As previously tipped (See The Goss, 15 Jun 2004), Lily Savage will bring her panto dame to the West End this Christmas. She’ll star as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which will have a limited season, for 50 performances only, at the Victoria Palace from 17 December 2004 to 23 January 2005.

Savage (aka actor Paul O'Grady) made her pantomime debut in Snow White at Birmingham Hippodrome in 1999. The show has since had festive seasons at Southampton and Manchester. Savage’s other stage credits include Annie and Prisoner – Cell Block H. She is also well known to TV viewers as the presenter of quiz show Blankety Blank. Out of drag, O’Grady was last seen in the West End as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Once an annual fixture, pantos have not been regularly seen in the West End in many decades (See Features, 19 Nov 2001). However, this Christmas, there will be two major West End productions. In addition to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, produced by Paul Elliott for Qdos Entertainment, the Old Vic will mount a high-profile production of Aladdin, starring Sir Ian McKellen as dame Widow Twankey.

Currently at the Victoria Palace, Rod Stewart musical Tonight's the Night finishes a year-long run on 30 October 2004 (See Today’s News). In 2005, Snow White will be followed by the much-anticipated Billy Elliot - The Musical, which opens on 11 March. The adaptation of the hit 2000 Brit flick was launched to the press yesterday by director Stephen Daldry, writer Lee Hall and singer-songwriter Elton John, who has written the original score (See News, 22 Jun 2004).

- by Terri Paddock