The pantomime is the 12th annual festive show at the East London venue and marks the official reopening of the theatre, which went dark at the beginning of the year. The family treat reunites the Hackney Empire pantomime team, with direction and a story by McKenna, music by Steven Edis and design by Lotte Collett.
Rowe is one of the UK’s most loved pantomime dames and has frequently starred in Hackney Empire’s festive shows. In 2008 he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance in Mother Goose. His other theatrical credits include Guys And Dolls at the National Theatre, for which he won a Laurence Olivier Award, Twelfth Night at the Open Air Theatre and UK tours of Jesus Christ Superstar and Little Shop Of Horrors. The actor is also a familiar face on screen, having starred in the BBC’s family favourite The Story Of Tracey Beaker and series including Doctors, Doctor Who and Dalziel And Pascoe.
Starring alongside Rowe is recent Guildford School of Acting graduate Jaygann Ayeh in the title role of Jack. The young actor is currently making his professional debut as Gary Coleman in Avenue Q at the Wyndham’s theatre. Chloe Taylor (understudy Glinda in Wicked) joins Ayeh as Off-Her-Trolley Molly.
Sharon D Clarke, who starred in the venue’s 2008 and 2009 pantomimes, will appear in this production in voice only, bringing the magical Golden Harp to life.
The rest of the cast is comprised of Kat B, Abigail Rosser, Tony Whittle, Jennie Dale, David Roberts, Gemma Baird and Cavin Cornwall.
Jack And The Beanstalk opens on 2 December (with previews from 27 November) and runs until 9 January