Jordan Luke Gage
21st June 2022
Photographer & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
Stylist & Art Director: Rory Mcnerney
Stylist Assistant: Oliver Slade
Clothes Designer: Corey Dixon / Somebody Else's Guy
Make Up Artist & Nails: Rita Nieddu
Make Up Artist Assistant: Juste Vaskeviciute
Hair: Lucy Muyanga
Interview: Tadek Chmiel
Logo Design: Emily Curtis
Assistant & Videographer: Joe Reed
Jewellery: Lucy Quartermaine & We Are PR
Shoes: ATIKA London
Jordan Luke Gage is fast becoming a West End staple, having played lead roles in numerous high-profile productions and amassing a large group of fans in the process. We caught up to talk about his latest role of Clyde Barrow in “Bonnie & Clyde”, playing at The Arts Theatre until 9th July, alongside what life was like before his big break and the challenges he is seeking for going forward.
Starring in the West End premiere of a musical which has built up a cult following since opening in the States back in 2009 must be incredibly exciting. However, was there anything you were nervous about when accepting the role?
I think I was nervous because I know how huge the part is, in comparison to other parts I’ve played. I barely leave the stage, so I was most nervous about how intense it was going to be in terms of the rehearsal process and also the songs, which are crazy high, so getting those into my voice. Then also in terms of the show, because it didn’t actually do that well when it was over in America back in 2009, it only lasted a couple of months.
That’s similar with a lot of those cult shows, like “Heathers” for example, that don’t necessarily do so well straight away…
Yeah, and then it’s afterwards when people listen to the soundtrack that they take off, so I was kind of a little anxious about how people would take the show, but people have absolutely loved it and gone crazy for it so all of my nerves and worries have evaporated.
You now seem like you’re at a stage in your career where you are moving from lead role to lead role, which is no mean feat, having recently played JD in “Heathers” and originating the role of Romeo in “& Juliet”. What is it that you now look for in a role when considering your next project?
I think I definitely look for one that is going to challenge me now, I like to do a job and feel like at the end of the show it’s been hard work. I don’t like to just settle and do something that’s easy and coast. I’m not in this industry to make money, I’m in this industry to be creative, so it’s definitely about finding characters that are exciting and also characters that are different to anything I’ve done before, because I want to be able to sink my teeth into every different kind of role. So, I guess just versatility within the characters.
Quite often people will see an actor experiencing your current levels of success, assume it happened overnight and that you’ve always been hopping from role to role. Can you shed some light on the reality of your journey from graduating drama school to where your find yourself in your career now?
Yeah, so I think when I graduated drama school, I thought it would be really easy to fall into playing parts in West End shows and actually, I wasn’t prepared for it. It took me six years from graduating to the point when I got my first West End lead. Between then I did do smaller projects, I did an Off-West End show, I did a cruise ship, that kind of thing, but in terms of my big break, it took me six years for that to happen. I always try and tell young performers to be realistic with their expectations of the industry. It probably isn’t just going to happen overnight, it rarely does for most people, it takes some time, hard work and grafting, but as long as you believe in yourself and persist and keep up the training, you’ll get there.
Do you think there was a particular thing that was a catalyst for you suddenly getting those lead roles?
I think it was like a switch in my mentality, I didn’t actually fully go for it enough until this one point. Basically, what happened was that I went on a cruise ship and while I was on the ship, I was performing every night and I just gained confidence from the feedback of the audiences and my stamina became better so when I landed and came back home, I just went for it 100% more than I have before. I think it was that gear shift that made the difference.
In 10 years’ time, what changes would you like to have seen within the musical theatre industry?
I would like to see more diversity still. I think things are slowly changing and that is amazing but there’s still some way to go, and that’s not just diversity in casts but across the board, in the creative team, back-stage, everything. I would also like for producers of shows to put the actors at the forefront of the production, because ultimately actors are the ones that are selling the tickets, so they should really hold them to a high regard and look after them.
As opposed to what would you say is being prioritised at the moment?
Well, not the show that I’m in at the moment, for the show I’m in at the moment the producers are fantastic and they really do care about us, but I know for a lot of shows they don’t prioritise the actors’ mental health, the well-being of the actors. I mean, to me, doing 8 shows a week in this current climate is something that we should maybe think of moving past at some point, it doesn’t need to be 8 shows a week, we all need lives. I know that in America on Broadway, the way that it’s run there is so much more favourable for the actors, they’re not tied into these long contracts. I think actors can easily feel disposable to these big companies and feel as though they’ll be easily replaced because there will always be another person that can do the job, but I think we need to make sure the actors feel supported and know their self-worth.