Theater The Greatest Female Broadway Stars  

Buster McDermott
Originally by
16.6k votes 2.8k voters 40.3k views 54 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.

1
1,296 489
Ranker Video
Julie Andrews age 83 - Well-known for her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

2
829 537
Ranker Video
Lea Salonga age 47 - Acclaimed for her performance on Broadway in Miss Saigon.

3
506 415
Ranker Video
Chita Rivera age 85 - Remembered for her portrayal of Anita in West Side Story.

4
328 320
Ranker Video
Kristin Chenoweth age 50 - Captured a Tony Award for her performance in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

5
249 334
Ranker Video
Audra McDonald age 48 - Had won three Tony Awards by the age of 28.

6
304 331
Ranker Video
Angela Lansbury age 93 - Well-known for starring in Mame.

7
284 347
Ranker Video
Bernadette Peters age 70 - Earned a Tony nomination for her performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy.

8
253 259
Ranker Video
Patti LuPone age 69 - Debuted on Broadway in Three Sisters.

9
382 350
Ranker Video
Idina Menzel age 47 - Originated the role of Maureen Johnson in Rent.

10
172 233
Ranker Video
Ethel Merman Died at 76 (1908-1984) - Debuted many Broadway standards, including "Anything Goes" and "Friendship."

11
300 329
Ranker Video
Carol Burnett age 85 - Nominated for a Tony Award after her first Broadway role (in Once Upon a Mattress).

12
242 232
Ranker Video
Sutton Foster age 43 - Won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes.

13
201 253
Ranker Video
Carol Channing age 97 - Originated the role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

14
214 321
Ranker Video
Liza Minnelli age 72 - Won a Tony Award for her performance in Flora the Red Menace.

The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time

15
75 48
Laura Benanti is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
looksharp added Laura Benanti age 38

16
129 205
Ranker Video
Kelli O'Hara age 41 - Starred in Nice Work If You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick.

17
299 570
Ranker Video
Barbra Streisand age 76 - Performed in both Funny Girl and I Can Get It for You Wholesale.

18
77 43
Ranker Video
Anna Wray added Phillipa Soo

19
105 143
Ranker Video
Elaine Stritch Died at 89 (1925-2014) - Debuted on Broadway in 1946 in Loco.

20
120 240
Ranker Video
Mary Martin Died at 77 (1913-1990) - Originated the role of Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

21
90 211
Ranker Video
Gwen Verdon Died at 75 (1925-2000) - Picked up four Tony Awards in her career.

The Greatest Living Opera Singers

22
84 129
Ranker Video
Donna Murphy age 58 - Well-known for her portrayal of Anna in The King and I.

23
106 209
Ranker Video
Bebe Neuwirth age 60 - Played Velma in Chicago.

24
30 40
Marin Mazzie is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Marin Mazzie age 57

25
113 121
Sierra Boggess is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
mercedesr added Sierra Boggess age 36

26
51 120
Ranker Video
Christine Ebersole age 64 - Played Ado Annie in a revival of Oklahoma!

27
61 105
Ranker Video
Barbara Cook age 90 - Earned a Tony Award for her performance in The Music Man.

28
92 117
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.

The Best Broadway Stars of the 21st Century

29
28 42
Patina Miller is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Patina Miller age 33

30
48 100
Ranker Video
Dorothy Loudon Died at 78 (1925-2003) - Introduced the tunes "Easy Street" and "Little Girls" in Annie.

31
102 157
Sarah Brightman is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Sarah Brightman age 57 - Acclaimed for her performance as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.

32
72 185
Ranker Video
Gertrude Lawrence Died at 54 (1898-1952) - Portrayed Eliza Doolittle in a revival of My Fair Lady.

33
42 95
Ranker Video
Rebecca Luker age 57 - Replaced Sarah Brightman in as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.

34
33 11
Renée Elise Goldsberry is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Mandy L. K. Yu added Renée Elise Goldsberry age 47

35
12 13
Donna McKechnie is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Ekir75 added Donna McKechnie age 77

The Worst Fashion Trends in History

36
42 106
Ranker Video
Heather Headley age 44 - Introduced the role of Nala in the Broadway production of The Lion King.

37
46 95
Alice Ripley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Alice Ripley age 54 - Nominated for a Tony Award for her work in Side Show.

38
34 101
Ranker Video
Marissa Jaret Winokur age 45 - Remembered for her portrayal of Tracy in Hairspray.

39
20 5
Laura Osnes is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
yours_truly added Laura Osnes age 33

40
63 100
Jane Krakowski is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Jane Krakowski age 49 - Garnered a Tony Award for her work in Nine.

41
9 1
Jessie Mueller is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Jessie Mueller age 32 - Waitress, Beautiful.

42
9 2
Barrett Wilbert Weed is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Barrett Wilbert Weed Actress, Mean Girls

All The Broadway Musicals Based On Disney Movies, Ranked

43
3 1
LaChanze is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added LaChanze age 57

44
2 1
Barbara Harris is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Barbara Harris age 83

45
2 1
Susan Egan is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Susan Egan age 48

46
2 1
Lena Hall is listed (or ranked) 46 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.

47
2 1
Kerry Butler is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Kerry Butler age 46

48
2 1
Leslie Uggams is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Leslie Uggams age 75

49
1 1
Andrea McArdle is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Andrea McArdle age 55

50
1 2
Sara Ramirez is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Sara Ramirez age 43