Regent Theatre, Medford St., seeks co-owner.The future of the Regent Theatre is envisioned to be similar to its past and present, though one of its two co-owners intends to retire as soon as a suitable successor can be found.

Richard “Rick” Stavros seeks to move on; Leland Stein is continuing and plans to work with the eventual successor to Stavros, who now is actively sought. 

The building on Medford Street in Arlington Center is owned by Gary Adelson. The venue under its current leadership has been operating under the same format for some three decades, providing a wide variety of music, comedy, drama, films, personal appearances and, often, a mix of genres, some innovative, such as a belly-dance interpretation of  “The Wizard of Oz,” starring an Arlington resident, a few months ago . 

Elliman, Neeley

Many sold-out shows

Much content is tailored to Arlington’s notable Baby Boomer population. On Thursday, March 28, for instance, in anticipation of Easter, the stars of the 1973 musical religious drama “Jesus Christ Superstar” performed live: Ted Neeley, who essayed the title role, and Yvonne Elliman, who portrayed Mary Magdalene.

There have been many sold-out shows at the Regent, particularly in the past few weeks.

Regent Theatre at 100 years old logo

A widely distributed news release from a public-relations firm received a few days ago noted, “The Regent was built 1916 as a state-of-the-art multipurpose movie theatre along with storefronts, offices and, in the basement, a bowling alley and pool hall.

"For more than a century, it has hosted a diverse calendar of entertainment, from live performances and film screenings to community and cultural events.

"Since its opening 108 years ago, the theatre has operated continuously as an entertainment venue and become a beloved fixture in the community among residents and visitors alike. Today the Regent remains true to its roots as a vibrant vaudeville house.”

A comprehensive statement issued earlier this week by both men following a YourArlington request said: “After 31 years, Rick feels it's time to pass the baton and pursue other interests. [This is to occur] within a year or however long it takes to find the right person or entity [to replace him]. Leland plans on staying on as a partner or consultant after Rick's retirement.” 

The statement to YourArlington notes that “Gary is very supportive of this transition.” The news release quotes him: “This is an important time for the Regent as we look for a new steward of operations who will build on the tremendous foundation that Rick and Leland have established in the 21st century.” 

Programming to remain unchanged

Asked whether any changes in programming can be expected, Stavros and Stein said, “No, not at all, and we have a full slate of events scheduled for the remainder of the year into next year. Operations will continue as usual for the foreseeable future.”

A future partner/co-owner is currently being sought “through our contacts in the business, our public relations partner and word of mouth.”

Essential qualifications for the future partner/co-owner, the statement says, are “Commitment to keep the theater grounded in the community, to continue the Regent Theatre legacy and the type of programming we are known for, knowledge of the entertainment industry and the resources to run the business for the long term.”

The news release says similarly: “We are intentionally seeking an operator who shares our passion for the arts, community engagement and preserving the historic significance of the venue. The new management team will acquire the lease of the theatre (along with its underground flexible rehearsal space), its assets and the goodwill associated with the brand.”

Stavros and Stein have declined to indicate the amount of investment that a qualified buyer would need to have. “We will disclose that information only to those giving serious consideration of this opportunity,” they said.

How to apply

Those who think that they may fit the bill -- so to speak -- are invited to send a letter of introduction via postal mail (as Stavros and Stein specifically request no telephone calls or email messages) to this mailing address: Richard Stavros, c/o Starbeams Productions, PO Box 166, Arlington, MA 02474.

Asked what past productions they are most proud of to date, the answer was, “There are too many to mention over the past few decades, but certainly our 18-year collaboration with our ‘house band’ the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra (URO) was exciting, unique and gratifying.”

As to what upcoming performances they themselves are most looking forward to, the reply was “All of them!”

The news release quotes Stein: “It’s been a joy and honor for us to have helped define the Regent’s unique programming and to grow the business over the past 20 plus years, and I hope to continue to be part of The Regent Theatre as we add to its legacy during this next exciting chapter.”

The release notes that just a few of the many notable stars who have played the Regent are Joe Bonamassa, the Dresden Dolls, Samara Joy, John Mayall, Odetta, Paula Poundstone, Mickey Rooney, Michelle Shocked and Taj Mahal. The Dresden Dolls, a cabaret duo formed in 2001 including Lexington High School graduate Amanda Palmer that had been on intermittent hiatus, has recently reactivated and just began a spring tour.

In June 2012, the Regent held a three-hour-long funeral service following the death of Herb Reed -- the last surviving founding member of the internationally famous 1950s doo wop group the Platters -- who was a longtime Arlington resident. Read about it here >>

See all Regent events >>   

The Regent Theatre | 7 Medford St.Arlington, MA 02474 781-646-4849 

This business article by YourArlington Editor Judith Pfeffer was published Wednesday, March 27, 2024.