Levi, it is great to have you back in PV for your shows this season at Act 2. Can you tell us about your last time performing in Puerto Vallarta?
This is my fourth year now performing live at the Red Room. PV always gets first look at new tours and new material before I go on to take the show across the United States. My Broadway At The Keys Tour started right here at The Red Room and was later chosen by LA Theater Critics as the Best Concert/Cabaret of 2017. It all starts here for me, and I love that opportunity! The crowds are so willing to go on that ride with you and it makes every show entirely unique from the next.
What do you think about Puerto Vallarta as an LGBT destination? What do you do on the days you are not performing?
I confess I’m all work when I’m on the road. I’ve yet to really come here as a vacationer and spend time enjoying this paradise. But I have friends who accompany me here and they have the time of their life! I live vicariously through them. And through many of the fans that come see my show –
seeing them on the beach and talking with them around town. This is a very special place not only to me, but to everyone who comes here. A lot of people make it their annual destination each year. Once you go GayPV, you never go back!
What is up coming for your artistic / music career for the future?
Ever since my Tony Award in 2010, I haven’t stopped working. I’m either on the road, on stage/set, or songwriting. With my own original material being featured in several prime time television shows, I’m grateful to be writing with several notable country songwriters now in Nashville. I’m a Tennessee boy, so it’s nice to be back where my best work relationships are. Let’s see, two films did outstanding the last several months,
appearing and taking honors in several film festivals. I continue to workshop new musicals in development. The best way to keep up with me is to follow \@levikreis on Instagram, because I’m certainly trying to spin a lot of plates. LOL.
What can your fans expect this season if they saw your show last year at ACT 2?
I love hearing this every year from fans: “I don’t understand how you can make me laugh so hard and then turn around and make me cry.” My secret is out! LOL. Ya know, it’s personal for me. I get attached to the folks I’m becoming acquainted with here. Unlike a lot of people in my industry, I have no use for posturing like I’m some important, untouchable dude. No way, man. The people here are so jolly. So friendly. I want to make memories with them as much as they want to make a musical memory with me. And this year will be a new show. I’m featuring music from artists and producers that I’ve personally worked with that coincidentally have all been Canadian. Puerto Vallarta has a lot of northern vacationers who will enjoy hearing the re-imaginings of some of the finest musical moments in Canadian musical history. And it ties into my own personal history with the music industry. Isn’t it ironic. Don’t you think?
Between being a actor and a singer/performer which do you enjoy the most and why?
Gosh, that is a tough one. Acting is fun because I get to be people that I would never be in real life. And lately I seem to be cast as villains. Which is super-fun for me because, in life, I tend to over-extend myself with kindness too much and then feel like a fool when others do not display that same openness. So it’s really fun to be the asshole for a change in my recent films. But music and songwriting is before, between, and after acting jobs. It’s my mistress that will always be there when I come home at night. My ever present companion. She’s special.
Your last album Liberated how is it doing?
Thanks for mentioning it! Another example where my audience at the Red Room in PV got to preview something before the rest of the world saw it. I brought a limited number of copies for our PV folks to have one month before it was officially released. It’s gone beautifully. Since Liberated, I’ve released a new Christmas album, two new singles and gearing up for some hot momentum this year with new music I”m currently writing with my Nashville friends. I’ve recently fallen head over heals back in love with what I do. It all feels new again and I’m just so energized.
Tell us about growing up gay in Tennessee and coming out.
You do realize that I could write a novel on this, right? LOL! Let’s just say I am a victor and proud of it. I’m a victor over 6 years of conversion therapy.
Over being denied education at a college for being gay – kicked out. Over being denied employment from multiple major record labels for being gay – kicked off.
Over being gay bashed with a brick to the back of the head in Hamilton Park, NJ. Over gay domestic violence, drug addiction, and I’m THRIVING, not surviving. Why? Because I’m not a victim. I’m a full grown man who understands that my fate makes me an authority on some things, and I choose to claim that power instead of soliciting pity. What doesn’t kill me has certainly made me a hell of a lot stronger. I don’t mean bitter. I don’t mean a hater. That is not strength. Loving those who persecute you is strength. Loving those you disagree with you is strength. That’s what I’m proud of. That’s Gay Pride to me. For despite all that I’ve gone through, it is my joy, my compassion, my wholeness, my success, that proves to others what it means to be a thriving, gay man. That’s the blueprint for my life.
What LGBT charitable causes and events are important to you?
There have been many over the years – a lot of benefits and fund raisers for our community along the way. HRC, Family Equality Council, Trevor Project. These days, I’m turning my focus more locally and trying to discover what I can do in East Tennessee to help support my local gay community. It’s easy to forget when you live in major cities that our community in middle America still has daily challenges that need attention and encouragement. I’m exploring local charities there at the moment.
Thank you so much for the conversation and asking me to tell my story. Can’t wait to have a blast this year with all of you.