DAY BY DAY a West End production of the legendary rock musical Godspell by Havering College is getting closer.
The college in Hornchurch, Greater London, is staging the timeless classic at Her Majesty's Theatre in Haymarket next month (May).
Props are being produced and costumes created while the cast of 70-plus singers, musicians and performers are going through the final phase of rehearsals ready for the big night ahead on Sunday, May 3rd.
Written in the 1970s by the Grammy and Academy Award-winning Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz, the Havering College production of Godspell is a community CrossOver project, involving schools and learning organisations from Havering.
Cast members range from the age of six upwards and include performers with learning or physical challenges.
Director/producer Peter Dayson, who lectures in Music at Havering College, has opted for a contemporary setting in a park, where the actors and children use biblical
parables in a topical way to tell the story of Christ's life from the beginning through to the crucifixion and resurrection.
The production incorporates great musical numbers ranging from Day By Day and Oh Bless The Lord My Soul, to the soul searching lyrics of By My Side and On the Willows.
Peter Dayson said: "Godspell is a huge challenge but our production is coming together really well. The original cast in the 1970s included David Essex as Jesus and Jeremy Irons as Judas - our production may also create some new stars.
"This is the ninth Havering College CrossOver Project and it will be the second time we have staged Godspell. Our community shows are unique and award winning. We are very much hoping in the future to take this project abroad. Taking part is a life-changing experience for the young people who get involved in these shows.
"I am extremely grateful to The Really Useful Theatre Group for allowing us to stage Godspell for one night only at Her Majesty's Theatre - the home of Phantom of the Opera."
Among the 2015 Godspell cast are Havering College first year BTEC Music Performance students Millie Sharpe, 18, from Rainham; Louise Heather, 17, from Dagenham and Rebecca Grace, 17, from Rainham who will performing solos.
Millie, a former pupil of both Sanders School, Hornchurch and St Martin's School in Brentwood, said: "It's really exciting but at the same time it's nerve-racking. We are practising every minute as we want to do the show justice."
Louise, who previously attended All Saints School in Dagenham, said: "It is an overwhelming experience. At first we didn't know what we had put ourselves up for but we are enjoying every second."
Classmate Rebecca, a former pupil of Brittons Academy in Rainham, said: "I am really nervous but excited. My family are coming to see the show. I have performed at that theatre before as part of a choir – to be back on such a special stage will be amazing."
Level 3 BTEC Art & Design student Chloe Stockwell, 16, from Hornchurch, who previously attended Sanders School in Hornchurch, is gaining invaluable skills by making props for the show and has crafted a spectacularly colourful ten foot tree.
Chloe, who is considering a career in theatre design, said: "I have made props before but never something on this scale. My representation of a tree is made from wood, chicken wire and ModRoc modelling bandage. It has taken five weeks to complete and paint. It's been a good experience and on the day I am going to be helping back stage."
Havering College of Further and Higher Education has a proud history of award-winning productions and holds Artsmark Gold status from Arts Council England in recognition its commitment to, and excellence in, arts education.
Last season's college production of Synergy Street at Her Majesty's Theatre received rave reviews and was included in award winning entries which saw Havering College presented with the 'Contribution to the Local Community Award' at the 2015 TES FE Awards and named 'Best Business in the Community' at the 2014 Havering Business Awards.