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Jordan Luke Gage: 'I want to be able to inspire young gay actors'

The West End performer plays a "sexually fluid" Romeo in the Oliver Award-winning musical

2021-11-03

Words: Thomas Stichbury; Photography: Joseph Sinclair

& Juliet star Jordan Luke Gage takes centre stage about learning to own his sexuality and his desire to “inspire” other young gay actors in the Attitude December issue, out now to download and to order globally.

Best known for his role as (ahem) Bard boy Romeo in the Olivier Award-winning musical - a ‘remix’ of Shakespeare’s classic love story to the sound of music maestro Max Martin’s biggest pop bops - Jordan says the platform has given him the confidence to open up about himself more.

“I don’t think I’ve ever publicly come out or announced my sexuality. I always get messages from people asking what my sexuality is and I never really address it, because my sexuality doesn’t define me, but then I’m also getting to the stage now where I’m realising my platform and I want to be able to inspire young gay actors. That’s why I’m starting to talk about it,” he explains.

Photography: Joseph Sinclair

“When I was new to the industry and just breaking into the West End and achieving my dream, I was trying to keep it all quiet because I wanted to portray this ‘perfect’ image of myself, and lots of my fans are young girls and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. But you can’t live your life in fear of disappointing people. I guess I’m almost coming out [publicly] through you now.”

The West End favourite, who previously soared in the Meat Loaf-packed Bat Out of Hell, admits he was anxious about coming out: “When you go to drama school, it is drilled into you the way you should be if you want to be a leading man. You need to be ‘masculine’ and have big muscles. It’s toxic masculinity and that can affect somebody’s confidence with their own sexuality.”

He continues: “It does go through your head, will I get cast? If people know my sexuality, will they put me in a box and think that I won’t be able to do a certain job? But it’s just so stupid; we’re actors at the end of the day. If you wouldn’t question it with a straight man playing a gay role, then why should it be the case the other way around?”

Jordan, 29, from Reading, points to the progressiveness of & Juliet, which recently returned from a lockdown-induced break to London’s Shaftesbury Theatre.

Jordan Luke Gage as Romeo in the West End's & Juliet (Photography: Joseph Sinclair)

“There are so many different types of people represented and that is my favourite thing; that we’re such a diverse cast. Any kind of child can sit in the audience and look on stage and see themselves because there are so many shapes, sizes, races, sexualities,” he beams.

“One of the things I love most about it [the show] as well [is] playing a character who is so stereotypically heterosexual, but in our version of it, he’s quite sexually fluid. There are lines, like Juliet says at one point, 'Did you all date Romeo?' and all of the men and women say, 'Yeah, I used to date him'. It’s not made into an issue. The point of the show isn’t Romeo’s sexuality; it’s almost brushed over as if it’s just ‘normal’.

“I kind of say that Romeo is bisexual, that’s how I would define him. It’s lovely to be able to play this take on a character that people have such [pre-existing] perceptions about.”

As for the most romantic thing he has ever done for somebody, Jordan has a real curtain-closer tucked up his sleeve.

“Once I was dating someone and he was in a show in Frankfurt, and I bunked off work for a week – I think I was working front of house at a theatre – and I flew out there and surprised him and he had no idea. I turned up at his theatre with flowers. That was quite romantic,” he smiles.

Read the full interview in the Attitude December issue, out now.

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