Lee Bright does his 14th panto this year in his 20 years in the business, stepping into the Aladdin shoes for the first time.
Aladdin is at the Regis Centre from Tuesday, December 12-Tuesday, January 2 – and it’s a role Lee is looking forward to getting his teeth into.
“The first one I did was Dick Whittington in Dick Whittington, and I think I have done that role three times. I have also played various princes, and I have also played Robin Hood in Robin Hood and the Beast in Beauty and The Beast.
“They are all very different roles. The prince is quite often stand-alone singing and being the love interest. Aladdin will be a bit more interesting. He is involved in more of the comedy and more of the story.
“The prince can be quite boring. Last year, I was Buttons. It’s a nice acting role, but also really good contact with the audience as well and very high-energy, great fun to do.
“I think Aladdin has got to be fresh and young and with lots of energy. Aladdin is a character who wants people to like him. He needs to keep people happy, but he is also driven and ambitious. He lives on the streets and doesn’t have very much, but he is also aspiring to bigger and better things. There is a confidence about him. He is ready to take on the world!”
Lee graduated from drama school in 1998: “I went to Mountview in north London and was on the musical theatre course. Most of my work over the years has been in musical theatre. My first job was in Grease in the West End. I had a couple of my own songs in that. I was very fortunate. That has always been one of the highlights for me.
“I had an ambition from when I was a nine-year-old that I wanted to be in a West End musical and play a key role, and that ticked both those boxes in my first job. It was fantastic. I have also been fortunate enough to work quite a lot in America and Canada and Europe over the years.”
Performing wasn’t remotely in his direct family: “I grew up in a small village in Cornwall where boys didn’t have dance lessons!”
It took him a couple of years to persuade his parents. He got involved in local theatre and made his professional debut in Plymouth at the age of ten.
“I then got into drama school at the age of 17. I was three or four years younger than lots of other people, and the course was great.
“It was a bit of a blur at first, coming from a small village in Cornwall to being in London, but once I got used to it, it gave me all the training I needed and my first job in musical theatre, and so it has gone on over the years.”
Aladdin is at the Regis Centre, Bognor from Tuesday, December 12-Tuesday, January 2. Tickets are available from alexandratheatre.co.uk or 01243 861010.