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The Lion King

Broadway fathers we love

Celebrate Father's Day with these onstage dads.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

As Father's Day approaches, we turn to the stage fathers — and father figures — who show their fierce love and strong bonds for their children, blood relation or not. Some teach a surrogate child how to break in a baseball glove, while others give a young lion the courage to seize back his kingdom.

No matter how they show their affection, these stage dads prove there are all kinds of patriarchs. The love they give and lessons they teach make us want to hug our own dads — and celebrate all he's done for us by taking him to a show with a strong father figure like him! Here are some of our favorite Broadway dads.

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Timon, Pumbaa, and Mufasa in The Lion King

In the long-running Disney musical, devastation comes early for lion cub Simba after he blames himself for his father's untimely death. But the unlikely pairing of Pumbaa, a warthog, and Timon, a meerkat, find Simba at just the right time. They raise him like they were Simba's own fathers until Simba is ready to leave his worries behind and claim the throne from his evil uncle Scar.

We'd be remiss if we didn't also include Mufasa himself on this list. Though he dies during Simba's childhood, Mufasa still appears to him in visions and memories, inspiring Simba to carry on his legacy and lead the Pride Lands with goodness. He shows the lasting impact of a caring father's love on his kid's life.

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Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton

In Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash musical, Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton experiences the deep joy of becoming the father to Philip — "pride is not the word I'm looking for," he says when his son is born. Alexander watches Philip grow and woo ladies just like his dad, but he also feels the profound loss of losing a child too soon. With the support of his wife, Eliza, Alexander survives every parent's worst nightmare and even jumps back into politics. In real life, too, Alexander Hamilton was the father not just of Philip, but eight children in total.

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Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Growing up as students at Hogwarts, Harry and Ron constantly tested the patience of their parents and mentors as they found themselves in one harrowing incident after another. (Remember the encounter with the Whomping Willow?) But as the much wiser fathers of children now attending Hogwarts in this two-part epic Broadway play, Harry and Ron are in the reversed roles of adults tasked with monitoring their own rule-breaking children.

Draco Malfoy, whose son befriends Harry's, also joins the group in Cursed Child, as he has to keep an eye on his own kid as he goes off with the others on Wizarding World adventures. Through this, they're all reminded of the power and courage of youth. Draco is in a particularly difficult and sympathetic position as a single father who is trying to bond with his son and leave the wrongs of his past behind.

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Larry Murphy in Dear Evan Hansen

Evan Hansen's father left him at a young age. But in Dear Evan Hansen, the lonely teenager finds the paternal love he longs for in Larry Murphy, the father of his crush. In Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Larry teaches Evan the best way to break in a baseball glove (shaving cream, rubber bands, mattress, repeat) and gives Evan the affection he's been lacking.

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The Sultan in Aladdin

At first, the Sultan seems like a harsh father, as he forbids his daughter, Princess Jasmine, from marrying anyone but a prince due to Arabian law. But ultimately, he cares for his daughter and wants to protect her. Once he sees that Aladdin, although not a prince, is genuine and kind, he gives his blessing. He represents one of the most important things about fatherhood: wanting the utmost happiness for his children above all.

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Doug and Claude in Come From Away

All the characters in Come From Away are based on real people. The character of Doug is a composite character of a local veterinarian and the husband of Bonnie, an ASPCA worker. Bonnie makes reference to both her animal "kids" and her "human kids," and while the human kids don't appear on stage, she's shown caring for animals with motherly love. Doug is by his wife's side the whole time to help, showing how far fatherly care extends.

There's also Claude, the mayor of Gander. He's not a biological father, but he is kind of like the town's father, looking out for all the residents of his town. And when thousands of plane passengers arrive in his town after 9/11, he leads the town-wide charge to clothe, feed, and shelter them, showing a tender fatherly instinct.

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Steve Healy in Jagged Little Pill

It's fair to say that Steve Healy's role as a father isn't all that easy. Attending marriage counseling sessions with his wife, Mary Jane, the pair try to salvage their relationship. But, when Steve discovers MJ's addiction and eventual drug overdose in Jagged Little Pill, he promises to be there for his wife and children as the father figure they deserve.

Quinn Carney in The Ferryman

In Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman, the Carney patriarch has as many as 20 people under his roof at one time. That's not counting his newborn baby, a bunny, and the uncooked (and very much alive) goose for the harvest dinner. But, despite the chaos and deep political trouble he is entangled in, Quinn fiercely supports and protects his large family and a handful of visitors.

Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

In the courtroom, lawyer Atticus Finch in Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of Harper Lee's classic novel nobly stands against racism in a small town in mid-30s Alabama. At home, and as a widower, he teaches his two young children how to stand up for their beliefs even if they might be the lone voice against a heated mob.

Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady

He doesn't have a tuppence in his pocket. And sure, he frequently bums off his also broke daughter, Eliza. But Alfred P. Doolittle definitely holds the title of most fun father on Broadway. In Lerner and Lowe's classic musical, Alfred celebrates the eve of his wedding with can-can dancers, men in drag, and overflowing beer steins. We want an invite to that party.

Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof

Tevye's traditional values are tested when his daughters go against the norm and follow their hearts in Fiddler on the Roof. While he's tempted to turn his back on his daughters and obey the religious values on which he's based his life, Tevye's love is too strong to walk away from his children.

Andrew Carnes in Oklahoma!

In 2019's dark Broadway revival of Oklahoma!, Ado Annie's father, Andrew Carnes, just wants his daughter in an honorable marriage. Even though Ado Annie confesses that she "cain't say no" to men, she has no problem saying this to her dad. Sound familiar?

Joe Keller in All My Sons

In the Arthur Miller drama, businessman Joe Keller is faced with confronting a terrible choice made in his past. But he fiercely defends this decision, insisting he made it to ensure his family's financial security and reputation.

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