English actor Jonathan Bailey is the feature of a photo shoot in this month's GQ, and the Olivier winner opens up about going from theatre to television, coming out, and starring in Netflix's Bridgerton. He has made a home for himself on the West End stage, making his debut in A Christmas Carol at the Barbican Theatre in 1996. Bailey is currently playing the lead in the Ambassador Theatre's revival of Cock, opposite Taron Egerton.
In 2018, Bailey starred in the gender swapped West End revival of Company which ran at the Gielgud Theatre for almost a year. He played the "(Not) Getting Married Today"-singing Jamie, and won an 2019 Olivier Award for his performance. The following year, he starred in the Netflix sensation Bridgerton as Anthony Bridgerton.
Speaking about his stage to theatre transition, Bailey says, "When you do a play, you share it with the audience every night" and then it's over, but GQ describes his recollection of working on Bridgerton as "all-enveloping."
His other theatre roles include starring as Jaime in The Last Five Years at the St. James Theatre and Tim Price in the original London cast of American Psycho at the Almeida Theatre.
As the conversation continues, the Olivier Award-winning actor opens up about his sexuality and his decision to come out. Early in his career, an actor friend shared some ill-fated advice they had received, as Bailey shared. "There's two things we don't want to know: if you're an alcoholic or if you're gay." That led him to believing he needed to hide his sexuality to find success and be happy. Reflecting on his changed perspective, Bailey shares, "I reached a point where I thought, fuck this, I'd much prefer to hold my boyfriend's hand in public or be able to put my own face picture on Tinder and not be so concerned about that than getting a part."
Bailey is currently starring in Cock, directed by Company director Marianne Elliott. It follows a gay-identifying man, John (Bailey), who's in a long-term relationship with his boyfriend (Egerton) but finds himself questioning his sexuality after striking a dreamy relationship with a woman. Elliott disclosed to GQ that she was thinking of Bailey when she came across the script. She said, "We'd read many scripts with the specific task of finding something for Jonny Bailey," before being appeased by Cock, which began its run March 5.