Theater The Greatest Female Broadway Stars  

Buster McDermott
Originally by
16.9k votes 2.8k voters 41.1k views 55 items

List Rules Vote up the top women on Broadway based on their careers on the stage

These leading ladies have made audiences laugh, cry and wish that the show would never end. Some have had long-running careers, while others are just starting out, but they all have one thing in common: they’re all the best female performers to have ever graced Broadway stages. For that reason, they all deserve a spot on this list of the greatest female Broadway stars. 

Broadway and music fans everywhere have heard of Barbra Streisand, but did you know she only performed in two shows on Broadway: I Can Get It for You Wholesale and Funny Girl? Of course, her star power was so bright that she was nominated for a Tony Award each time. The year she was nominated for Funny Girl (1964), she lost out to a performer many consider to be one of the top Broadway performers of all time - Carol Channing.

Channing not only won a total of three Tony Awards but also originated two of the most iconic Broadway roles in history: Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! and Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Because of these stunning performances, Carol Channing is regarded as one of the most amazing Broadway stars in history, alongside greats like Bernadette Peters, Ethel Merman, and Liza Minnelli. Other rising Broadway stars such as Megan Hilty and Lea Michele are joining the ranks of these great Broadway stars, making Broadway more fantastic as time goes on.

Whether for their powerful voices or skilled acting, the leading Broadway ladies on this list are known as the greatest female Broadway stars. Cast your votes below for the best female Broadway stars.

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Julie Andrews age 83 - Well-known for her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

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Lea Salonga age 47 - Acclaimed for her performance on Broadway in Miss Saigon.

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Chita Rivera age 85 - Remembered for her portrayal of Anita in West Side Story.

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Kristin Chenoweth age 50 - Captured a Tony Award for her performance in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

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Audra McDonald age 48 - Had won three Tony Awards by the age of 28.

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Bernadette Peters age 70 - Earned a Tony nomination for her performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy.

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Angela Lansbury age 93 - Well-known for starring in Mame.

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Patti LuPone age 69 - Debuted on Broadway in Three Sisters.

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Idina Menzel age 47 - Originated the role of Maureen Johnson in Rent.

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Ethel Merman Died at 76 (1908-1984) - Debuted many Broadway standards, including "Anything Goes" and "Friendship."

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Carol Burnett age 85 - Nominated for a Tony Award after her first Broadway role (in Once Upon a Mattress).

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Sutton Foster age 43 - Won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes.

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Carol Channing age 97 - Originated the role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

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Liza Minnelli age 72 - Won a Tony Award for her performance in Flora the Red Menace.

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Laura Benanti is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
looksharp added Laura Benanti age 39

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Anna Wray added Phillipa Soo

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Kelli O'Hara age 42 - Starred in Nice Work If You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick.

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Barbra Streisand age 76 - Performed in both Funny Girl and I Can Get It for You Wholesale.

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Mary Martin Died at 77 (1913-1990) - Originated the role of Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

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Elaine Stritch Died at 89 (1925-2014) - Debuted on Broadway in 1946 in Loco.

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Gwen Verdon Died at 75 (1925-2000) - Picked up four Tony Awards in her career.

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Donna Murphy age 59 - Well-known for her portrayal of Anna in The King and I.

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Marin Mazzie is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Marin Mazzie age 58

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Sierra Boggess is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
mercedesr added Sierra Boggess age 36

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Bebe Neuwirth age 60 - Played Velma in Chicago.

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Christine Ebersole age 65 - Played Ado Annie in a revival of Oklahoma!

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Barbara Cook age 91 - Earned a Tony Award for her performance in The Music Man.

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Megan Hilty is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Megan Hilty age 37 - Well-known for portraying the character Doralee in 9 to 5: The Musical.

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Patina Miller is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Patina Miller age 34

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Dorothy Loudon Died at 78 (1925-2003) - Introduced the tunes "Easy Street" and "Little Girls" in Annie.

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Sarah Brightman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Sarah Brightman age 58 - Acclaimed for her performance as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.

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Renée Elise Goldsberry is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Mandy L. K. Yu added Renée Elise Goldsberry age 47

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Gertrude Lawrence Died at 54 (1898-1952) - Portrayed Eliza Doolittle in a revival of My Fair Lady.

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Rebecca Luker age 57 - Replaced Sarah Brightman in as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.

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Heather Headley age 44 - Introduced the role of Nala in the Broadway production of The Lion King.

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Donna McKechnie is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Ekir75 added Donna McKechnie age 78

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Alice Ripley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Alice Ripley age 55 - Nominated for a Tony Award for her work in Side Show.

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Laura Osnes is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
yours_truly added Laura Osnes age 33

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Marissa Jaret Winokur age 45 - Remembered for her portrayal of Tracy in Hairspray.

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Barrett Wilbert Weed is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Barrett Wilbert Weed Actress, Mean Girls

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Jane Krakowski is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Jane Krakowski age 50 - Garnered a Tony Award for her work in Nine.

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Jessie Mueller is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Jessie Mueller age 32 - Waitress, Beautiful.

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Sara Bareilles is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
anita2 added Sara Bareilles Actress and singer-songwriter who wrote original score for the Tony Award nominated broadway musical 'Waitress'

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Susan Egan is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Susan Egan age 48

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Kerry Butler is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Kerry Butler age 47

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LaChanze is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added LaChanze age 57

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Lena Hall is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Lena Hall Tony Award-winner for Yitzhak in the 2014 revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch & Nicola in Kinky Boots.

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Leslie Uggams is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Leslie Uggams age 75

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Andrea McArdle is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Andrea McArdle age 55

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Barbara Harris is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Barbara Harris age 83