the new york diet

Hair’s Gavin Creel Indulges in Chocolate Before Getting Naked

Gavin Creel of Broadway's Hair loves Josie's.

Gavin Creel of Broadway's Hair loves Josie's.Photo: Melissa Hom

The “joyous revival” of Hair draws its energy from a “delightful” cast, Dan Kois wrote in the magazine last week. Gavin Creel plays Claude, a much different role from his Tony-nominated turn as Jimmy Smith in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Creel was cast in Hair only a day after auditioning — a feat he says is possible when casting directors know your work. After graduating from the University of Michigan’s musical-theater program, Creel moved to New York in 1998. “I kind of knew I had to go to L.A. or New York, and was dead set on being on Broadway. I also knew there were way better restaurants in NYC.” See how he keeps in shape for the show in this week's New York Diet.

Saturday, April 4
Saturday, I ate at Westway Diner with my friend Scarlett [Strallen], who’s Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins. She’s British. We lived together in London and we got into this tradition where every week we’d go to Delish Café on Old Compton Street and get a fry-up. We kind of carried it on here. I had half a grapefruit and two eggs over easy, tomatoes instead of potatoes, sausage — that’s my indulgence — and then wheat toast. I wrote “one piece of toast to sop up the egg juice and then the other with jelly for a treat” and then chamomile tea. I don’t drink coffee. I get my caffeine from chocolate. I have a sensitive stomach; I can’t eat dairy. The amount of potato chips and dark chocolate I eat [is] quite shocking, actually.

For lunch, I ordered a Sushi Deluxe with a spicy tuna roll from New Yoshi sushi. They used to have a thing on 46th Street and one day I called and they answered and I ordered and it came and it looked a little different and I said, “Did you change your look?” And they said, “no, we’re on the Upper West Side now,” but they still delivered. It’s the best sushi, because it’s cheaper and the fish is huge. It’s so good.

For dinner, I ate at Room Service. I really don’t cook. They just opened a new restaurant in midtown and it was my first time going. I had pad thai wrapped in egg whites and a mango mojito, which was awesome. And then we went to HK and had a chocolate soufflé for dessert.

Sunday, April 5
Usually for breakfast I have a protein shake, which is six ice cubes, a cup of soy milk, a scoop of natural peanut butter, two scoops of soy protein, and one banana. I blend it up in my blender and suck it down. I used to get the peanut-butter protein shake at Juice Generation because it was so good, but it ended up being like ten bucks every time I’d go, so I taught myself how to make it.

Then I forgot to eat lunch, and I got in trouble because all the stage managers were like “don’t pass out!” and they force-fed me a banana and a PowerBar and some granola bars. I was like ‘whew,’ because after the protein shake you think you’re full and then by the time you get to work, you’re hungry again and it’s time to do a show. And I can’t eat while I’m doing a show. But I did eat lunch afterwards.

I had a turkey-burger salad at Five Napkin Burger. It’s so good. It’s a beautiful salad with radishes, green beans, mixed greens, vinaigrette. It’s very colorful. And they put a turkey burger right on top of it, with pickled onions and a little bit of this really cool mayonnaise. I had a little dark chocolate afterward while I was getting my wig put on. I do have a favorite brand of chocolate, but you can’t get it in the states. It’s Cadbury Bournville. My friend Scarlett, when she was home in London, brought like five bars back for me. I get the Cadbury Dark sometimes, but it’s not as good for some reason.

And then I did a naughty thing and after the show I went to Arriba Arriba and had a margarita with salsa, chips, and guacamole. Heaven. Because that’s my desert-island meal. I could die a happy man. It’s a great place after a show because it’s close. They play fun music, so you feel like you’re in a club without having to dance.

Then, I took an acid pill and went to bed. Not LSD, an acid-reflux pill! I dropped acid and then I went to bed and dreamed about colors and moose. No, I didn’t.

Monday, April 6
Monday was a boring day. Well, it was a bit of a bizarre day. We recorded our cast album. I woke up and had my protein shake and then we had to go record from 11 a.m. until 10 at night. They had turkey sandwiches there, Doritos — I love Doritos — olives, and M&Ms. Just that all day.

And then at dinnertime we had an hour break. They brought out hot food and I had huge grilled gulf shrimp and chicken breast, I think it was Marsala, and a piece of focaccia bread. I have a weakness. Every time I finish a meal, I need to have something sweet, usually a piece of chocolate. So, I just ate more chocolate.

After the recording, around 10:30, we went to Hurley’s and the producers took us out to eat. I had a pulled-pork sandwich with coleslaw and fries, and more dark chocolate. I told you, it’s shocking. I don’t eat the whole bar or anything, but a few squares. Oh, and I had a a gorgeous Blue Moon beer.

Everyone says to not eat late, but I get out of the show at 11 and I’m starving because we’ve been running around for three hours, and I just can’t not eat. So that’s why Prilosec OTC is my best friend. I have one of those in the morning and one at night, and it keeps me from having heartburn while I sleep and so it doesn’t ruin my voice. I need to be a spokesperson.

Tuesday, April 7
Tuesday I had a protein shake again in the morning.

For lunch, I actually made an open-face tuna-salad sandwich on Pepperidge Farm cinnamon-raisin bread and a huge Claussen pickle. I love sweet and savory together. I love a compote next to like a big piece of steak, or Hawaiian pizza, things like that.

Dinner, I had a Subway six-inch chicken-breast sub, which we all know isn’t really chicken, but like sponge. I feel like it’s a bootleg sub. You never know what’s in those cold cuts, so I get the chicken breast, which is probably even worse. I get it with pickles, banana peppers, honey mustard, tomato, and lettuce, and then I got some spicy Thai Doritos. Have you had those? You must. You need to get to the store and get some of those now, because they’re pretty kickass.

I didn’t tell you, but during the show and at intermission I eat animal crackers, those really bland things you buy at Bed Bath & Beyond. Because sometimes you need some energy. It’s just a good thing to shove in and inevitably I have a piece of chocolate during the show. It’s embarrassing. I have a problem.

After the show, I went to Film Center with Will [Swenson] and his girlfriend — Will plays Berger in the show — and a couple of my best friends from the show, Tomer and Michael Scott. I had a turkey burger, the yam fries, a Bellini, and chips and guacamole. My producers don’t get on my nerves for drinking once in a while; I show up to work.

Wednesday, April 8
I went to Westway again with my girl Scarlett. I had two eggs over easy, sausage, tomatoes instead of potatoes, and whole-wheat blueberry pancakes. At a diner, they make whole-wheat pancakes! They’re really good. I had a cup of tea and I had a half grapefruit.

Then during the show I had a protein brownie from Juice Generation, for energy.

Then at lunch time I went to Vynl and had the best butternut squash soup in midtown. It’s incredible. It’s dairy free, but with coconut milk. Then I had the salmon and spinach salad with beautiful bacon vinaigrette, tons of bacon, walnuts, and they have goat cheese on it, but I can’t have the cheese. It had a huge piece of salmon cooked medium. I didn’t have any chocolate after that, believe it or not.

After the show, I went to Café Cluny down in the West Village. I’d never been there before. It was really good. I had a beet salad that looked like a painting. I didn’t think I should eat it, it was so beautiful. And I had roast chicken with small potatoes and bok choy, and then we had a dark-chocolate torte with raspberry sorbet. It’s dark chocolate all day and all night. I’m lying about the rest of it. And I had two vodka gimlets, that’s my drink of choice. It was Belvedere vodka and it was a real gimlet. The way I got used to them is with Rose’s lime, so it’s a bit sweet. But this one was fresh-squeezed lime juice, so it had a bit of a bite. It was so good I had to order another one.

Thursday, April 9

And then today, I’m at my favorite restaurant, Josie’s. It’s dairy free and it’s great! I had the rejuvenating iced tea, which is like Christmas in a glass. It’s orange juice, cranberry and apple, peach, ginger tea, and a little bit of simple syrup. I had two of those. I started with the butternut squash soup. It’s got a little cinnamon. And then I had the tuna burger on a whole-wheat bun, served black and blue, with steamed broccoli and extra ginger. For dessert, I had a dark chocolate pecan pie, which is incredible.

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