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'Panto's going to be our best yet'

Pop star Faye Tozer, best known as one-fifth of the group Steps, is to star in Aladdin at Newcastle Theatre Royal this Christmas.

Pop star Faye Tozer, best known as one-fifth of the group Steps, is to star in Aladdin at Newcastle Theatre Royal this Christmas.

She replaces Jill Halfpenny in a now familiar line-up which sees the return of Craig Conway (Jill's husband) and father-and-son comedy duo Clive Webb and Danny Adams.

It will be the third panto produced for the venue by Wallsend-born Michael Harrison, who said: "We've had two enormously successful years at the Theatre Royal and this year will be the best yet.

"We have a fantastic cast, great sets, amazing costumes and I've also been working on another magical element in the show. For the very first time we will have stunning 3D effects."

Aladdin will run from December 3 until January 19. For tickets telephone 0870 905-5060 or visit www.theatreroyal.co.uk.

Meanwhile, the Sunderland Empire has announced that Les Dennis will play Buttons and Newcastle singer Michelle Heaton, of Liberty X, will star as Cinderella in the theatre's first panto since 2003.

They will be joined by Michelle's husband, Andy Scott-Lee, who will play Prince Charming.

Anyone looking for connections between the two pantos will know that Andy's sister, Lisa, was also in Steps.

South Shields-born Dale Meeks, recently Simon Meredith in Emmerdale, will play Prince Charming's valet and friend, Dandini.

The Sunderland panto will run from December 8 until January 8.

For tickets, tel: 0870 602-1130, or www.sunderlandempire.org.uk

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