Keala settles in Northampton for first panto

Published: 11 November 2022
Reporter: Steve Orme

The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk Credit: Graeme Braidwood

American actress Keala Settle, who played Lettie Lutz in the film The Greatest Showman, will be the fairy in the panto Jack and the Beanstalk at Northampton’s Royal and Derngate.

She commented, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be appearing in my first pantomime. Panto is such a beloved institution in this country and I’ve always wanted to be a part of one. It’s going to be an incredible experience and just what we need for this 2022 festive season.”

Horrible Histories’ Richard David-Caine will play the villainous Luke Backinanger, while Bob Golding will play Dame Trott and Alex Lodge, who played the eponymous role in the theatre’s 2021 panto Dick Whittington, will take the role of Jack.

Jo Gordon, Royal and Derngate’s chief executive, said, “we’re delighted to have Keala Settle joining our panto cast and to be working with the same great team that made Dick Whittington a success last year. Christmas is such a special time of year, when many children are introduced to theatre for the first time, and Jack and the Beanstalk promises to be one of our greatest pantomimes ever.”

Jack and the Beanstalk will be written by Paul Hendy of Evolution Productions. It will be directed by Emily Wood and Bob Golding. It will run from Friday 9 December until Monday 2 January 2023.

Meanwhile, in the Underground studio, Royal and Derngate will collaborate with Polka Theatre on Hattie Naylor’s adaptation of the festive story The Night Before Christmas.

The cast comprises two Northamptonshire actors. Dan McGarry will play Granddad and Father Christmas’s reindeer Blitzen, while Joanne Maroun will play Amber. The show will be directed by Polka’s associate director Roman Stefanski and designed by Kate Bunce. It will run from Friday 25 November until Saturday 31 December.