Today we welcomed our pantomime stars Julian Clary (Slave of the Ring) and Matt Slack (Wishee Washee) for a busy day of media interviews and photographs ahead of the opening of the spectacular new production of Aladdin.
Aladdin producer and director Michael Harrison, who was also at the media day said “You can’t beat a pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome – it’s the home of the UK panto, it’s such an intimate setting and our panto stars love it.”
Aladdin is a brand new production with new sets, costumes and breathtaking special effects including a magic flying carpet and stunning 3D.
Julian and Matt, in full pantomime costume posed for photographs for a large group of photographers and signed our new giant H which will be signed by all visiting companies.
Aladdin opens on 19 December and also stars Marti Pellow (Abanazar) and Lee Mead (Aladdin).
It’s probably going to be the hottest day of the year today but that doesn’t stop us from announcing the glittering cast for this year’s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.
We’re delighted that songstress Jane McDonald has chosen the Hippodrome to make her panto debut as The Enchantress. Jane is best remembered for Loose Women and the hit TV series The Cruise. Jane said today “I am so excited to be going in at the top with Britain’s biggest panto as my first.”
Playing the role of Jack is Duncan James from the band Blue who has already appeared in the West End in Chicago and Legally Blonde and also made it to one of the finals of Dancing on Ice. And, quite fitting as Fleshcreep is Chris Gascoyne, the cheating Peter Barlow from Coronation St who is currently involved in one of the soap’s biggest storylines on the Street for the past few years.
The panto will also feature Gary Wilmot, Paul Zerdin and Matt Slack who were such a hit with audiences in Snow White earlier this year.
Staged by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s largest pantomime producer, Jack and the Beanstalk is directed by Michael Harrison who created last year’s record-breaking pantomime at the theatre.
“We are thrilled that Jane, Duncan and Chris will lead the country’s biggest pantomime.” said Michael. “The sensational and outstanding cast, combined with stunning sets, fabulous costumes and top-drawer production values will make Jack and the Beanstalk another unmissable Birmingham Hippodrome pantomime.”
For further information and tickets click here #brumpanto
Say hi and follow our panto cast on twitter: @TheJaneMcDonald @MrDuncanJames @GaryWilmotactor @paulzerdin @mattslack123
Mandy Rose, Press and PR Officer blogs about the arrival of the Cinderella cast today
The final week of pantomime rehearsals is upon us and following a rehearsal week in London we finally welcomed the cast of Cinderella to Birmingham Hippodrome.
There’s a really lovely atmosphere around the building at the moment. The stage is being transformed into a magical Cinderella set, costumes are being unloaded and the cast have just completed a full run through.
Basil Brush's costume!
Tony Priestly, Head of Wardrobe took me to see the many costumes that had just come in. I actually saw a costume that had been especially made for Basil Brush (guilty pleasure as he’s a childhood hero of mine) and Brian Conley’s finale costume. It’s Brian’s 5th pantomime production with us – the first lead artist to achieve that many appearances in a Brum panto! Cinderella’s fairytale dress is amazing and clever – but unfortunately I can’t post a picture as it will spoil the surprise! Tony tells me there are just under 300 costumes in this production and that he’s really excited about showing them off to audiences. To be honest I don’t blame him. The costumes certainly are stunning.
I took the Heart FM breakfast crew up to rehearsals after my visit to wardrobe. Michael Harrison, Cinderella Director and Producer, kindly gave us all access today. I can’t give too much away but let’s just say that Ed James and Rachel New got involved with some mean choreography which you’ll be able to see on their website later this week.
Brian Conley and Lynda Bellingham being interviewed during rehearsals
Lovely to see Brian Conley back, he’s such a favourite with Hippodrome staff and Lynda Bellingham tells me she’s really enjoying rehearsals and looking forward to her debut as Fairy Godmother.
Once the set has been built (our crew are working around the clock) then technical rehearsals can start.
Cinderella opens at Birmingham Hippodrome this Saturday 17th December.
You can see more pictures from today in our gallery on the right.