Cinderella Tops 2014 Panto League Tables
Who's the fairest of them all? Cinderella, of course - and she's also the most popular of all when it comes to pantomimes. According to this year's Panto League table, published today by WhatsOnStage, the UK's leading theatre website, there are more productions being mounted up and down the country of Cinderella (22 in total) than any other pantomime title this Christmas.
The Top Six pantomimes for the 2013/14 season, as detailed on WhatsOnStage's new dedicated Pantomime Guide (www.whatsonstage.com/panto), are:
Cinderella - with 22 productions
Jack and the Beanstalk - 18 productions
Aladdin - 17 productions
Sleeping Beauty - 14 productions
Snow White - 14 productions
Peter Pan - 10 productions
Dick Whittington, with its pun-prone title, also slips into the field of frontrunners with ten productions if adults-only offerings, such as Dick Comes Again: Bigger, Longer, Harder!, are counted.
WhatsOnStage has been listing pantomimes - as well as every other type of performing arts genre - since 1997. Over the past 17 Christmases, Cinderella and Aladdin have regularly battled for the top spot, with Cinderella retaining the crown since 2011.
According to Kevin Wood, Chief Executive of pantomime producing giant First Family Entertainment, sponsor of the WhatsOnStage Panto Guide, Disney has much to answer for in helping the shows at the top of the Panto League table. "If Disney has made a film of the story, the title has instant recognition amongst children. Disney's version of Cinderella, though released back in 1950, remains a classic and has pride of place in most families Disney DVD collections, and Aladdin has benefitted ever since the Disney film came out in 1992."
But it's not all good news for Cinderella. While the 22 productions tally keeps her top of the League, it's far below her previous high; in the 1999 Christmas season, there were no fewer than 52 panto productions of the rags-to-riches fairy tale.
Terri Paddock, Managing and Editorial Director of WhatsOnStage, commented: "In general, we're seeing fewer pantomimes mounted in recent years. As of today, we're listing 125 pantomimes in our nationwide database for this Christmas as compared with a peak in 1996 of 244. Major pantomime producers such as First Family Entertainment are going from strength to strength with big, star-studded offerings that rival West End production quality but at a fraction of the ticket price for families. At smaller theatres, however, there seem to be a lot more alternative festive offerings."
Nationwide ticket giveaway
To celebrate the launch of the 2013/14 Panto Guide, First Family Entertainment and WhatsOnStage are giving away 100 pairs of tickets to ten different, star-studded, First Family productions across the country (in Aylesbury, Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Stoke on Trent, Woking and London's Richmond and New Wimbledon theatres). They include productions of five of the six most popular League Table choices: Cinderella (either at Bristol starring Louie Spence, or in Woking with Justin Fletcher), Aladdin (starring Scottish comedienne Karen Dunbar in Glasgow, or Jo Brand, in her pantomime debut, and Matthew Kelly, at the New Wimbledon Theatre), Snow White (with Warwick Davis in Milton Keynes or Jonathan Wilkes in Stoke), Peter Pan (with Ray Quinn in Liverpool or Henry 'The Fonz' Winkler in Richmond) and Sleeping Beauty (starring Anita Dobson in Aylesbury) as well as Dick Whittington (with Britain's Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey and Jodie Prenger in Manchester).
Competition ends 30 November. To enter, visit www.whatsonstage.com/panto.