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10 Women Not to Miss on Broadway this Spring

Category Broadway

|by David Sheward |

Celebrate the women of the stage

March is Women’s History Month and in celebration of all the fantastic females who make Broadway such a glittering entertainment mecca, here are ten women to see during this spring season. They range from superstar goddesses of the stage to promising newcomers. In plays, musicals and revivals, these ladies light up the stage.

Bernadette Peters stars in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ (Photo: Julieta Cervantes)

Bernadette Peters stars in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ (Photo: Julieta Cervantes)

Bernadette Peters, Hello, Dolly!
When Bette Midler returned to Broadway to star as the irrepressible Dolly Gallagher Levi in the smash-hit revival of Hello, Dolly!, it seemed impossible to imagine anyone replacing her. But two-time Tony winner Bernadette Peters has stepped in after Midler finished her engagement and created a lovable Dolly all her own. Newsweek hails, “Dolly is back, and she is new and improved. Peters has quickly made the role of Dolly her own. She can still reach back and belt out a Jerry Herman tune, can land a joke, but hers is a quieter, warmer Dolly.” Victor Garber co-stars as Horace Vandergelder, the stuffy widower Dolly sets her cap for.

Jessie Mueller, Carousel
She first burst onto the Broadway scene in a supporting role in an off-beat revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. That production only ran 57 performances, but Mueller went on to starring roles in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Tony Award), and Waitress. This season, Mueller takes on the complex role of Julie Jourdan, the millworker who falls in love with the volatile carnival barker Billy Bigelow, in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved Carousel.

Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women
The regal British double Oscar winner has been retired from acting for 23 years to serve as a member of Parliament. Her last Broadway role was a villainous Lady MacBeth in a 1988 revival of the Scottish play. She makes her return to the stage in Edward Albee’s 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning play as a character known only as A, one of three versions of the same woman based on the playwright’s mother.

Lauren Ambrose, My Fair Lady
Best-known as the neurotic daughter of a family of undertakers on HBO’s hit series Six Feet Under, Lauren Ambrose makes her Broadway musical debut in Lincoln Center Theater’s much-anticipated revival of Lerner and Loewe’s evergreen My Fair Lady as Cockney flower-girl Eliza Doolittle.

Erika Henningsen, Mean Girls
Erika Henningsen may not be a household name, but she has an impressive resume. She was the youngest person to play Fantine in Les Miserables on Broadway. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2014, she received an award from Actors’ Equity from her promising talent. She will also be playing Cody Heron, the new student at the mercy of the Mean Girls, in Tina Fey’s stage version of her hit comedy film.

Laurie Metcalf, Three Tall Women
This incisive character actress rose to fame as Jackie, the troubled and caustic sister of the title character in the long-running sitcom Roseanne (Metcalf will also be starring in the show’s reboot starting on ABC on March 27.) She just received her first Oscar nomination for Lady Bird. But she got her start with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater and won an Obie Award when she gave a devastating performance in an Off-Broadway production of the company’s revival of Balm in Gilead. Unlike most stars who have achieved on-screen fame, Metcalf makes regular returns to the stage. After winning a Tony last year for A Doll’s House Part 2, she’ll be co-starring with Jackson in Three Tall Women.

Condola Rashad, Saint Joan
The talented Condola Rashad has already played Juliet opposite Orlando Bloom’s Romeo and received Tony nominations for Stick Fly, The Trip to Bountiful and A Doll’s House, Part 2 (in which she played Laurie Metcalf’s estranged daughter.) Now she tackles one of the most coveted roles in all of dramatic literature: George Bernard Shaw’s version of Joan of Arc in Manhattan Theater Club’s revival.

Renee Fleming, Carousel
After conquering the world of opera as one of the world’s foremost sopranos, Renee Fleming has moved to the world of Broadway. She made her debut playing a temperamental diva in the short-lived comedy Living on Love. Now she takes on the role of Nettie Fowler, who sings the iconic anthem to hope “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in Carousel.

La Chanze, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
The star of the original Once on This Island in 1990, La Chanze went to win a Tony for her searing performance as Celie in the first Broadway production of The Color Purple. She will be bringing back glorious disco memories as one of three actresses playing the iconic Donna Summer in this pulse-pounding new musical.

Lauren Ridloff, Children of a Lesser God
This former Miss Deaf America was hired to tutor director Kenny Leon in sign language for his regional production of Mark Medoff’s Tony-winning Children of a Lesser God. Leon was so impressed with Ridloff that he hired her for the lead and the show is now headed to Broadway. For the same role, Phyllis Frelich won a Tony for the original 1980 production and Marlee Matlin won an Oscar for the 1986 film version.

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