BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Broadway star Gavin Creel is as well-known for his gay activism as he is for his Tony-nominated performances in Hair and Thoroughly Modern Millie. And he doesn't worry that being out will ruin his career.
''If I never play a heterosexual again, bring it on!'' says Creel, who performs his nightclub act Friday and Saturday nights at Prelude by Barton G. in Miami.
He admires a new cadre of gay performers (himself included) who speak matter-of-factly about their lives, ''people like Cheyenne [Jackson] and me, people who are willing to do it, who stand in front of you and make women hot and guys confused.''
He officially came out two years ago in The Advocate and wishes he had done it ''10 years earlier.''
''You're not out until you say it in the press,'' Creel says. ''Ricky Martin -- I had a feeling, but until he said 'I am gay,' it was speculation.''
Creel, who performed with the cast of Hair at the 2009 Gay March on Washington, raises money for Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and is a founder of Broadway Impact, which fights for marriage and other gay equality issues.
Born in Ohio, Creel arrived on Broadway in 2002's Millie, based on the 1967 Julie Andrews movie musical. He then co-starred (as the straight son) in a 2004 Broadway revival of Jerry Herman's La Cage aux Folles; as Bert in the 2006 London production of Disney's Mary Poppins; and as Claude in the 2009 Hair revival in New York.
He enjoys classic musicals as long as they're presented with ''a 2011 sensibility: edited, Googleized, I want it now, I want it fast.''
''It's kind of like me, a little cynical. People are jaded now. If we do a revival of Oklahoma! and it's romantic, we're doomed in five minutes.''
Says Creel, who taught master classes this week in Fort Lauderdale: ''I'm not turned on by, and don't get off on, musical theater that doesn't have guts.''
His nightclub act is a mix of music he's written and songs from his shows. ''It's a little bit of a departure for me. We're going to do some covers on guitar, very intimate. Guitars and voice. And a little Broadway section, songs I can't stop singing.''
It's been 12 years since Creel last performed in South Florida, when he co-starred in Fame: The Musical at the old Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach.
He expects this week's visit to be more dignified than the last.
''I barfed on the causeway. I partied so hard it was embarrassing,'' says Creel, now 34. ''I was young and foolish and now I know better.''
IF YOU GO
Gavin Creel performs 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Prelude by Barton G at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Dinner and show $110 for preferred seating, $45 show only. Call 305-357-7900, www.preludebybartong.com or www.arshtcenter.org.