Jonathan Wilkes and Co return for panto season
POTTERIES star Jonathan Wilkes will return to the stage for this year's Christmas panto.
The Baddeley Green-born entertainer will once again take on a starring role in this year's festive production of Cinderella.
Jonny, a former pupil of Holden Lane High School, in Sneyd Green, will play Buttons in The Regent Theatre show, alongside Torchwood actor Kai Owen, who plays ugly sister Pixie, and Prince Charming Jonathan Bremner.
And Jonny admits he cannot wait to pull on his tights once again after being replaced by former EastEnders star Joe Swash last year.
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He said: "It is brilliant to be back. Last year we weren't here because a different company was brought in, but the best thing somebody ever said to me was 'it just wasn't the same without you'.
"So we are raring to go, it is going to be a laugh a minute. We can't wait to get going.
"We have got loads of surprises in store for everyone."
Jonny added: "Eric Potts does a great job of writing our scripts, but to be honest we never know what is going to happen when we get on stage on the night.
"It is hard work doing two shows a day every day but if the atmosphere is right then we can give 100 per cent to put on the best Christmas panto ever."
Rebecca Lisewski has been cast as Cinderella and said she cannot wait to return to The Regent Theatre.
She added: "I did a production of Cinderella at the theatre in 1999. Melinda Messenger was Cinderella back then and I was a dancer in the show, so I am really looking forward to coming back.
"I haven't worked with Jonny before but I went to college with his lovely wife, so I'm sure it will be fantastic fun."
Ugly sister Peaches is being played by Christian Patterson.
He said: "Stoke-on-Trent has become my second home, I love this city and I love the people here.
"I am always more than pleased to be back at the theatre and I am looking forward to every minute of it."
Stoke's Top Talent winner Carrie-Ann Williams, a 23-year-old student, of Congleton, landed the role of the Fairy Godmother after impressing the judges with her opera singing.
And she gave a rendition of Nessun Dorma at the show's official launch at Park Hall Farm, in Leigh, yesterday.
Guests got the chance to have their questions answered by the cast, who posed for photographs and sang a number of songs before enjoying lunch at the site.
Carrie-Ann said: "I am really excited about it and am really grateful for the opportunity."
Scriptwriter Eric, of First Family Entertainment, added: "The Regent Theatre is definitely one of our favourite venues.
"We missed being here last year and we are so thrilled to be back."
Cinderella is at The Regent Theatre, Hanley, from December 13 to January 4.
There will be two performances every day apart from on Tuesday, December 18, Christmas Day and New Year's Day when there will be none.
Prices vary between £9.50 and £24.50.
Times for the shows also vary and tickets can be bought online at www.atgtickets.com/stoke, by telephoning 0844 871 7649 or from The Regent Theatre box office.