INTERVIEW: Daniel Boys chats about starring in Nativity! The Musical

Nativity! the Musical, based on the smash hit film has just opened in Birmingham, ahead of a christmas run in London and Leeds. I caught up with Daniel Boys to have a chat about the show.

You have performed in some amazing shows so far in your career. What have been some of your highlights?
When I was in drama school I always wanted to play Tony in West Side Story, because it is to me one of the most perfect musicals, so when I got to play that role in the European tour it was a dream come true for me. It was such a joy to be touring around Europe seeing some beautiful towns and cities and singing that wonderful score every night. Of course also, Avenue Q in 2010! I feel so lucky to have been part of that show, there’s never been anything like it and I don’t suppose there will be. It was such a unique and fun show, and I spent two years in it, absolutely loving every show!

You are about to star as Mr Maddens in the Musical stage adaption of the film Nativity! Touring around the UK this Christmas. I watched the film for the first time this week and loved it. What attracted you to the show and to the part you are playing?
I knew the film anyway, I think I watched it for the first time about five years ago and it has since become a Christmas tradition. I’m such a huge fan of Christmas by the way – I get very excited by it every year – so I do watch a lot of Christmas films and Nativity! Is one of my favourites! When I heard they were putting together a stage production I knew I wanted to be part of it – I actually auditioned for the role in some earlier workshop versions of it. Plus, I’m a huge fan of Martin Freeman so obviously I wanted to play his role!

For anyone who hasn’t seen the film, what is the story and does the stage show differ from the original?
The story is about Mr Maddens, who is a primary school teacher at St Bernadette’s School in Coventry, and who doesn’t like Christmas because his girlfriend dumped him at Christmastime five years before we catch up with the story. He’s a bit down, he doesn’t particularly like his class as he thinks they’re a bit naughty so when he gets told he has to direct the Nativity play he really doesn’t want to do it. He then gets a new teaching assistant, Mr Poppy. The story is basically about Mr Poppy and Mr Maddens trying to direct a Nativity and I tell a little white lie that Hollywood are coming to see it which then gets out of control. So then I need to work out how on earth to get Hollywood to come over to see the Nativity! That’s the story in a nutshell!

The stage show does not differ at all! If you love the film you’re going to get the same story with all the great songs from the movie plus lots more and if anything, we can delve deeper into characters in the stage show.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the theatre industry and why?
That’s a very hard question! This is going to sound cheesy but my inspirations are my friends and colleagues who have worked so hard to get where they are and have spent many years not working and suddenly they get their big break and the recognition they deserve. It really is inspiring to see that and I get so happy and so moved when that happens to my friends as this industry is so tough, especially nowadays.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Lots of things have happened! Forgetting lines, cracking on notes – we all do it – it’s very embarrassing and mortifying at the time but then you realise it’s just a show and actually the audience sometimes love it when things go wrong!

I remember when I was in Grease, and we were about to sing the song ‘Mooning’ and a fly decided to land on my hand and I remember Louise looking at this fly and then looking at me and we both lost the plot and started crying with laughter. It was mortifying but because you know it’s so naughty you can’t stop! I also worked with Mel Giedroyc and we came forward to sing a duet and I just couldn’t stop laughing. She’s a very fun woman on stage!

We are living in a time where films are often being turned into stage plays and musicals. If you had to choose one, what film would you like to see adapted to the stage?
That’s a hard question too! I do like films with animals in them, I’m such a sucker for that. There’s a film called Hachi with Richard Gere, about a dog, and it’s such a beautiful and heartbreaking story that it might be wonderful to see. However, you’d need a very talented dog!

I also think The Notebook is a beautiful story which could be really lovely on stage.

If you won the lottery and could stage one theatre show of your choice, what would you choose and who would be your dream cast?
I’ve always said if I won the lottery I would love to buy a plot of land in London and build a theatre. I would love to cast, obviously my friends, but also it would be nice to cast new, fresh faces and people that you think are really talented. I think a show I would love to stage would be The Hunchback of Notre Dame as they music in that is absolutely stunning.

Why do you think people should come and see Nativity! The Musical around the UK this Christmas?
If I’m honest, I think Nativity is the most perfect Christmas show! You’d have to have a heart of stone to not love this and get involved in the show, especially I the part when the kids are putting on their school nativity. You’ll be moved, you’ll be laughing, there’s loads of Christmas music and it’s the perfect feel-good family Christmas show.

And finally (and perhaps most importantly), what are you asking Santa for this year?
I always struggle actually! It drives my Mum crazy when she asks what I want and I don’t really know! If money was no object I would love to go on a safari to see lions and zebras in the wild, so if there are any rich Santas out there, that’s what I would like!

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

Thanks for having Tea With Wilma