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September 08, 1999 - Image 34

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-08

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- New Student Edition - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 8, 1999


Alum finds 'fame' at start of career

The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor
Bird of Paradise, 207 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor
The Blind Pig, 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor
'lutch Cargo's, 65 E. Huron, Pontiac 24
Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward, Detroit 31
Harpo's, 14238 Harper, Detroit 31
ill St. Entry, 65 E. Huron, Pontiac 24
The Palace of Auburn Hills 24
Phoenix Plaza Amphitheater. 110 N. Water St., Po
Pine Knob Music Theater, Auburn Hills 24
The Shelter, 431 E. Congress, Detroit 31
Late Theatre, 2115 Woodward, Detroit 3
St. Andrew's Hall, 431 E. Congress, Detroit 31

8 335 9497

By Jenni Glenn
Daily Arts Writer
Gavin Creel couldn't decide
whether he should paint his sublet.
His third audition after moving to
New York City, a tryout for the lead
in the North American tour of "Fame
- The Musical," had landed him
four callbacks.
If he got the part, the University
alum would move right away, so he
called his agent to find out if he
would need to fix up his sublet.
When the agent returned his call,
he told Creel not to buy the paint -
he had a contract.
That contract brought Creel to
Detroit in April as part of the tour
that began in Toronto last November.
He planned to stay in Ann Arbor dur-
ing that time and catch up with his
teachers and friends.
Due to his involvement in "Fame,"
Creel's life has undergone major
changes since his graduation from
the University's musical theater pro-
gram less than a year ago.
"It's like a great, huge, amazing
first step," he said.
His future wasn't so certain at the
beginning of last fall.
After a couple of jobs in summer
stock groups, Creel arrived in New
York at the end of August. "I got off
the train with my luggage and no
idea where I was going to live," he

He found an apartment quickly
and started going to auditions, even
though he said he wasn't too sure
what he was doing,
lie walked into the "Fame" audi-
tion without being on the call list.
Creel said his college experiences,
some of the best times in his life,
helped give him the courage to do
"Michigan prepared me to go to
New York and just go for it," he said.
Taking that chance turned out to
be very worthwhile. Now Creel's
playing Nick Piazza, one of the act-
ing students at New York's High
School of the Performing Arts, eight
times a week. Creel sings the open-
ing lines of the musical as well as a
solo, "I Want to Make Magic."
Creel also got the chance to sing
on the musical's CD, made in one
day during their six week long stay in
Toronto at the kick-off of the tour.
The cast woke up early one morn-
ing to record the album, a task that
took 10 hours. Creel recalled one of
his friends saying he listened to the
CD at Borders here in Ann Arbor.
"Of course, we hear all the prob-
lems, but it's such an honor to be on
a cast recording," Creel said.
The tour also has its ups and
downs, including living out of a suit-
case and moving nearly every week.

Stranahan Theatre, 4645 Heatherdowns, Toledo, Ohio

Toledo Sports Arena, 1 Main St., Toledo, Ohio

Since Creel misses his college
friends and family, he received a cell
phone as a Christmas gift to keep in
"AT&T One Rate, baby," he said.
"It's a beautiful thing."
lie doesn't lack companionship,
since the whole cast usually stays in
the same hotel. Working and living
together can be a strain, though.
"You go through days where you
want everyone to leave you alone,
and then you have days where you
want someone to come to you and no
one does," Creel said. But "For the
most part, the cast really works well
Creel said he feels that being on
tour is actually less stressful than
some of his previous performing
experiences. At the University, he
appeared in "A Midsummer Night's
Dream" and "Sweeney Todd" in
addition to directing last spring's
MUSKET show "Pippin."
"There's less pressure on the road
than at Michigan," he said. At
University productions, "All the
most influential people in your life
are sitting there and watching you."
Part of the pressure stemmed from
the fact that the University shows
only had four performances, all of
which had to be perfect. With
"Fame," Creel instead worried about
getting bored with playing the same
role many times.
"At first I thought, 'How the hell
am I going to sustain this for six
months?' he said. Yet, "Every night
I step on stage, and I challenge
He uses the scenes where he is
having a conversation with other
actors in the background for this pur--
During each performance, Creel
tries to have new discussions with
different characters.
Even though he spends it on the
fringes of the action, he especially
enjoys the musical number "There
She Goes!/Fame."
"I'm only in that for the first
minute and a half," he said. But, "I
could watch that every night."
His costars energetic dance moves
make that particular number a
favorite of his.
Although his part in "Fame" con-

sists predominantly of singing, Creel
also studied dancing during his col-
lege career. "I love to dance, but
there's no way I can do half the
things those people do," he said.
"They're fierce."
In spite of the cast's spirit, review-
ers criticized the musical's scrip
Creel deals with the reviews
remembering the positive feedback
on the actors from the audiences and
"When you get a job, you have to
treat it like it is Shakespeare," he
Even with all the new experiences
in his life, Creel has become used to
the routine of being in a national
tour. He compared it to when he wor-
ried about getting a job at Einstei
Bagels right after it opened and rea_
ized later, through experience, that
slicing bagels was simple.
"Now that I'm in it, I sort of take it
for granted," he said. "Sometimes I
feel like, 'Why me?' For me, it's not
any different than trying to get a part
my freshman year in high school."
"Fame" is already booked through
the year 2001, but Creel's contract
expires in November. He could lea*
anytime after that to pursue his other
ambitions, including directing and
acting in Broadway shows, TV and
He has an interest in films that
feature actors his age such as "Go,"
which he saw twice, and period dra-
mas similar to "Shakespeare in
"I'm trying to learn about what
kind of actor I want to be," Cree
said. "Eventually I'm going to hai
to say goodbye to 'Fame' and hit the
pavement again to take the next
That step could be starring in the
Broadway show "Footloose," which
currently stars Jennifer Thompson,
another 1998 University alum, as the
female lead.
Right now, though, Creel is still
focusing on the upcoming We,
Coast leg of the tour and the impo
tance of "Fame" as the first step in
his career.
"This has been a huge part of the
plan," he said. "Whereas college was
the root ... everything's going to
grow from here."



Like to work with your hands?
Have a class or personal project to finish?
Interested in attending workshops?
Need access to a well-equipped woodworking
Want some advice?
Check this out!
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students, faculty, staff,,and sponsored community members.
And all at an extremely reasonable price!
The StudentWoodshop offers:
a knowledgeable and friendly onsite staff
safety and orientation workshops
project workshops
a complete complement of woodworking equipment
a ventilated spray booth
evening and weekend hours
daily and semester rates available
central location (basement of the SAB, enter
off Thompson)
Whether you need to make a single cut, or are building a set
of dining room chairs, this is the spot for you!
Check out our website www.umich.edu/-woodshop
or call 763-4025 for more information.

the michigan union
is your
fr onm
on central campus for arts,
entertainment, special events,
and social activities.
Check out our web site and online calendar
I www.umich.edu/~ mupb or call 763-3202
All this brought to you by the Michigan Union Progrniim Hoard and the Michigan
Union Arts and JPrograis Office. Division of Student Affairs.

New stles, methods
in art world reach 'U

Kurt Vosburgh, Director
Division of Student Affairs

a.5l5'i Studenlt
Kz:) W4adshop


Michigan Book & Supply
is Ann Arbor's complete
source for the best in
art supplies and materials.
- Paint, ink and pigments
* Mediums and varnishes
* Brushes and canvas
Drawing supplies
* Drafting equipment
Ceramic supplies
* Easels and paint boxes
- Printmaking supplies

Continued from Page IC
took an approach similar to
Northwestern's, for much of this
Dennis Miller, a professor of art, said
"1computing was incorporated into the
graphic design curriculum to meet job
market realities within that field. Any
student who expressed an interest in the
use of computers ended up getting
shoved into the graphic design area."
Miller said the school added a loose-
ly-configured area concentration called
"new genres" several years ago.
Student enrollment in the concentra-
tion's computer-related media courses
increased rapidly and some art profes-
sors sought to consolidate the frag-
mented concentration into a specific
concentration devoted entirely to com-
Currently, the school is awaiting for
the National Association of Schools of
Art and Design to approve and accred-
it the University's four-year curricu-

Miller expects the concentration to
be offered in the 2000 Fall term.
Whereas Northwestern's department
of Art Theory and Practice offers its
own lab of computers to its technolog-
minded art students, Michigan's scl
of art will need some new equipment to
implement the new curriculum. Miller
says that "traditionally, the budget for
the school of art and design has been
very tight, which makes any expansion
a challenge."
The Media Union provides little
relief for the University's new curricu-
"Much of the computing equipment
located in the Media Union is set up to
meet the needs of the (College)*
Engineering," Miller said. "Art and
Design students have a difficult time
working over there because of incom-
patible software and insufficient hard-
ware. The tsunami of engineering stu-
dents using that facility make it diffi-
cult for the Media Union administra-
tion to economically meet the needs of
a group as small as the school of art
and design."

A wants more public
art i mundane places

Continued from Page IC
Commission is considering "doing
something similar with the Forest
Street parking structure." The city
already has plans to expand and ren-
ovate the structure.
Elton would like to see more blank
walls downtown painted with
murals, but he said there is no spe-
cific project in the works.
Elton also cited the "entranceway

to the city on North Main Street" as
having "a lot of potential" for
improvement. He said that partic
entrance to Ann Arbor doesn't fos.
the image the city wants.
The Commission on Art in Public
Places meets on the second Thursday
of every month at 6 p.m. in the
Council Workroom at City Hall, 100
N. Fifth St.
Its meetings are open to the public
and Elton said the commission is
more than receptive to the public's


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