Gavin Lee
Lee in 2019
Born (1971-10-15) 15 October 1971 (age 52)
  • Actor
  • singer
  • dancer
Years active1990–present
Emily Harvey
(m. 2005)

Gavin Lee (born 15 October 1971) is an English actor who has appeared on the stage in musical theatre, notably as Bert in the musical Mary Poppins, in both the West End and on Broadway, and as Squidward Tentacles in the original Broadway cast of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical.

Early life

Lee is an alumnus of the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts after which he has been involved in various musicals as a performer and choreographer.


Lee appeared in the dance play Contact in the West End at the Queen's Theatre, opening in October 2002.[1]

In 2004, Lee auditioned to be the Bert understudy in the London production of Mary Poppins, but won the role outright. He originated the role of Bert in the original West End production. He also starred as Bert in the Broadway production of Mary Poppins.[2] He was chosen for the Broadway role because of his critically acclaimed performance as Bert in the West End production. He departed the Broadway production after nearly two years to launch the US National Tour, but returned to the Broadway production in August 2010 until January 2013. Lee was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical at the 2005 Olivier Awards and the 2005 Theatregoer's Choice Awards for originating the West End role of Bert. For his Broadway performance, Lee was nominated for the 2006 Outer Critics Circle Awards (Outstanding Actor in a Musical) and the 2007 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. He also won the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Featured Actor in a Musical and an award for Outstanding Broadway Debut at the 63rd annual Theatre World Awards. In August 2007, Lee was added to Sardi's caricature gallery with other Broadway actors.[3]

In June 2008, Lee performed in a concert version of Show Boat at Carnegie Hall as Frank Schultz.[4] He has performed as part of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera film adaptation, appearing as one of the singers/dancers in the "Masquerade" scene.

Lee and former London co-star Laura Michelle Kelly performed as Bert and Mary Poppins in the America Celebrates 4 July at Fords Theatre in front of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on 6 June 2010. The special aired on 2 July 2010 on ABC.[5] Lee again reunited with Kelly when he returned to the role of Bert in the Broadway production of Mary Poppins on 24 August 2010.[6]

He took over the role of Jerry Travers in the West End production of Top Hat beginning 5 February 2013.[7] He joined the Broadway revival of Les Miserables as Thenardier beginning 3 March 2015.[8]

Lee played Squidward Tentacles in SpongeBob SquarePants, the Broadway Musical. The stage musical premiered at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, and ran from June to July 2016.[9] Lee reprised his role as Squidward for the Broadway run of the musical, starting with November 2017 previews at the Palace Theatre[10] and remaining until it closed in September 2018.[11] Lee was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his role as Squidward.

In June 2019, he appeared at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, taking on the role of Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast.[12] He reprised the role in the 2021 UK tour.[13] The production then transferred to the West End's London Palladium for a limited engagement beginning June 2022.[14]

On February 17, 2020, he performed the Manhattan Concert Productions' 50th-anniversary celebration of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center. He played the Butler.

Lee returned to the Paper Mill Playhouse to play Max Detweiler in its production of The Sound of Music from December 2–January 1, 2023.[15] He then went on to star in the tribute revue Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends, which opened at the Gielgud Theatre on 3 October 2023 following preview performances that began on 21 September.[16] The production is scheduled to run until 6 January 2024.[17]

Personal life

Lee is married to Emily Harvey, an American actress who was playing the role of Mme Firmin in London's The Phantom of the Opera during his own run in London in Mary Poppins. They have 3 children.

Theatre appearances

Year Show Role Venue Notes
2023 Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends Himself/Various Gielgud Theatre
2023 Oliver! Fagin New York City Center Encores!; Standby but went on several performances during the 11-day run
2022 The Sound of Music Max Detweiler Paper Mill Playhouse
2021 Beauty and the Beast Lumière UK Tour & London Palladium Reprising his role from the 2019 Paper Mill Playhouse production
2020 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Butler David Geffen Hall
2019 Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol Mr. Magoo/Scrooge Gerald W. Lynch Theater
2019 Beauty and the Beast Lumière Paper Mill Playhouse
2018 Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical The Grinch US National Tour In Chicago, Boston, and New York
2017 SpongeBob SquarePants Squidward Tentacles[10] Palace Theatre Broadway production; originated role
2016 Oriental Theatre Originated role
2015 Les Misérables Monsieur Thénardier Imperial Theatre Replacement
2014 Holiday Inn Ted Hanover Goodspeed Opera House Replacement
2013 Top Hat Jerry Travers Aldwych Theatre Replacement
2010–2013 Mary Poppins Bert New Amsterdam Theatre Return to role
2009–2010 US National Tour Originated role
2008 Show Boat Frank Schultz[18] Carnegie Hall
2006–2008 Mary Poppins Bert New Amsterdam Theatre Broadway production; originated role
2004–2006 Bristol Hippodrome & Prince Edward Theatre West End production; originated role
2002 Contact Aristocrat Queen's Theatre
2002 Let's Kick Arts Ensemble Bridewell Theatre
2002 Aladdin Wishee Washee Devonshire Park Theatre
2001 Zip Goes a Million Percy Piggott The Theatre Museum
2001 DuBarry Was a Lady Harry/Captain of the Guard Her Majesty's Theatre
2001 Peggy Sue Got Married Richard Shaftesbury Theatre Originated role
2000 Whenever Oscar Stephen Joseph Theatre
1999 A Saint She Ain't Danny O'Reilly Apollo Theatre & King's Head Theatre Originated role
1999 Of Thee I Sing J.P. Wintergeen Bridewell Theatre
1999 Jubilee Prince James Her Majesty's Theatre Also choreographer
1998 Singin' in the Rain Don Lockwood Haymarket Theatre
1998 Oklahoma! Slim National Theatre Originated role
1998 Snoopy Linus Watermill Theatre
1997 Saturday Night Male Vocalist Bridewell Theatre Originated role
1997 Crazy for You Bobby Child National Tour
1993 Swing Prince Edward Theatre
1996 Immaculate Deception Rosenburg Wimbledon Studio Theatre
1984 Flower Drum Song Wang San Wolsey Theatre
1983 Bugsy Malone Seymore Scoop Her Majesty's Theatre West End debut

Cast recordings



Awards and nominations

Tony Awards

Note: The year given is the year of the ceremony

Year Award Performance Result
2007 Best Actor in a Musical Mary Poppins Nominated
2018 Best Featured Actor in a Musical SpongeBob SquarePants Nominated

Drama Desk Awards

Note: The year given is the year of the ceremony

Year Award Performance Result
2007 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Mary Poppins Won
2018 SpongeBob SquarePants Won

Laurence Olivier Awards

Note: The year given is the year of the ceremony

Year Award Performance Result
2005 Best Actor in a Musical Mary Poppins Nominated


  1. ^ "Broadway hit 'Contact' at Queens in Oct 02" Archived 14 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 13 March 2016
  2. ^ Gans, Andrew (21 May 2008). "Lee Will Join Brown for National Tour of Mary Poppins". Playbill. Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  3. ^ McBride, Walter (31 August 2007). "Brown & Lee Reveal Sardi's Caricatures". Retrieved 1 September 2007.
  4. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Principal Casting Complete for Carnegie Hall 'Show Boat'" Playbill, 7 May 2008, retrieved 23 November 2017
  5. ^ "Glover, Kelly, Van Dyke et al. Featured in July 4 Celebration to Air 7/2", 2 July 2010
  6. ^ "Gavin Lee Will Return to Broadway Cast of 'Mary Poppins'" Archived 13 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Playbill
  7. ^ "Gavin Lee Set to Join West End's 'Top Hat', Feb 5", Retrieved 3 March 2013
  8. ^ "Breaking News: 'Les Miserables' Announces New Leads for Second Year on Broadway; Plus Tony Nominee Ramin Karimloo Extends!", Retrieved 31 January 2015
  9. ^ Rickwald, Bethany. "Gavin Lee, Nick Blaemire, and More Join 'The SpongeBob Musica'l Cast", 19 February 2016
  10. ^ a b Barone, Joshua (5 June 2017). "SpongeBob SquarePants Musical to Open on Broadway". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "'SpongeBob' Musical Will Close on Broadway and Plan for a Tour", Retrieved 13 January 2019
  12. ^ Clement, Olivia (30 April 2019). "Gavin Lee, Belinda Allyn, Tally Sessions, and More to Lead Paper Mill's Beauty and the Beast". Playbill. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  13. ^ Wood, Alex (30 April 2021). "Disney's Beauty and the Beast tour announces full cast". WhatsOnStage. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  14. ^ Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will play London Palladium This Summer Playbill, January 21, 2022
  15. ^ Ashley Blanchet, Graham Rowat, and Gavin Lee to Lead Paper Mill's The Sound of Music Playbill, October 19, 2022
  16. ^ "Photos: Get a 1st Look at Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends, Starring Bernadette Peters, Lea Salonga, More". 22 September 2023. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  17. ^ "Photos: Get a 1st Look at Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends, Starring Bernadette Peters, Lea Salonga, More". 22 September 2023. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  18. ^ "Fish Got to Swim, Birds Got to Fly, Genres Got to Meld", Retrieved 24 January 2019
  19. ^ "Killer Song", retrieved 14 April 2019