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.
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.
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.
Get Six tickets now.
Kimberly Akimbo and Water for Elephants: Jessica Stone
Kimberly Akimbo, the musical adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire's same-named play, premiered off Broadway in 2021 with Jessica Stone at the helm. She returned to direct the award-winning musical's Broadway transfer with its full original cast, led by Victoria Clark as a teenager with an aging condition that makes her look elderly. Stone earned a Tony Award nomination for her work.
That show marked Stone's Broadway directorial debut, and 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.
Get Kimberly Akimbo tickets now.
Get Water for Elephants tickets now.
Hadestown and Lempicka: 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. Her latest Broadway project is Lempicka, a new musical inspired by the trailblazing Art Deco painter of the title.
Get Hadestown tickets now.
Get Lempicka tickets now.
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.
Get Merrily We Roll Along tickets now.
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.
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.
Get The Notebook tickets now.
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.
Get The Outsiders tickets now.
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.
Get Suffs tickets now.
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 it, 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.
Get Appropriate tickets now.
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.
Get Mother Play tickets now.
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.
Get Mary Jane tickets now.
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