theater The Greatest Female Broadway Stars  

Buster McDermott
Originally by
16.2k votes 2.7k voters 39.6k 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.

list ordered by

1
1,287 483
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Julie Andrews age 83 - Well-known for her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

2
818 532
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Lea Salonga age 47 - Acclaimed for her performance on Broadway in Miss Saigon.

3
501 411
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Chita Rivera age 85 - Remembered for her portrayal of Anita in West Side Story.

4
321 311
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Kristin Chenoweth age 50 - Captured a Tony Award for her performance in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

5
296 328
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Angela Lansbury age 93 - Well-known for starring in Mame.

6
237 332
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Audra McDonald age 48 - Had won three Tony Awards by the age of 28.

7
275 345
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Bernadette Peters age 70 - Earned a Tony nomination for her performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy.

8
240 258
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Patti LuPone age 69 - Debuted on Broadway in Three Sisters.

9
370 343
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Idina Menzel age 47 - Originated the role of Maureen Johnson in Rent.

10
165 232
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Ethel Merman Died at 76 (1908-1984) - Debuted many Broadway standards, including "Anything Goes" and "Friendship."

11
297 323
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Carol Burnett age 85 - Nominated for a Tony Award after her first Broadway role (in Once Upon a Mattress).

12
232 231
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Sutton Foster age 43 - Won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes.

13
197 248
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Carol Channing age 97 - Originated the role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

14
206 318
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Liza Minnelli age 72 - Won a Tony Award for her performance in Flora the Red Menace.

The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time

15
71 44
Laura Benanti is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
looksharp added Laura Benanti age 38

16
103 139
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Elaine Stritch Died at 89 (1925-2014) - Debuted on Broadway in 1946 in Loco.

17
72 37
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Anna Wray added Phillipa Soo

18
117 237
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Mary Martin Died at 77 (1913-1990) - Originated the role of Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

19
289 568
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Barbra Streisand age 76 - Performed in both Funny Girl and I Can Get It for You Wholesale.

20
122 204
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Kelli O'Hara age 41 - Starred in Nice Work If You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick.

21
87 209
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Gwen Verdon Died at 75 (1925-2000) - Picked up four Tony Awards in her career.

The Best Movies About Art & Artists

22
83 129
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Donna Murphy age 58 - Well-known for her portrayal of Anna in The King and I.

23
104 209
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Bebe Neuwirth age 60 - Played Velma in Chicago.

24
49 120
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Christine Ebersole age 64 - Played Ado Annie in a revival of Oklahoma!

25
60 105
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Barbara Cook age 90 - Earned a Tony Award for her performance in The Music Man.

26
27 40
Marin Mazzie is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Marin Mazzie age 57

27
106 120
Sierra Boggess is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
mercedesr added Sierra Boggess age 36

28
92 116
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 41
Patina Miller is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Patina Miller age 33

30
47 99
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Dorothy Loudon Died at 78 (1925-2003) - Introduced the tunes "Easy Street" and "Little Girls" in Annie.

31
99 155
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
72 184
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Gertrude Lawrence Died at 54 (1898-1952) - Portrayed Eliza Doolittle in a revival of My Fair Lady.

33
42 94
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Rebecca Luker age 57 - Replaced Sarah Brightman in as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.

34
30 10
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
41 105
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Heather Headley age 44 - Introduced the role of Nala in the Broadway production of The Lion King.

The Best Broadway Plays of the '90s

36
10 12
Donna McKechnie is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
Ekir75 added Donna McKechnie age 77

37
45 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
32 99
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Marissa Jaret Winokur age 45 - Remembered for her portrayal of Tracy in Hairspray.

39
14 4
Laura Osnes is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
yours_truly added Laura Osnes age 33

40
60 98
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
3 0
Jessie Mueller is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Jessie Mueller age 32 - Waitress, Beautiful.

42
3 0
LaChanze is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added LaChanze age 57

All The Broadway Musicals Based On Disney Movies, Ranked

43
2 0
Barrett Wilbert Weed is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Barrett Wilbert Weed Actress, Mean Girls

44
1 0
Barbara Harris is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Barbara Harris age 83

45
1 0
Andrea McArdle is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Andrea McArdle age 55

46
1 0
Susan Egan is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Susan Egan age 48

47
1 0
Sara Ramirez is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Sara Ramirez age 43

48
1 0
Kerry Butler is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Kerry Butler age 46

49
1 0
Leslie Uggams is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Female Broadway Stars
JenME3 added Leslie Uggams age 75

50
1 0
Lena Hall is listed (or ranked) 50 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.