulu.
Creel is openly gay. He is a regular on the LGBT RFamilyVacations cruise with Rosie O’Donnell. He is also one of the founders, with Rory O’Malley and Jenny Kanelos, of Broadway Impact, an LGBT activist group. He is an alumnus of Findlay First Edition Show Choir. He was in a relationship with actor Jonathan Groff in 2009.
Creel took a temporary leave from Hello, Dolly! in March 2018 for medical reasons.
In 2020, days after leaving Waitress in London, Creel announced he had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Adapted from About The Artists and Broadway World.
|1998||A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum||Hero||North Shore Music Theatre|
|1998–99||Fame||Nick Piazza||The North American Tour:
November 1998 – 1999
|2000||Honk!||Ugly||North Shore Music Theatre|
|Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center||US premiere|
|2000||A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum||Hero||California Musical Theatre|
|2001||The Flood||Male Lead||Prospect Theatre Company|
|2001||Bat Boy: The Musical||Swing/Understudy||Union Square Theatre:
2001– December 2001
|Original Off-Broadway replacement|
|2001||Spring Awakening||Melchior||Roundabout Theatre Company||Workshop|
|2002–03||Thoroughly Modern Millie||Jimmy Smith||Marquis Theatre:
March 2002 – April 2003
|Original Broadway production|
|2003||Bounce||Hollis Bessemer||Albert Ivar Goodman Theatre:
June – August 2003
|Original Chicago production|
|John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts:
October – November 2003
|2003||Bright Lights, Big City||Michael||New York Concert||Concert performance|
|2004||A Tale of Two Cities||Charles Darnay||Workshop|
|2004||The Mystery Plays||Joe Manning||Second Stage Theatre|
|Yale Repertory Theater|
|2004||Hair||Performer||New Amsterdam Theatre||Actors’ Fund Concert|
|2004||La Cage aux Folles||Jean-Michel||Marquis Theatre:
November 2004 – June 2005
|2006||Mary Poppins||Bert||Prince Edward Theatre||West End replacement|
|2009–10||Hair||Claude||Al Hirschfeld Theatre:
March 2009 – April 2010
|West End transfer|
|2011||Prometheus Bound||Prometheus||American Repertory Theater:
February – April 2011
|2012||Flashdance||Nick Hurley||US National Tour||Original US production|
|2012–15||The Book of Mormon||Elder Price||US National Tour:
August 2012 – January 2013
|National tour original cast|
|Prince of Wales Theatre:
February 2013 – July 2014
|West End original cast|
|US National Tour:
August 2014 – December 2014
|Toronto / Montreal|
|Eugene O’Neill Theatre:
January 2015 – January 2016
|2016||She Loves Me||Steven Kodaly||Studio 54:
March – July 2016
|2017–18||Hello, Dolly!||Cornelius Hackl||Shubert Theatre:
March 2017 – March 2018
May – August 2018
|2019–20||Waitress||Dr. Pomatter||Brooks Atkinson Theatre:
January – February 2019
January – March 2020
|West End replacement|
|2003||Eloise at the Plaza||Bill||Television film|
|2003||Eloise at Christmastime||Bill||Television film|
|2016||She Loves Me||Kodaly||Filmed Broadway show|
|2019||Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure||Matthews (voice)||4 episodes|
|2021||American Horror Stories||Troy||Miniseries; 2 episodes|
|2021||Central Park||Young Hank (voice)||Episode: “The Shadow”|
Awards and nominations
|2002||Tony Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Thoroughly Modern Millie||Nominated|
|2009||Tony Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Hair||Nominated|
|Drama League Award||Distinguished Performance||Nominated|
|2010||GLAAD Media Award||Special Recognition Award
(shared with cast)
|2014||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actor in a Musical||The Book of Mormon||Won|
|WhatsOnStage Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Won|
|2017||Tony Award||Best Featured Actor in a Musical||Hello, Dolly!||Won|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Won|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Won|