Gavin Creel in "Walk on Through: Confessions of a Museum Novice" Source: Joan Marcus

EDGE Interview: With 'Walk on Through,' Gavin Creel Is Queerly Proud and Defiant

Frank J. Avella READ TIME: 14 MIN.

Tony-winning Broadway sensation Gavin Creel has created a highly personal, thought-provoking piece of musical art with his exciting new show "Walk on Through: Confessions of a Museum Novice," currently world premiering at MCC Theater (through January 7, 2024). Tickets and more info at

In the show's opening number, Creel confesses he lived in New York City for 20 years before visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But on a commission from the museum to create a piece, Creel spent many hours wandering its halls to incorporate his feelings about the relationship between the viewer and art. The result is a fascinating meditation on life, love and art, with a distinctly queer voice that incorporates 16 songs Creel composed. In addition to Creel, the show features Ryan Vasquez, Sasha Allen, and band members Madeline Benson (the show's music director), Chris Peters, Scott Wasserman and Corey Rawls.

The Broadway vet's work is very specific to his own life as an artist, a gay man, and a sexual being. He asks questions about love, attraction, art appreciation and spirituality – which is what makes the show so universal and entertaining as well as cathartic, not just for the actor/writer/singer, but for the audience.

The production, keenly directed by Linda Goodrich, is a tour de force for Creel, who made his Broadway debut in 2002 as the swoon-worthy Jimmy to Sutton Foster's wacky titular character in "Thoroughly Modern Mille," and received his first Tony nomination. He then co-starred in Stephen Sondheim's troubled "Bounce" at the Kennedy Center in 2003. Two major Broadway revivals followed: "La Cage aux Folles" (2004) and "Hair" (2009). The latter garnered him a second Tony nod.

The out Creel originated the role of Elder Price in "Book of Mormon" on the West End and received an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 2014 and then joined the Broadway cast in 2015 (Note: he was in the first National tour of the show in 2012). Creel then appeared in the 2016 "She Loves Me" revival, opposite Laura Benanti and Jane Krakowski.

2017 brought Bette Midler to Broadway in the celebrated production of "Hello, Dolly!" Creel was a delight as Cornelius Hackl, making the character his own, and was finally awarded with a Tony.

His most recent Broadway endeavor was the spectacular 2022 revival of the Sondheim/Lapine classic "Into the Woods," where he played The Wolf and Cinderella's Prince. He also starred in the U.S. National Tour this past year – Agony to anyone who missed it.

The multi-faceted artist has been featured on the big and small screens and is currently writing songs for a brand-new musical.

Gavin Creel in "Walk on Through: Confessions of a Museum Novice"
Source: Joan Marcus

EDGE had the pleasure of chatting with Creel about the new show and his past work.

EDGE: Amazing show. It's super personal. It's you bare, vulnerable–pouring out your heart and soul. How does it feel to be presenting it in front of an audience?

Gavin Creel: That makes me want to cry. Like hearing you say that makes me emotional just because I forget that sometimes, doing it. It's so normalized to me about what I'm singing about and saying. We've been working on it with this incredible team... And I'm now just starting to present it and having you say that to me reminds me of what I hoped for it to be–real, authentic vulnerable, so that people could hopefully hop on my back and go, I know what it's like to feel like I don't belong in a place or I don't understand art, or I don't understand where I'm supposed to be in the world. Or everybody thinks they know me, because they've seen me in a bunch of shows...but maybe they don't know the whole story. I'm really moved that you felt that.

EDGE: I very much did. Audiences nowadays leap to their feet, just to prove to themselves that they spent all of this money and it was worth it, but the love (I felt) coming from the audience the night I saw it was real.

Gavin Creel: It's amazing... Our show, even though it's intimate, feels quite large... I'm really proud of the collaboration on the whole thing. And the love that we get from the audience at the end is such a testament to that. I'm proud of what I've written. I'm proud of what we've made – but I think it's more testament to what the audience needs.

I was listening to this Rick Rubin (podcast) the other day... he was saying how when you make art, (that) if you're making it for somebody other than you and what you need to say, you're off course. And I think a lot of commercial theater, because it costs so stinking much and because the tickets are so expensive... it better be good. (The producers are) trying to figure out what people want and trying to make theater that they think people will respond – what will ultimately make money, because it's so expensive... Rick Rubin says that's the wrong order. You got to make art. So, I was scared that our piece wouldn't satisfy that itch or that need... I'm appreciative of the audience's response so far, being so verbose and enthusiastic. But I think that has more to do with what they're going through. You know, they happen to hop on my back and take a ride. And they're like, I know that feeling.

by Frank J. Avella

Frank J. Avella is a proud EDGE and Awards Daily contributor. He serves as the GALECA Industry Liaison and is a Member of the New York Film Critics Online. His award-winning short film, FIG JAM, has shown in Festivals worldwide ( Frank's screenplays have won numerous awards in 17 countries. Recently produced plays include LURED & VATICAL FALLS, both O'Neill semifinalists. He is currently working on a highly personal project, FROCI, about the queer Italian/Italian-American experience. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.

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