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 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 last record season for women was in 2007-2008, with seven women playwrights. And 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.
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.
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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.
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Death of a Salesman
When the latest revival of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman premiered in London, co-directors Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell won an Olivier Award for their work. The production is now coming to Broadway with its two London stars, Wendell Pierce and Sharon D Clarke, as the disillusioned salesman Willy and his wife, Linda. Cromwell is directing Death of a Salesman solo this time, but Elliott, who won a 2022 Tony for directing the latest Company revival, isn't entirely out of the picture. Her production company, Elliott & Harper Productions, is mounting the show.
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The Piano Lesson
Many August Wilson plays have appeared on Broadway, but the 2022 revival of The Piano Lesson is the first to be directed by a Black woman. That would be LaTanya Richardson Jackson, best known as a stage and screen actress last seen on Broadway in To Kill a Mockingbird. She's also a Tony nominee for A Raisin in the Sun, and her screen credits include Fried Green Tomatoes, Malcolm X, and Sleepless in Seattle. Jackson is also the longtime wife of Samuel L. Jackson, who stars in The Piano Lesson as Doaker Charles, an elder uncle and his family's history-keeper.
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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's returning 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. The show marks Stone's Broadway directorial debut; she 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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New York, New York
Susan Stroman has won five Tony Awards as a musical director and a choreographer, and she's back in her wheelhouse in spring 2023 with New York, New York. This new Kander and Ebb musical is loosely based on Martin Scorsese's film, set in 1946 NYC but featuring a completely new storyline and slate of characters. Stroman both directs and choreographs once again, less than a year after making her straight play Broadway debut with POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying To Keep Him Alive last season.
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