British Christmas pantomimes feature the Fonz and Pam Anderson

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The Independent Culture

Popular staged productions in the UK, called pantomimes, are updated classic children's tales, from Cinderella to Jack and the Beanstalk. This British tradition , during the Christmas holidays, are performed with vaudeville, audience interaction, singing, and humor, and also star famous actors.

This season, Henry Winkler, best-known for his cool leather-jacketed rebel in the American television series, Happy Days, performs this season as Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

Not just for children, these shows are updated to include timely references to news items, and include a character in drag. Winkler's panto, as the form is nicknamed, includes a Happy Days moment when the Fonz gives a look with a characteristic "Heyyy."

Winkler, a Yale drama school graduate, has appeared in films and the critically acclaimed TV series Arrested Development. He has co-authored the multi-million dollar series of Hank Zipzer children's books. This is the fourth time he has portrayed Captain Hook in the pantomimes.

English actor Ian McKellen has performed as Widow Twanky on stage in Aladdin and this year Canadian actress Pamela Anderson appeared as the genie in a London production.

In 2007, British actor Stephen Fry appeared in Cinderella at the Old Vic.

Winkler is selling out the 2,381-seat Liverpool Empire Theatre doing two shows a day, six days a week. In its review, the Liverpool Daily Post praised his villain for "swashbuckling energy." Show performances run through early January.