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The Greatest Female Broadway Stars

Updated April 20, 2021 21.2k votes 3.6k voters 51.9k views54 items

List RulesVote 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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  • 1
    1,008
    524
    Well-known for her portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
  • 2
    356
    242
    Originated the role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
  • 3
    743
    566
    Acclaimed for her performance on Broadway in Miss Saigon.
  • 4
    359
    396
    Earned a Tony nomination for her performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy.
  • 5
    347
    350
    Debuted on Broadway in Three Sisters.
  • 6
    445
    440
    Originated the role of Maureen Johnson in Rent.
  • 7
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    412
    Captured a Tony Award for her performance in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
  • 8
    317
    384
    Well-known for starring in Mame.
  • 9
    391
    464
    Remembered for her portrayal of Anita in West Side Story.
  • 10
    306
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    Had won three Tony Awards by the age of 28.
  • 11
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    Won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes.
  • 12
    274
    386
    Nominated for a Tony Award after her first Broadway role (in Once Upon a Mattress).
  • 13
    205
    326

    Ethel Merman

    Dec. at 76 (1908-1984)
    Debuted many Broadway standards, including "Anything Goes" and "Friendship."
  • 14
    16
    18

    Judy Kuhn

    Age: 62
  • 15
    238
    377
    Won a Tony Award for her performance in Flora the Red Menace.
  • 16
    328
    532
    Performed in both Funny Girl and I Can Get It for You Wholesale.
  • 17
    130
    268

    Elaine Stritch

    Dec. at 89 (1925-2014)
    Debuted on Broadway in 1946 in Loco.
  • 18
    126
    311

    Mary Martin

    Dec. at 77 (1913-1990)
    Originated the role of Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
  • 19
    152
    224
  • 20
    32
    49
    Debuted on Broadway in 1776 in 1969.
  • 21
    127
    288
    Played Velma in Chicago.
  • 22
    131
    299
    Starred in Nice Work If You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick.
  • 23
    29
    60
  • 24
    53
    81

    Laura Osnes

    Age: 35
  • 25
    157
    245