See these Broadway shows directed by women
Women are directing pop musicals, high dramas, and everything in between.
For a long time, Broadway was known as a boy’s club. After all, it wasn’t until 1998 that a woman won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical: Julie Taymor, for The Lion King. That is why this season has been special. First, for the record number of Black playwrights that have been produced, and secondly, for the number of women directing its productions. In fact, the 2021-22 Broadway season is one for the books, with 11 new shows directed by women.
The last record season for women was in 2007-2008, with seven women playwrights. And this momentous season is bookended by works written and directed by women: It began with Pass Over — written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu and directed by Danya Taymor (Julie Taymor’s niece) — and ends with POTUS, written by Selina Fillinger and directed by Susan Stroman.
From workplace comedies to tightly choreographed dramas to a musical about the wives of Henry VIII, here are the Broadway shows directed by women you can see now.
Lucy Moss made history this season when, at just 26 years old, she became the youngest woman to ever direct on Broadway when she co-directed Six with Jamie Armitage. And if that doesn’t make you feel bad enough about your age, Moss also co-wrote the hit musical with Toby Marlow when they were both in college. Six has the six wives of Henry VIII tell their own stories with pop songs so catchy, they will be stuck in your head for weeks after. Moss’s voice is young, fresh, and energetic. Considering that Six is her Broadway debut, it’ll be exciting to see what new heights she’ll reach next.
Susan Stroman has won five Tony Awards as a musical director and a choreographer. So it was the most surprising news when it was announced that Stroman was directing a straight play this season. Stroman is overseeing a new farce by a fresh young playwright, Selina Fillinger, called POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying To Keep Him Alive. And her cast is a who’s who of powerful women: Vanessa Williams, Rachel Dratch, Lea DeLaria, and Julianne Hough, to name a few. There probably won’t be dancing in POTUS, but expect some sharp physical comedy — skillfully directed by one of Broadway’s best.
A musical of such historic proportions like 1776 needs not one, but two directors. Alongside Jeffrey L. Page is Tony Award-winning director and producer Diane Paulus. She was last represented on Broadway in 2021 with Jagged Little Pill (which earned her two of her six Tony nominations), and won the Best Director of a Musical award for Pippin in 2013. Perhaps she'll be a contender again with this revival, about how John Adams convinced his fellow delegates to sign the Declaration of Independence. This revival, in the vein of Hamilton, reimagines this story with female, non-binary, and transgender actors.
Cost of Living
Just before Martyna Majok's Cost of Living won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, her play about caretakers and caregivers had an acclaimed Off-Broadway run helmed by Jo Bonney. She herself even got an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding Director. Now, the show is transferring to Broadway with its two original lead actors (Katy Sullivan and Gregg Mozgala), and she, too, is transferring with it, so it's sure to be just as fantastic as the first run.
Cost of Living is Bonney's Broadway-debut show, but she brings decades of experience in the Off-Broadway circuit. For helming dozens of plays since 1983, she has won the 2019 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Direction, the 2018 Legends of Off-Broadway award, and the Joseph Callaway Award for excellence in directing.