MUSICAL theatre stalwart Darren Day has just finished playing Billy Flynn in Chicago and now he’s out on the road as the Reverend in Footloose The Musical.

He says it’s an age thing… “I’m so happy to be playing the Reverend. Over a decade ago I met with the producers for Footloose and Chicago within about three months of each other. I was told I didn’t look old enough!

“So the only downside of me playing these two roles back-to-back is that I must now look old enough!

“Since those meetings all those years ago, Billy Flynn and the Reverend have been on my bucket list of roles I desperately wanted to play, so to get the opportunity to play them both in one year is incredibly exciting for me. I feel deeply grateful.

“Also, having a teenage daughter myself in real life, I have a lot of ‘method’ experience to draw upon! It’s tough letting your little princess out into the big bad world.”

The stage musical is, of course, based on the 1984 blockbuster film Footloose, which tells the story of city boy Ren who moves to the small town of Bomont to live with his aunt and uncle in the rural Southwest.

While attending church, Ren meets Reverend Shaw Moore, his wife Vi, and daughter Ariel. Besotted by Ren, Ariel recklessly endangers her life by rebelling against Shaw's strict religious nature, greatly annoying her friends and boyfriend Chuck Cranston.

Darren says the stage musical version remains fresh because of songs such as Holding Out for a Hero, Almost Paradise, Let’s Hear It For The Boy and, of course, the title track Footloose.

“The great thing about Footloose which I think separates it from other ‘jukebox’ shows is that Dean Pitchford wrote the songs specifically for the movie,” he says. “So not only are these songs instantly recognisable the second the intro to them begins, they also carry the plot forward in a very truthful way. Apologies for that sounding incredibly arty and theatrical, but they do!

“These are massive hit tunes that everyone recognises, along with a strong and beautiful storyline. It’s a really feel-good show no doubt about it.”

Darren’s favourite moment in the show is, unsurprisingly, his solo song, Heaven Help Me.

“It’s a brilliant tune with beautifully written lyrics,” he says. “Also, the poignant moments with the Reverend’s daughter are lovely to play – and the revelations that happen to him.  

“My favourite moment in the rehearsal room was when I sat and watched the cast perform the opening number of the title song.

“I got goosebumps and thought to myself if this is how it feels in a rehearsal room, the way it’s going to feel with a set, costumes and on a stage with an audience will be breathtaking.”

Darren Day will play the Reverend and will be joined by Dancing on Ice winner Jake Quickenden (as Willard) in Footloose The Musical at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, from Monday 13 until Saturday 18 June.