Celebrate Galentine’s Day with your girl friends in the West End
Valentine’s Day is coming up, but so too is Galentine’s Day. That’s right: on February 13, you can shower love on the amazing girls in your life, celebrating friendships rather than romance. Galentine’s Day is actually the brainchild of the good-hearted fictional character Leslie Knope (played by comic actress Amy Poehler), star of TV sitcom Parks and Recreation. On the show, Leslie gathers her friends together every February 13 for brunch and presents: as she puts it, “ladies celebrating ladies”.
Galentine’s Day is such a great idea that it’s transcended television to become an actual holiday on the annual calendar, celebrated by those around the world who want to pay tribute to the great women in their lives – whether it’s their mothers, sisters, friends or colleagues. The day is all about bringing women together, from all generations.
So, if you’re keen to have your own Galentine’s Day celebration with the incredible gals in your life in 2022, why not book to see one of London’s musicals that empower women for an unforgettable girls night out? The West End is full of fantastic options to suit all tastes. Here are our picks for a perfect Galentine’s Day theatre trip!
Disney’s megahit film has become a magical stage musical, transporting the kingdom of Arendelle to the lavishly refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Frozen has the familiar story, but with some interesting tweaks and additions to further explore Elsa’s struggles with her uncontrollable powers and the pressure to seem perfect, as well as her tempestuous relationship with sister Anna: both wanting to help and connect with the other, but working at cross purposes.
It’s thrilling to see a big musical with a female relationship put centre stage, and you’ll almost certainly find resonances in your own Galentine’s Day gang – plus you get to enjoy all those indelible songs, from “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” to “Let It Go”, as well as a new duet for the sisters, “I Can’t Lose You”. Add to your special outing by treating everyone to a glass of Champagne or a specially crafted cocktail at the theatre’s stylish Cecil Beaton Bar.
Another epic musical built around the bond between two women – plus a dose of magic – is the incredible West End long-runner Wicked. The show flips the Wizard of Oz story on its head, giving us a whole new view of the supposedly Wicked Witch of the West, here a misunderstood green-skinned outsider called Elphaba, and her complex, opposites-attract friendship with the Good Witch Glinda.
Although Wicked is a fantastical tale, there’s plenty here that you and your Galentine’s Day pals will probably have experienced, whether it’s giving someone a makeover, testing that friendship when you fall for the same guy, or realising how your differences have made you both stronger and better people. Add in an amazing score from Stephen Schwartz, with songs like “Popular”, “For Good”, and “Defying Gravity”, and a huge production with jaw-dropping design, and this is a girls trip for the ages.
Another exciting possibility to see in London for Galentine’s Day is Tina – The Tina Turner Musical — a musical about a woman whose courage, resilience and sheer genius inspires you all. The biographical show explores the extraordinary life of Tina Turner, who started from humble origins in Nutbush, Tennessee, and overcame a difficult family situation to pursue her dreams. She had great commercial success with her husband Ike Turner, but their marriage was increasingly abusive – leading to her striking out on her own and starting all over again with nothing but her name. That and her talent was all it took: she became a trailblazing rock ‘n’ roll solo artist and a musical icon.
This electrifying show features Turner’s numerous hits, from “River Deep Mountain High” and “Proud Mary” to “Private Dancer”, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” and “The Best”, ending with a mini concert that will have all of your Galentine’s Day girls up on their feet and cheering a legend.
A wacky romcom plot, a fantasy Greek island and ABBA: the makings of a perfect girls night out. This joyous musical puts female relationships at the heart of its story, centering on Donna and her lifelong friends, Tanya and Rosie, as well as Donna’s bond with daughter Sophie. That’s not surprising since the show also has a crack female creative team – it’s written by Catherine Johnson, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and produced by Judy Craymer.
As well as satisfyingly written women, it offers hugely welcome escapism. Ditch the British drizzle and have a mini break on the island of Kalokairi, where the costumes are colourful and everyone sings ABBA hits: “Thank You for the Music”, “Voulez-Vous”, “Take a Chance on Me”, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, “The Winner Takes It All”, and the great title track. Take your Galentine’s Day dancing queens and have a ball.
Go on – treat yourselves! Channing Tatum has brought his smash-hit striptease film to the stage, offering a live, close-up view of these buff world-class performers dancing for your pleasure. The Hippodrome Casino has a 360-degree stage, meaning every seat in the house is a great one, and the show is a thrilling mix of explosive, high-octane acrobatic acts and slow, sensual numbers, as well as variety show entertainment.
It’s an inclusive experience that prioritises equality, female desire and contemporary ideas – think fantasies like a handsome CEO advocating for equal pay – alongside its enjoyable naughtiness, and which features a mix of music and dance, blending tap and hip-hop, Justin Timberlake and 50 Cent. You can add to the fun with a steak dinner or tea-infused cocktails. There will be something here for everyone in your (18+!) Galentine’s Day group, and you’ll have plenty to talk about the next time you see them all, too…
What could be better for a Galentine’s outing than a herstory hit in which six queens reclaim their tale and prove their individual – and collective – brilliance? Created by Tom Marlow and Lucy Moss, this homegrown musical sensation is now a global triumph, too, thanks to its infectious tunes and feminist messaging. The clever premise is that Henry VIII’s six wives have gathered together to decide which of them had it worst via a sing-off, accompanied by a badass female band.
The show is full of modern parallels, like idealised female beauty, the pressure to be a saintly mother, or gendered double standards when it comes to sexuality. But if that sounds like a downer, you’ll be surprised: this firecracker of a production is packed with big, belting vocals, slick dance moves and witty commentary, including the realisation that women should team up, not compete.