The best Broadway shows to see for Women’s History Month
Check out these plays and musicals in New York led by women on stage, as various historic and fictional characters, and off stage as writers and directors.
Women’s History Month is underway, and there are countless ways to celebrate with theatre. Women currently lead several Broadway shows on stage and off, collectively representing a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives. Several incredible plays and musicals on Broadway showcase talented female actors and creators.
Below are the best Broadway shows in New York with female characters at the forefront. Whether you’re in the mood for a somber drama, a heart-pounding romance, or an empowering retelling of a classic tale, you’ll find it in these women-led Broadway shows.
Hear from Broadway actresses about what Women's History Month means to them.
Get tickets to a Broadway show on New York Theatre Guide.
A Doll’s House
Henrik Ibsen’s groundbreaking play starring Jessica Chastain will keep you captivated with a story about a woman taking control of her life despite difficult circumstances. Written in 1879, A Doll’s House tackles themes ahead of its time, even drawing backlash for challenging gender norms and expectations of mothers and wives. A female writer, Pulitzer Prize finalist Amy Herzog, updated Ibsen’s script for this revival.
The lead character, Nora Helmer, questions her marriage while harboring a secret from her husband, wishing to leave and live an independent life. A Doll’s House made history as an early work featuring a strong female lead who wants more than society has allowed her.
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If you think Juliet deserved a better ending than the one she got in Romeo & Juliet, check out this new jukebox musical. & Juliet features the music catalog of Max Martin, the songwriter behind hits from NSYNC, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, and many other pop sensations.
& Juliet centers two strong-willed female characters: Juliet and Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway. After reading her husband’s play, Anne imagines a new ending for the heroine, where she escapes Verona in search of her own destiny. The musical follows the two as Anne creates a different path for Juliet, who gets to live a new life.
Get & Juliet tickets now.
Interested in another heroine who could use more agency in her own story? See Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bad Cinderella, which retells the classic tale in a way where Cinderella isn’t looking for Prince Charming. (In fact, he’s dead.)
Instead of a soft-natured Cinderella who quietly accepts her fate until the Fairy Godmother arrives, this “bad” Cinderella is a rebel raging against her cruel stepmother, stepsisters, and the town that rejects her. Although she finds a happily ever after, the joy comes from accepting exactly how she is — not from suddenly becoming a beautiful princess.
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There’s no doubt about the sheer female power in Chicago, a jazzy musical that’s run on Broadway continuously since 1996. Chicago features a majority-female principal cast led by Roxie Hart, who rises to celebrity status during her murder trial. In 2023, drag queen Jinkx Monsoon made history playing Matron “Mama” Morton, the warden at Roxie's jail.
The show features powerful vocals and showstopping numbers like “All That Jazz” and “Nowadays.” If you’ve only seen the famous movie version starring Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones, you’ll want to check out the musical to get a taste of all that jazz live.
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Adapted from the Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked has been a Broadway mainstay for two decades, wowing audiences with incredible music and celebrating the power of female friendship. Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda, later known as Glinda the Good, initially start as enemies while roommates at Shiz University, but a friendship soon blossoms between the two.
The headstrong Elphaba risks everything to expose corruption in Oz, ultimately standing up for what’s right against all odds. You’ll be blown away by the incredible vocals in the women’s iconic songs like “Defying Gravity,” “For Good,” and “Popular.”
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Thought high school was hard enough? Imagine being Kimberly, a 16-year-old who looks like she’s 72 due to a rare condition that has accelerated her aging. And to top it off, she’s also dealing with a dysfunctional family — and yet, trying to find happiness through it all in this funny yet poignant musical, which has received near-universal acclaim.
Not only does Kimberly Akimbo have a unique and bold female lead (plus a fan-favorite supporting character in Kimberly’s Aunt Deb), but two of the show’s lead creatives are women: composer/lyricist Jeanine Tesori and director Jessica Stone.
Get Kimberly Akimbo tickets now.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Based on the cult classic Baz Luhrmann film, Moulin Rouge! The Musical transports audiences to Paris’s bohemian Montmartre district at the turn of the 20th century. The leading man is Christian, an American writer who has just arrived in Paris, but Satine — the sparkling diamond at the Moulin Rouge nightclub — steals the show.
Although she’s promised to the Duke of Monroth to save the club, the independent and closed-off Satine falls into a whirlwind romance with Christian. In the end, it’s Satine who learns to love and be loved in return.
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Who told you you’re allowed to rain on her parade? If anyone is willing to go after exactly what she wants without hesitation, it’s Funny Girl’s Fanny Brice. Based on the true story of Ziegfeld Follies showgirl and comedian Fanny Brice, the musical follows her upbringing in an immigrant Jewish family with big dreams of stardom and her success as a comedic actress in the Follies.
You’ll not only hear Lea Michele sing the famous showstopper “Don’t Rain on My Parade” at Funny Girl on Broadway, but you’ll also learn about a pioneering female comedian who paved the way for other “funny girls” who came after her.
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Summer, 1976 celebrates female bonds as two women navigate motherhood, ambition, and independence amid societal expectations for women. The play follows naive housewife Alice and nonconformist artist Diana, who strike up a friendship one summer that changes their lives. Not only does this play focus on women’s resilience and independence, but it also stars two powerhouse actresses: Laura Linney and Jessica Hecht.
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Listen up and let them tell you a story. Six is the musical sensation that has taken Broadway by storm since premiering in 2020, featuring the six wives of Henry VIII — except this time, you get to hear about their lives in their own words. The show flips the script by allowing these women, historically known as little more than wives, to make their voices heard, independent of the king.
You’ll have a blast at this high-octane musical that mimics a pop concert, and you’ll also learn history about these women and the parts of their lives often left out of textbooks.
Get Six tickets now.
Once Upon a One More Time
This women-powered jukebox musical takes the songs of Britney Spears and sets them to a new story about fairytale princesses you know and love. They realize they have the power to create their own happily ever afters — no princes required.
In the vein of Bad Cinderella and & Juliet, this new musical retells the stories of famous female characters, creating more empowering paths than those in their original narratives. In other words, they’re stronger than yesterday, and now there’s nothing in their way.
Check back for information on Once Upon a One More Time tickets on New York Theatre Guide.
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