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April 23, 2020

Musicals With Great Female Roles


Looking for a show that offers a range in vocals, characters and perspective?

To help with this we’ve compiled a list of musicals that give you the flexibility to explore all aspects of female power, unity and musical prowess!

Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun by Irving Berlin, Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 7m, 3girl(s), 1boy(s)
Annie Oakley is the best shot around, and she manages to support her little brother and sisters by selling the game she hunts. When she’s discovered by Col. Buffalo Bill, he persuades this novel sharpshooter to join his Wild West Show. The rousing, sure-fire finale hits the mark every time in a testament to the power of female ingenuity.

Bernarda Alba by Michael John LaChiusa (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Drama / 10f)
Bernarda Alba
 tells the tales of a powerful matriarch, who imposes a strict rule on her household following her second husband’s funeral: ‘Not a breath of outside air is going to enter this house. It’s going to feel like we’ve bricked up the doors and windows,’ she proclaims. Bernarda’s five daughters, however, struggle with her cold wishes. The girls’ dreams and desires challenge their mother’s harsh rules and the outside world begins to slowly permeate their isolated existence.

Carrie: The Musical by Michael Gore, Dean Pitchford, Lawrence D. Cohen and Stephen King (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Drama / 5f, 2m)
Carrie White is a misfit. At school, she’s an outcast who’s bullied by the popular crowd, and virtually invisible to everyone else. At home, she’s at the mercy of her loving but cruelly over-protective mother. But Carrie’s just discovered she’s got a special power, and if pushed too far, she’s not afraid to use it. Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, Carrie.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Comedy / 6f, 5m)
The timeless enchantment of this magical fairy tale that’s been at the heart of many children’s storybooks is reborn in this musical. Locked away by her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, Cinderella is forbidden from going to the ball. A fairy godmother soon appears, bestowing her with a gown, footmen and a pumpkin carriage, but the magic disappears at midnight!

Dangerous Daughters by Annemarie Lewis Thomas and Nick Stimson (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Drama / 11f, 3m)
The Pankhursts were a family divided, a family often at war. Christabel dedicated her life to the cause and let nothing, not even the pursuit of love and happiness, stand in the way of women’s emancipation. The musical tells the stories of these three remarkable sisters set against the First World War and other great events of the time. The story culminates with the victory of the Suffragettes and the disintegration of the Pankhurst family.

Gypsy by Arthur Laurents, Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim and Gypsy Rose Lee (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 6f, 2m)
 is the ultimate tale of an ambitious stage mother fighting for her daughters’ success – while secretly yearning for her own. Set all across America in the 1920s and 30s, when vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born, Arthur Laurents’ landmark show explores the world of two-bit show business with brass, humour, heart, and sophistication.

Hello, Dolly! by Michael Stewart, Jerry Herman and Thornton Wilder (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Comedy / 5f, 4m)
This musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s hit play The Matchmaker bursts with humour, romance, energetic dance, and some of the greatest songs in musical theatre history. The romantic and comic exploits of Dolly Gallagher-Levi, turn-of-the-century matchmaker and “woman who arranges things,” are certain to thrill and entertain audiences again and again.

Lysistrata Jones by Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Comedy / 4f, 3m)
The Athens University basketball team hasn’t won a game in thirty years. But when spunky transfer student Lysistrata Jones dares the squad’s fed-up girlfriends to stop “giving it up” to their boyfriends until they win a game, the team’s legendary losing streak could finally come to an end. With its modern take on the Aristophanes classic, Lysistrata Jones brings a contemporary pop/rock energy to Douglas Carter Beane’s hilarious script. 

Mame by Jerome Lawrence, Robert E. Lee, Jerry Herman and Patrick Dennis (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Comedy / 6f, 6m)
When the ebullient and convivial socialite Mame Dennis suddenly becomes responsible for the upbringing of her nephew Patrick, the wealthy sophisticate embraces the challenge, introducing the boy to all of life’s wonders. With spirit, humour, class and wit, Mame continues to thrill audiences around the globe.

Marie Christine by Michael John LaChiusa (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Drama / 10f, 6m, 2boy(s)
Set in the twilight years of the 19th century, Marie Christine chronicles its doomed heroine’s journey from her genteel life of privilege in New Orleans Creole society through betrayal and incomprehensible vengeance in boisterous Chicago. This gripping tale of one headstrong and passionate young woman’s all-consuming love for an ambitious sea captain provides a tour-de-force for its leading lady.

Miss Littlewood by Sam Kenyon (UK)
(Full Length Musical / 9f, 3m)
Joan Littlewood was the anarchic revolutionary of 20th century theatre. Her unique Theatre Workshop was responsible for a raft of successes including Oh, What A Lovely War!, and breathed new life into the Theatre
Royal Stratford East. Based on her life story, this musical chart the emotional highs and lows of Joan’s journey from the East End to the West End.

Mrs Beeton Says… by Eamonn O’Dwyer and Helen Watts (UK)
(Full Length Musical / 5f, 3m)
Isabella Beeton was only 23 years old when she penned these words in “Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management”, first published in 1861. She could not have predicted how they would resonate with the women of England, nor could she have imagined how her name would become synonymous with culinary expertise and domestic bliss for generations to come.

Queen of the Mist by Michael John LaChiusa (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Drama / 3f, 4m)
Based on an astounding and outrageous true story, Anna Edson Taylor, who, in 1901 at the age of 63, set out to be the first woman to shoot Niagara Falls in a barrel of her own design. Navigating both the treacherous Falls and a fickle public with a ravenous appetite for sensationalism, this unconventional heroine vies for her legacy in a world clamouring with swindling managers, assassins, revolutionaries, moralising family, anarchists and activists.

Side Show (2014 Broadway Revival) by Henry Krieger and Bill Russell (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Drama / 7f, 14m)
Based on the true story of conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, who became stars during the Depression, Side Show is a moving portrait of two women joined at the hip whose extraordinary bondage brings them fame but denies them love. Told almost entirely in song, the show follows Violet and Daisy’s progression from England to America, around the vaudeville circuit, and to Hollywood on the eve of their appearance in the 1932 movie Freaks.

Smile (Ashman) by Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Comedy / 10f, 6m, 2boy(s)
At the Young American Miss Pageant in Santa Rosa, California, two young women befriend one another and pursue their dreams, despite a barrage of onstage exploits and backstage intrigue. This touching and satirical musical, from the creators of Little Shop of Horrors and A Chorus Line, follows the intrigue and exploits (both onstage and off) as Santa Rosa, California plays host to the Young American Miss Pageant.

Sweet Charity by Neil Simon, Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields, Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Comedy / 4f, 4m)
Inspired by Federico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria, Sweet Charity explores the turbulent love life of Charity Hope Valentine, a hopelessly romantic but comically unfortunate dance hall hostess in New York City. With a tuneful, groovy, mid-1960s score by Cy Coleman, sparkling lyrics by Dorothy Fields, and a hilarious book by Neil Simon, Sweet Charity captures all the energy, humour, and heartbreak of Life in the Big City for an unfortunate but irrepressible optimist.

Vanities: The Musical by Jack Heifner and David Kirshenbaum (US/UK)
(Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 3f)
Vanities: The Musical
 chronicles the life-affirming journey of three vivacious Texas teens from cheerleaders to sorority sisters to housewives to liberated women and beyond. This musical captures a snapshot-sharp portrait of the lives, loves, disappointments, and dreams of these young women growing up during the turbulent sixties and seventies and reconnecting in the late 1980s.

Wonderful Town by Joseph Fields, Jerome Chodorov, Ruth McKenney, Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green (US)
(Full Length Musical, Comedy / 2f, 4m)
In the summer of 1935, Ruth, an aspiring writer, and Eileen, an actress and dancer, leave rural Ohio to seek success in the big city. Due to their limited budget, the sisters wind up sharing a less-than ideal basement apartment in Greenwich Village. Together and individually, they pursue their dreams, overcome heartbreak, encounter a motley assortment of colourful characters, and – ultimately – find love.

To find more musicals with strong female voices visit our website!

Photo: Wonderful Town (Paul Kolnik)