See these Broadway shows directed by women

Women are directing pop musicals, high dramas, and everything in between on Broadway this season, and we're celebrating all the women-led works on right now.

Diep Tran
Diep Tran

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 the 2021-22 season was 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, that Broadway season was one for the books, with 11 new shows directed by women. 

The momentous 2021-22 season was 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 ended with POTUS, written by Selina Fillinger and directed by Susan Stroman. The 2023-24 season is shaping up to be even more historic, with 14 new productions directed by women and counting.

But female directors are worth highlighting every season. From historical musicals to tightly choreographed dramas to theatrical concerts, here are the Broadway shows directed by women you can see now.

Get tickets to a Broadway show on New York Theatre Guide.

The Lion King: Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor is a modern Renaissance woman when it comes to Broadway. When the show premiered on Broadway in 1997, The Lion King was hailed for its inventive staging, groundbreaking animal puppetry, and soaring music — and Taymor had a hand in it all.

Not only does she direct the show — the third-longest-running in Broadway history — but also designed the costumes, co-designed the masks and puppets, and wrote additional music and lyrics over and above the classics from the animated film. Taymor is an unforgettable part of Broadway's circle of life.

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Six: Lucy Moss

Lucy Moss made history in 2021 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.

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Water for Elephants: Jessica Stone

Kimberly Akimbo, the Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire's same-named play, premiered off Broadway in 2021 and marked Stone's Broadway directorial debut. She's following it up with the new musical Water for Elephants, based on Sara Gruen's book. Previously, Stone assistant directed Match in 2004, but most of the multi-hyphenate's past Broadway credits are acting ones. She's performed in shows including Anything Goes, The Odd Couple, and Grease.

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Hadestown: Rachel Chavkin

Rachel Chavkin made her name with The TEAM, a Brooklyn-based theatre company where she serves as artistic director, overseeing the development and production of new works about American life. On Broadway, new shows, albeit ones based on time-honored tales, are also her specialty.

After earning a Tony nomination for directing the War & Peace-inspired musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, she won the award for Hadestown, a folkloric, modern reinvention of Greek mythology.

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Merrily We Roll Along: Maria Friedman

Maria Friedman is the reason this once-panned 1984 musical is having a renaissance. Though composer Stephen Sondheim received praise for this musical about a trio of friends breaking apart, that was about it — until Friedman staged a revival in London in 2012. Her production received praise for streamlining and making sense of the show, and she brought that production off Broadway in 2021. Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Lindsay Mendez reprise their starring roles for the Broadway transfer.

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Cabaret: Rebecca Frecknall

Life is Rebecca Frecknall's cabaret, old chum, and we're just living in it. The director's immersive revival of Cabaret, which transformed a London theatre into the World War II-era Kit Kat Club, was a massive hit across the pond, earning seven Olivier Awards including Best Musical Revival. So there's lots of buzz already happening around the show's Broadway transfer — and marks Frecknall's Broadway debut, no less.

Check back for information on Cabaret tickets on New York Theatre Guide.

The Notebook and The Wiz: Schele Williams

Williams co-directs the adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel (and 2004 film) with Michael Greif. The production marks her Broadway directorial debut, following her turns as an actress in Rent and Aida and as an associate director for Motown the Musical. Two months after The Notebook starts up, she premieres her revival of The Wiz on Broadway following a national tour. Be sure to make a note of Williams — she has a fruitful directing career ahead.

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The Outsiders: Danya Taymor

Directing talent runs in the family. Danya Taymor is the niece of trailblazing The Lion King director Julie Taymor, and she's established a notable stage career of her own. She directed Pass Over, the first new Broadway show to open following the pandemic, and staged eight Off-Broadway shows including the Pulitzer-nominated Heroes of the Fourth Turning. Now, she returns to Broadway to direct The Outsiders, the new folk musical adaptation of S. E. Hinton's classic coming-of-age book.

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Suffs: Leigh Silverman

Leigh Silverman never stays away from Broadway for long, even as she's racked up an impressive 34-credit Off-Broadway career, too. Since making her Broadway directorial debut in 2006 with Well, she's returned to stage a new production every few years, earning a Tony nomination in 2014 for Violet. In 2022, she hopped back off Broadway to direct (among other shows) the new musical Suffs at The Public Theater. Now, in spring 2024, she stages the Broadway premiere.

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Appropriate and Uncle Vanya: Lila Neugebauer

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's Appropriate is only Lila Neugebauer's second Broadway directing credit after the Tony-nominated The Waverly Gallery, but she's quickly adding to the list, as she's also directing a new production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya in the spring, translated by Heidi Schreck.

Fans of the Off-Broadway scene and even film and TV may already be familiar with Neugebauer's work. She directed four original plays — The Antipodes, Everybody (also by Jacobs-Jenkins), Miles for Mary, and The Wolves — earning the Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award. She also directed three episodes of The Sex Lives of College Girls and the feature film Causeway starring Jennifer Lawrence.

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Mother Play: Tina Landau

Tina Landau may have a short list of Broadway credits, but they prove she has a massive range. After directing a revival of the classic musical Bells Are Ringing and the contemporary play Superior Donuts, she earned her first Tony nomination for directing and conceiving the SpongeBob SquarePants musical. Now, she stages the latest world premiere from a beloved living playwright: Paula Vogel's Mother Play, starring Jessica Lange, Jim Parsons, and Celia Keenan-Bolger.

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Mary Jane: Anne Kauffman

Less than a year after Anne Kauffman made a splash with her Tony-nominated revival of Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, she returns to Broadway to direct Rachel McAdams in Mary Jane, about a single mother seeking support as she goes through a difficult family matter. Both McAdams and the play are making their Broadway debuts, but Kauffman did so in 2017 with Marvin's Room.

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Left on Tenth and Smash: Susan Stroman

Susan Stroman never strays from Broadway for long. The five-time Tony Award-winning director/choreographer is best known for staging big, splashy mega-musicals, and she made her first foray into Broadway play directing with POTUS in 2022.

Now, she's showing her range with two productions in the 2024-25 season. In the fall, she directs the intimate romantic drama Left on Tenth, adapted from the memoir by You've Got Mail screenwriter Delia Ephron. And in the spring, she's doing what she does best with Smash, a musical based on the NBC TV series about the behind-the-scenes drama of Broadway.

Check back for information on Left on Tenth and Smash tickets on New York Theatre Guide.

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