Gavin Creel – Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Theater Review – March 9, 2019

CHATTY GAVIN CREEL SINGS MUSICAL THEATER CLASSICS GLORIOUSLY

GAVIN CREEL
Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Center for the Arts
Scottsdale, AZ

Broadway musical theater star Gavin Creel entered the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts for his solo appearance by roaming toward the stage from the back of the facility as he introduced himself and chatted with audience members.  He even grabbed a patron’s beverage on the way to the stage, had a taste, liked it, and, as he returned it, asked what it was.

That’s the way the entire concert with pianist/music director Seth Rudetsky went.  Creel talked easily and freely about his educational background and growing up on a Midwest potato farm, before he launched into a discussion of his Broadway musical theater hits.  He sang from his shows plus other songs from the musical theater canon.  Between songs, he and Rudetsky discussed many unique and interesting tidbits about his evolution as a Broadway star.

Some complained that he didn’t sing enough and chatted too much about his background.  Many wished he had used his soaringly beautiful voice with many luscious high notes on more musical theater classics but there were some unusual songs including the hauntingly beautiful “Heaven in My Arms” from 1939’s “Very Warm for May”.  But his relaxed demeanor and candid comments about his self-admittedly lucky career breaks at a relatively young age were fascinating.

Creel and host Rudetsky turned what could have been a dry career recitation into funny and revealing insights into what made Creel into a Broadway star.  His collection of hit shows includes his “Thoroughly Modern Millie” debut with Sutton Foster who also soared to stardom with this show, “The Book of Mormon” as a Broadway replacement and as Elder Price in London where he won an Olivier Award, his Tony Award win as Cornelius Hackl in the Bette Midler’s “Hello, Dolly,” and the acclaimed Roundabout Theatre’s “She Loves Me.”  He also starred in Broadway’s “Hair” revival and as a replacement in “Waitress.”  He talked about his television roles opposite musical theater icon Julie Andrews in “Eloise at the Plaza” and “Eloise at Christmastime” and how long-time star Andrews worked hard to create her role in those appearances.

This is the final attraction in this season’s Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts series although a May 17 appearance by Lea Salonga is not part of the current season.  No mention was made either by Rudetsky or the Center’s Director before Creel’s appearance about the next season but one hopes the popular series continues.  For Lea Salonga tickets, call the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts box office at 480-499-8587 or order tickets online at www.scottsdalearts.org.

Grade: A

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