Stage is set for a magical pantomime in Leeds

The official launch of Aladdin at The Carriageworks Theatre with 911 star Lee Brennan as Aladdin, centre, Joe Connors playing Abanaza, Charley Maclaren cast as Princess Jasmine, Jez Edwards as Wishee Washee and Stephen Richards (aka Lola Lasagne) as Widow Twankey.  Picture Tony Johnson

The official launch of Aladdin at The Carriageworks Theatre with 911 star Lee Brennan as Aladdin, centre, Joe Connors playing Abanaza, Charley Maclaren cast as Princess Jasmine, Jez Edwards as Wishee Washee and Stephen Richards (aka Lola Lasagne) as Widow Twankey. Picture Tony Johnson

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A star-studded line-up will make panto fans’ wishes come true this Christmas with a performance of the magical family favourite Aladdin.

The Carriageworks Theatre will once again host its festive pantomime adventure, with Lee Brennan of boyband 911, stepping into the title role this year.

Lee shot to fame in the 1990s as lead singer in the successful pop trio, which had ten successive UK top 10 hits, three top 20 albums and sold more than 10 million records around the world.

As the panto cast was unveiled this afteroon outside the theatre on Millennium Square, Lee told the YEP he was looking forward to returning to the theatre stage.

“I haven’t done panto for seven years. I’ve done Aladdin before and I did Peter Pan for five years but this is my first time doing panto in Leeds. It’ll be fun, I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be a bit nervous - I still get nervous when I’m performing with the band - but once I get the first scene done I’ll be alright. I’m excited. I’ve done so much with 911 over the past couple of years, I just said to management I wanted to do panto at the end of the year. I’m happy with Aladdin. I wanted to play Aladdin more than Peter Pan this year as I think I’m too old to play Peter Pan now.”

This year will also see the return of children’s TV favourite Jez Edwards for his seventh Leeds panto.

The star, who married a couple of years ago in Leeds and recently moved from London to live near Bingley, said he has grown very fond of the city, adding: “Leeds means a lot to me, not just with panto.”

He told the YEP Leeds audiences are getting “better and better” each year - with many becoming familiar faces in the audience.

He said: “You recognise people and they talk to you on your way out of the theatre and say ‘This is our sixth year’. We’ve become part of family Christmases.

“The fact that people know what’s going on when they come here helps, because they need no warm up.”

Aladdin runs from December 4 to January 9 at The Carriageworks Theatre.