This August, The Regent Theatre will welcome back audience members for the first time in 526 days.
Musicals and live theatre performances were one of the things I really missed during the pandemic, and it was devastating to see two of the city centre’s stunning venues stood empty for so long. For me, theatre is about community, the shared experiences and the brief escape from reality – which was something we all craved in the last 16 months.
Since 1929, The Regent Theatre’s building has been providing a shared performance experience, firstly as a cinema before becoming the theatre venue we all know and love, and the Victoria Hall has stood in Hanley for even longer. That feeling in a live performance venue is the closest thing to magic – the atmosphere and the buzz in the air is incredible.
The first time the lights dim, and bums shuffle on mustard seats and the curtains rise post-lockdown is going to be enough to burst with excitement.
These are the seven shows I can’t wait to see at The Regent Theatre this year:
Grease – Monday, August 30 to Saturday, September 4, 2021
Grease is the word and the first musical back for an incredibly exciting week at The Regent. Dubbed the world’s ‘best loved’ musical with even more grit and glamour, I can’t wait to see the T-birds and pink ladies on stage.
The description reads: “After a whirlwind summer romance, leather-clad greaser Danny and girl-next-door Sandy are unexpectedly reunited when she transfers to Rydell High for senior year. But can they survive the trials and tribulations of teenage life and find true love once more?”
The Woman in Black – Monday, September 27 to Saturday, October 2, 2021
The ultimate way to welcome in the Autumn season with one of the spookiest shows I’ve ever seen. Jake and I saw The Woman in Black in November 2019, so I’m excited to see it return. This show will leave you glancing back over your shoulder for days.
This gripping stage adaptation of ‘one of the world’s most chilling tales’ features only two spoken roles, and the mysterious spectre. It’s been performed in the West End for over 30 years, seen by more than seven million people.
This dramatic piece of theatre is not one to be missed, full of twists, turns and jumps – it’s beautifully put together and executed for the ultimate fear factor. Read my previous review of the show here.
The Addams Family – Tuesday, October 12 to Saturday, October 16 2021
The description reads: “Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, is all grown up and has a shocking secret that only Gomez knows. She’s fallen in love with a sweet young man from a respectable family. With his cherished Morticia in the dark will Gomez manage to keep his daughter’s secret until the two families meet for a fateful dinner with hilarious consequences?”
The cast stars Samantha Womack, who featured in The Kingsman movies, and Scott Paige as Uncle Fester, who competed in the 2021 series of Channel 4’s The Circle.
Join them, plus Lurch, Pugsley and more for a heart-warming story of love, family and friendship… with a twist!
School of Rock – Tuesday, October 19 to Saturday, October 23, 2021
The 2003 film staring Jack Black is absolutely iconic, firmly one of the best feel-good movies you can watch over and over again – so I’m excited to see it adapted for stage.
The description reads: “Wannabe rock star Dewey Finn is cast out by his dive‐bar bandmates and finds himself in desperate need of cash. Posing as a substitute music teacher at an elite prep school, he exposes his students to the rock gods he idolises, transforming them into a mind‐blowing rock band. While teaching these pint‐sized prodigies what it means to truly rock out, Dewey falls for the school’s beautiful, but uptight headmistress, Miss Mullins, helping her rediscover the wild child within. But, will they all find redemption at the battle of the bands?”
The musical features all the original songs from the movie, plus and additional 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber – with the talented child cast playing instruments live at every show. I just hope their wardrobe department roped in Billy ‘Fancy Pants’ to assist in costume!
Rock of Ages – Tuesday, November 2 to Saturday, November 6, 2021
From Bon Jovi to Twisted Sister, Rock of Ages is a ‘jukebox musical’ built around classic 80s rock music – particularly the popular glam metal bands of the decade.
A must-see for any 80s music lover, this nostalgic show will have you dancing in your seats!
Waitress – Monday, November 26 to Saturday, December 4
Would you believe I’ve never seen Waitress? This Autumn, The Regent Theatre will help me tick off a bucket list show that’s been brought to life by a female-led creative team.
The show stars Lucie Jones as Jenna, as well as Emmerdale’s Sandra Marvin as Becky and Evelyn Hoskins as Dawn.
The description reads: “Meet Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of some happiness in her life. When a hot new doctor arrives in town, life gets complicated. With the support of her workmates Becky and Dawn, Jenna overcomes the challenges she faces and finds that laughter, love and friendship can provide the perfect recipe for happiness.”
And when the ‘hot new doctor’ is Busted’s Matt Willis, well, we can see why she’s fallen for him! And that’s not the only noughties nostalgia – remember Love Song, by Sara Bareilles? Well, the Grammy award-winning songwriter has produced the score, with screenwriter Jessie Nelson, famed for I Am Sam, with direction from Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus. Waitress is going to be extraordinary.
Cinderella – Friday, December 10 to Sunday, January 2, 2022
No Stoke-on-Trent Christmas is ever complete without a pantomime starring Jonny Wilkes and Christian Patterson.
Cinderella was set to be the seasonal show for 2020, but was postponed due to Covid, leaving the double act devastated that they couldn’t bring the festive spirit to Staffordshire. But this year, Cinderella shall go to the ball!
The Regent Theatre said: “Packed with all of the traditional pantomime ingredients audiences expect, Cinderella features laugh out loud comedy, stunning scenery, beautiful costumes and plenty of boos and hisses. Join Cinders as she goes from rags to riches, outwits her very ugly sisters and meets her dashing Prince Charming.”
Jonny has been entertaining the city in panto since 2005, with honorary Stoke Christian the Fanny the Nanny to Jonny’s Muddles, the Friar Tuck to his Robin Hood, and this year, the Baroness Hardup to his Buttons.
I can’t wait to hear the Stokie related, perfectly timed comedy, the 12 days of Christmas complete with toilet rolls, and to hear how Beryl is doing. If you know, you know.
Be sure to buy your tickets to this years’ shows early to avoid missing out – you can do that at ATG Tickets here.
Read more theatre reviews here:
- Sleeping Beauty pantomime at The Regent Theatre
- We love you Miss Hannigan – Annie at The Regent Theatre
- The Woman In Black at The Regent Theatre
- Madagascar the Musical at The Regent Theatre
- FAME on-stage at The Regent Theatre
- War Horse at The Regent Theatre
- Robin Hood at The Regent Theatre – Pantomime Review
- The Full Monty get their kit off at The Regent Theatre
- Nobody puts Baby in a corner – Dirty Dancing at The Regent Theatre
- Coppelia: a magical immersive show at New Vic Theatre