British male celebrities seem united in their eagerness to disrobe for the UK’s gay publications — just about any boy-band member and soapie star, gay or straight, will happily disrobe if there’s an Attitude or Gay Times spread in it for them.
So it was for Daniel Boys, openly gay West End star who nuded up in a shoot for Gay Times last year.
“It’s so weird that I did that, because I’m so not confident about my body,” the affable performer told the Star Observer.
“I did it for an AIDS/HIV charity, and it was all very professionally done — there were no bits exposed. I just made sure I did a few sit-ups beforehand.”
Boys will be in Sydney this month performing his one-man cabaret show So Close at Slide Bar. With a background in musical theatre, he admitted he had some nerves when entering the cabaret world.
“I started doing my own cabaret shows about two years ago now. I remember wanting to do it but also being terrified — would people want to spend an evening just with me on stage?
“But as soon as I got up there and started, I loved it. I love being on stage just as me, telling stories from my own life and making people laugh.”
The show Boys brings to Australia is mostly comprised of songs from his recently-released debut album of the same name, “plus a couple of other favourites from my past. I mix it up a bit — there’s musical theatre songs, a country song, even a hip-hop song. The common thread is that they’re all songs I love”.
While the 32-year-old started his career over a decade ago, it was his 2007 appearance as a contestant in the BBC reality show Any Dream Will Do — an 11-part search for an actor to play Joseph in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat — that really lifted his public profile.
“In musical theatre here [in the UK], it’s all about profile. If you’ve done some TV or a soap opera, you can get parts much easier. So I was getting frustrated with the whole business when I saw the auditions being advertised.
“I thought, you know what? I’m going to have to play the game here. It was an unusual experience, standing up in front of 8,000,000 people on a Saturday night, but it really gave me my confidence back after a few years of not getting the jobs I wanted.”
It also meant Boys suddenly had to consider how he’d publicly deal with the issue of his sexuality.
“When I started the show, I told them I didn’t have any dirty secrets, the only thing they should know is that I’m gay. They advised me not to announce it while the competition was still running because it might affect my votes, but that if I was asked in an interview, it was up to me what I said.
“But I was never asked while the show was on, so it never came out. It’s not something I’d ever try to hide, though.”
info: Daniel Boys will play Slide on June 16 and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Visit www.danielboys.net