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Casey joins Rowe in Aladdin

Published 13 October 2009

Musical theatre star Anna Jane Casey is to join panto dame Clive Rowe (pictured) in the Hackney Empire’s forthcoming pantomime Aladdin, which opens on 3 December after previews from 28 November.

Casey, whose credits include the West End production of Chicago and the Menier Chocolate Factory productions of Forbidden Broadway and Sunday In The Park With George, plays the title role of Aladdin, leading a cast that also comprises Hackney panto regulars Tameka Empson and Kat B, plus Tony Whittle, David Ashley, Matt Dempsey, Claire-Marie Hall, Stephen Emery and Josephine Melville.

Writer/director Susie McKenna and composer Steve Edis’s annual pantomime at the Hackney Empire has become a much-anticipated event in London each festive season. Rowe, who has played the dame on numerous occasions, dons a dress once more to play Widow Twanky in this adventure story which promises flying genies, a singing camel and tap dancing pandas.

McKenna and Edis will be particularly busy this festive season as the duo’s version of A Christmas Carol is due to play at the Arts theatre from 11 November to 10 January. We Will Rock You and Holby City actress Sharon D Clarke will be heard in two places at once as she voices characters in both A Christmas Carol and Aladdin.

The end of this year’s Hackney pantomime, which finishes its run on 9 January, may well be a sad affair as it signals the beginning of the temporary closure of the venue, as it attempts to deal with its recent financial difficulties. This “period of reflection” is expected to last between six and nine months, with the venue promising to reopen for the 2010 pantomime.

CB 

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