Resigning pious professions and gay aversion-ism, a proudly queer, then 22-year-old Kreis ventured to New York, and later L.A., to pursue singing and acting. Subsequently, Kreis was featured as a break-out musician in an episode of The Apprentice, but his supporting role in 2001's Frailty was mostly edited-out. He jokingly dedicated his 2005 debut album, One of the Ones, to "all the boys I dated that I thought were the one," but ironically became a hit with heartland housewives when his music scored play on daytime soaps.
He performed songs from his then-upcoming second CD, The Gospel According to Levi, at Wrigley Field during the 2006 Gay Games, and returned to Chicago two years later, trading L.A. for Lincoln Park after getting a lead in "Million Dollar Quartet." Currently in its second extended run at the Apollo Theater, the musical opened last September. Kreis's spotlight-stealing performance—-playing a just-signed, 1956 Jerry Lee Lewis in a live jam session with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley--has been collecting critics' acclaim ever since. The Chicago Tribune called his portrayal, "One of the best theater moments of 2008."
But pshaw-ing the praise, Kreis modestly attests, "I'm lucky. It's like this part was just tailored to suit me," considering Lewis' similar southern roots, choral backgrounds and mutually aggressive piano playing.