Stars of music and the small screen will be flying on a magic carpet ride as the cast for this year's pantomime in Northampton has been announced.
Former Eastenders actor Paul Nicholas as well as singers Jaymi Hensley and Sheila Ferguson will appear in Aladdin running from Friday December 8 to Sunday December 31.
Actor, singer and musical theatre legend Paul Nicholas will star as the evil Abanazar, the sorcerer hell-bent on finding the magical lamp capable of granting three wishes.
In a career that has spanned pop music, musical theatre and television, Paul is best known for originating the stage roles of Jesus Christ Superstar and Cats, and played the lead roles in Hair, Grease and Barnum in London’s West End and throughout the UK on tour, both as leading man and as a producer.
Most recently Paul was seen in Albert Square in the recurring role of neighbourhood nasty man Gavin Sullivan in EastEnders and earlier this year Paul travelled to India where he spent a month with seven other celebrity faces in The Real Marigold Hotel for the BBC. He was also one half of the couple 80s sitcom Just Good Friends.
Union J boyband member Jaymi Hensley stars in the title role of Aladdin, having made his pantomime debut for Qdos Entertainment last Christmas playing Peter Pan.
Having trained at the prestigious BRIT School for Performing Arts, Jaymi joined the boyband Triple J in 2011, a popular trio who entered the ninth series of ITV’s The X Factor. With an additional bandmate the band reformed as Union J, winning over the judges and audiences and coming fourth in the annual television talent competition.
Since then Union J went on to great success releasing the popular hit singles Carry You, Tonight (We Live Forever) and You Got it All as well as two studio albums, their self-titled top ten album Union J and You Got It All – The Album. Later this year Jaymi will be appearing on Celebrity Masterchef.
American singer, songwriter, actress and author Sheila Ferguson joins them as the Spirit of the Ring, Scheherazade. Best known for her music career as lead singer of the Three Degrees with hits including When Will I See You Again,
Sheila has forged a successful career including with musical theatre roles in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Soul Train, Fame and Daddy Cool in the West End and on television, including her own sitcom Land of Hope and Gloria and appearances in I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, Celebrity MasterChef and The Real Marigold Hotel, alongside her Aladdin co-star Paul Nicholas.
With the panto produced once again by Qdos Entertainment, Royal & Derngate audiences will enjoy yet another high-quality festive production and follow Aladdin, his hapless brother Wishee Washee and his mother Widow Twankey, on a spectacular adventure featuring a wish-granting genie, an evil sorcerer and a lamp-full of laughs.
Executive Producer of Aladdin Jonathan Kiley said: “Northampton is in for a real festive treat with this year’s spectacular panto and having Paul, Jaymi and Sheila at the helm it is sure to be an unmissable treat.
"After last year’s giant success with Jack and the Beanstalk we’re already working hard on yet another magical show full of boos, hisses, stunning vocals and lots of laughter.”
Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Royal & Derngate added: “Aladdin promises to be great fun for all the family, a real treat for all ages. We pride ourselves on offering a truly family friendly experience at Royal & Derngate, and it’s always a pleasure to see so many young people discovering the joy of theatre for the first time at Christmas.”
Audiences should make tickets to Aladdin one of their three wishes this festive season by hopping abroad a magic carpet and flying to the Box Office today.
Tickets are priced from £11 to £31 and can be booked by calling 01604 624811 or visiting www.royalandderngate.co.uk.